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Preserving Apples

Preserving Apples

Apples are one of North America’s most popular fruits, and fall, when they are fresh and crisp, straight from the orchard, is the best time of year to enjoy them. If your family’s traditions include picking fresh apples in the autumn, but you can’t eat them all before they start to spoil, these tips are for you.

Here are some popular, and surprisingly simple, ways to preserve fresh apples so you can enjoy them all year long!

Freezing Apples:
To store apples for use in pies and other recipes, peel, core, and slice them to the desired size, freeze them on trays, then transfer them to freezer bags for storage. Then simply use them straight from the freezer in your favorite recipes like muffins, cakes, cobblers, and pies.

To Prevent Browning
Dip the apple slices in lemon juice, pineapple juice, or salt water before freezing. You can also pack them in a sugar syrup, or blanch them (plunge them into boiling water) for 90 seconds.


4 pounds apples
Juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of white sugar (optional)

Peel, core, and quarter all apples. Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and mash apples with a potato masher.

Place applesauce into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims clean and cover immediately with metal lids, and screw on bands. Process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water to cool.

Apple Cider

Apples (10 apples per quart of cider desired)

Wash apples thoroughly and core them, leaving the peels on. Slice the apples into quarters and puree them in the blender or food processor until finely ground. Spread a cheesecloth over a large bowl, and pour the pulp into the cloth. Press until all liquid has drained from the apple mash. Store in the refrigerator in a container with an airtight lid. Raw cider will keep for one week, while pasteurized cider will keep for three. To pasteurize, heat the cider to 160° F. It can also be frozen and kept for several months or more. Cider can be served warm or cold. You can even cook with it!

Apple Butter

4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider
brown sugar to taste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice grated rind and juice of 2 lemons

Cook apples in the liquid until soft. Pass through a food mill or push through a fine mesh strainer and note how many cups you are getting. You do this so you can determine how much sugar you may/may not need. Add up to 1/2 cup brown sugar for each cup of puree — usually less. Add spices, rind, and lemon juice and cook over very low heat until thick and dark brown. This may take 3 to 4 hours. If not to be used within a week or two, be sure to can or freeze.

Apple Jelly

3 1/2 pounds apples, cored and diced
3 cups water
7 1/2 cups white sugar
1 2-oz. package powdered fruit pectin

Place apples in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a potato masher, crush apples and simmer for 5 more minutes. Transfer crushed apples to a sieve or piece of cheesecloth and press until all liquid has drained from the apple mash. Stir sugar into the juice and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add pectin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off excess foam with a metal spoon. Quickly pour the hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims clean and cover immediately with metal lids, and screw on bands. Process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water to cool.

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  • Ruth Becker says:

    These recipes look great. 1 comment. 1 question. What’s the difference between apple cider and apple juice? The addition of water?
    Comment: There are multi recipes for applesauce. The healthiest and most tasty, in my opinion, is just apples. Core, don’t peel, and quarter the apples and put in a large pot with about an inch of water. Cook on low heat until very tender. Mash the sauce out of the mixture. Toss out the residue and you have natural sweet applesauce. I use about 1/2 bushel of “seconds” & all kinds blended together. It freezes nicely too for all winter eating.

    • Jaime McLeod says:

      Hi Ruth,
      The difference between apple cider and apple juice is that cider is unfiltered. Apple juice doesn’t include the peels, and is strained to remove pulp. This is why the flavor of cider is generally stronger.

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