Learn how to freeze apples. It is an easy and economical way to take advantage of in-season produce or apples on sale at your grocery store.
I live in an area where apples grow and are abundant. And, to celebrate the fall season, we have made it a family tradition to take the grand kids apple picking.
It is a nice way to get outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. The kids can run, climb and reach for the perfect apple.
At the end of their fun filled day we return home with usually an abundance of apples. Sometimes I know ahead of time how I want to use them but not always. Those apples not committed to other projects, end up being stored in the freezer.
HOW TO FREEZE APPLES FOR LATER USE
Before storing apples in the freezer, you first must consider how you want to use the apple. Will they be sliced for pie making or apple crisp? Or, will they be diced for baking projects like breads and cakes?
Knowing how the apples will be used once they come out of the freezer determines what process should be followed before they are frozen.
THE DIFFERENT METHODS OF PRESERVING APPLES IN THE FREEZER
Syrup – The syrup method is suggested by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, when apples are to be used in uncooked desserts such as fruit cocktail.
A heavy syrup is used in this case. To make it, just combine 2 3/4c sugar and 4c lukewarm water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Chill before using.
Place prepared fruit in freezer container and cover fruit with ½ to 2/3 cup syrup per pint. Seal, label and date before putting in freezer.
Sugar – The sugar method is used when the apples will be cooked afterwards such as in a pie. To prevent the apples from darkening, ascorbic/citric acid can be used.
Mix ½ cup sugar with 1 ¼ pounds (1 quart) of fruit. Pack into Ziploc freezer bags removing as much air as is possible. Seal, label and date the bags before freezing.
Dry – The dry method can also be used when the apples will be cooked. It keeps the apples in their most natural state. Again, to prevent the fruit from turning brown, ascorbic/citric acid can be used. Upon thawing, the apples hold together well without any mushiness that might be expected when first freezing then thawing produce.
MY PREFERRED METHOD
Since I have removed sugar from my life, I use the dry method for storing surplus apples in the freezer. It is a healthy way to keep the apples in their most natural state. I use this simple method for uncooked and cooked recipes.
To prevent browning, I make an ascorbic acid solution that I lightly spray on the fruit to prevent discoloration. See below for recipe.
I find the apples do have a hint of lemon when eaten as is. This for me is not a deal breaker but rather an enhancement.
When the apple slice is thawed however and spread with a layer of almond butter no lemony taste is present. Rather, it tastes just like you are eating a fresh apple spread with almond butter. Yum!!
Likewise, when the apples are used frozen or thawed in smoothies, only that great apple flavor comes through. The same goes for apples used in a cooked recipe.
HOW TO FREEZE APPLES USING THE DRY METHOD
Select apples that have a nice flavor and are crisp and firm. Soft or mealy texture apples will not freeze well. Wash, peel, core and slice or dice the apples depending on how they will ultimately be used.
When using the Dry method, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sliced or diced apples on it in a single layer. Spray with ascorbic/citric acid solution if using.
Ascorbic/Citric Acid Solution
1/2t citric acid (or ascorbic acid)
3T lukewarm water
2-ounce glass spray bottle
Dissolve citric acid in water. Add to spray bottle.
Flash freeze 2 to 4 hours before removing to Ziploc freezer bag for long term storage.
Be sure to mark bag with contents and date. Seal bag and return to freezer.
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