I love fall!! In reading any of the blog forums in which I write, you will notice that this is one of my favorite seasons. I love the colors, the changing winds, the smells of change, and the abundance of the fall harvest that can be found throughout the country side.
“One” of my favorite fruits to preserve are apples. I use them in pies, jams, applesauce, desserts and meals. They add a natural, healthy sweetness that makes any meal a treat.
NOTE: For baking and preserving, I always purchase the drops. It is cheaper and I have yet to find a batch that has disappointed me. As a matter of fact, it is rare for me to buy the freshly picked apples, as I have yet to find the drops to be an issue to enjoy as a simple snack.
Did you know that you can freeze apples whole? Yes you can. But, I have to admit, I do not like this method, as I find it much easier to peel and prepare the fruit prior to freezing. This way, when it comes time to utilize them for my baking wants, it saves me that time in preparation when I’m in the mood for baking during the winter and spring months. Yet, if you go to the apple orchard, bring home a 1/2 bushel or more of this delightful treat, and find you just don’t have time to bake or peel, freezing them whole is an option.
Fugi’s and Gala’s are the best for freezing, yet since our family prefers the taste of Macintosh over the many other delightful choices in my baking, that is what I purchase in bulk.
Two methods in which I choose to freeze apples:
A.) Prepare and package them for future apple pies 🙂 This makes making future pies a breeze, leaving me to only spend time creating the crust. I make the crust and refrigerate for an hour. Once the crust is in the refrigerator, I remove my prepared apple mix so that it thaws slightly (just to the point where the apples are no longer frozen solid together). Within the hour of putting my crust in the refrigerator, I remove it to roll out the crust, which at this point the frozen apples are ready to be added to your pie shell.
- Cut, core and peel approximately 6-8 cups of apples. I prefer 8 cups because my husband loves a full pie with fruit 🙂
- Put in your freezer/storage bag and add your seasonings: cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour (we use gluten free). This flavors the apples while also saving you this step when making your pie later. Some people add lemon juice.
- Label and date your freezer/storage bag with instructions on how to use in baking a pie (I include notes like add milk free butter substitute, bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes, etc.)
- Place in freezer and lie flat so that you can stack 4-6 bags for winter pies
- I prefer to use within 6 months (usually they are gone sooner). But, you can freeze them up to nine months.
NOTE: If you are short on applesauce, you can always take one of these apple pie bags, empty them and cook up some warm applesauce on a cold winter evening. Also great for topping your ice cream.
B.) Freeze in slices for apple crisp, using in meals (such as baked roasts, pork chops, etc.), for a simple snack, muffins, breads or even applesauce.
- Cut, core and peel.
- Place on cookie sheet between parchment paper (prevents them sticking together) for a few hours.
- Remove from cookie sheets and place in a freezer/storage bag for future use
- Use before 6-9 months.
By the way, homemade applesauce is the best. I have shared the recipe on my Gluten and Milk Free blog, but this delightful treat can also be frozen if you do not have the equipment to prepare in canning applesauce. I personally enjoy having them in hot-packed, sealed jars.
In all the excitement of going to the orchard with your children, be sure to use up what you have in making pies, applesauce or enjoying naturally as a snack. Be sure to prepare and preserve any that you do not want to go bad. Fruit that goes bad is a poor investment of resources.
Enjoy being frugal, while enjoying the fruits of the fall harvest 🙂
Laura D. Field
Writer, blogger, freelance writer
Reflective Tapestry of Life