Tag Archive | preserving

Preserving Apples to Enjoy Throughout the Year

frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

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.

  1. Cut, core and peel approximately 6-8 cups of apples.  I prefer 8 cups because my husband loves a full pie with fruit 🙂
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Place in freezer and lie flat so that you can stack 4-6 bags for winter pies
  5. I prefer to use within 6 months (usually they are gone sooner).  But, you can freeze them up to nine months.  Frugal Value Lifestyle Frozen Apple Pie Filling

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.

  1. Cut, core and peel.
  2. Place on cookie sheet between parchment paper (prevents them sticking together) for a few hours.
  3. Remove from cookie sheets and place in a freezer/storage bag for future use
  4. 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

Laura D. Field
Writer, blogger, freelance writer
Reflective Tapestry of Life

Preserving the Berries

ReflectiveTapestryBlackberries

Fall has arrived, and I am beginning to make jams and jellies from the preserves and realized that before I posted about making jams and jellies, I would like to share about how I preserve my berries so that I can later bake, create dessert toppings as well as prepare jams and jellies.

Frugal Value Living Before Freezing Berries 10

When summer arrives, the urge to pick berries becomes a passion for me.    Partially because we eat them year round and by picking enough to get through the winter season, I am guaranteed a fresh supply until the following year of picking.  The other part is the therapeutic affect it has on me of being out in nature reaping the harvest of what God has provided.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Berries 7

Berries are extremely easy to preserve.  Many times the first thought people have when they go out to pick berries is to return home and immediately make muffins, pancakes, jams and jellies.  But, if you are one to pick to preserve or one who might not have the time to do all that culinary stuff when you return, there is a way to preserve these delightful treats for your future desires.

First, keep a few days worth of fresh berries to enjoy with your morning breakfast, salads, desserts, etc.  Once that is done take the time to prepare your berries for the freezer.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Blueberries

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.  Berries that do not need to be hulled like strawberries can be washed, then lightly dried.  Once dried, place a layer of berries on flat tray surfaces, (I use cookie sheets and baking pans) and place them into the freezer.  After a few hours (or overnight) you can remove these marbled berries and place into freezer safe containers or freezer bags.  This allows the berries from sticking to each other, which is perfect when baking, as one should never completely thaw their berries before baking.  This prevents them from becoming soggy and keeps them whole in the baked goods.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Berries 4

With strawberries, one  must hull their berries and remove any bad portions.  You can freeze them whole or in slices.  I freeze them both ways.  Freezing them whole takes less time to preserve, yet in slices (not much longer to put up) the strawberries are perfect when you want them for going over your future desserts.   Again, as with the other berries, once frozen (over night) I remove from the trays and place into freezer bags or freezer containers.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Berries 8

Freezing your berries is simple.  All you need are baking pans and cookie sheets that you already have in your kitchen cupboards, freezer safe ziploc bags and some time to prepare your fruit.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Strawberries 1

Enjoy the harvest all year round by preserving your food safely,

Laura

NOTE:  One thing I noticed this year was the high cost of picking berries at the farm, so in an effort to conserve our limited resources, I sought out other options.  I was notified of a location where I could pick blackberries for free, found a few sources where the berries were much cheaper to purchase already picked, and our family was blessed with a gift of a few gallons of blueberries and raspberries (already frozen, so the work for these gifts was already done).  In addition, we do have some blueberry, raspberry and blackberry plants.  This year our plants produced a “few” raspberries, a gallon of blackberries, and maybe a 1/2 gallon of blueberries.  Not as much as I would like to pick and preserve, but certainly a start towards being self-sufficient with berries.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Berries 2

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor