Apple picking season is in full swing (September-October) and I am stocking up! If you are lucky enough to have a backyard orchard, you are well aware of how much fruit one tree can produce. If you don’t have your own apple tree, consider visiting an apple picking farm near you. Taking a family trip to an apple farm is a great way to get your children outdoors and teach them about nature. It should totally be on your fall fun bucket list! Once you have your fresh apple harvest, use one of the methods below for how to preserve apples for use throughout the winter months.
How To Preserve Fresh Apples: 4 Methods
The first apple hack I share is useful for preserving fresh apples in the short term. The last three ways to preserve apples will help you with longer term apple preservation.
Does Lemon Juice Preserve Apples?
Lemon juice can be used to preserve apples in the short term. In other words, if you want to slice up apples to be eaten later during the day or the next day, you can use lemon juice to prevent your apples slices from turning brown. You can simply sprinkle some lemon juice over the slices. Or if you want to be very effective, you can squeeze half a lemon into a cup of water and then drop your apple slices in and allow to soak for a few minutes (5-10) while you fix the rest of your child’s lunch. Then the slices can be packed in an airtight container without so much enzymatic browning.
There are a variety of different ways to preserve your fresh apples using a canning jar. Whether you peel and slice your apples or look up a recipe for apple butter or apple jelly, all are perfect ways to savor the apple flavor throughout the fall and winter. Canned apples make a great DIY gift for any occasion. Simply tie a cute bow around the lid of your jar and present it to the guests at your next family gathering!
NOTE: Please use caution when canning foods. Foods not canned properly can lead to bacterial-growth within the food. For more information, please visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Freezing Fresh Apples
Although apples loose their crisp texture when frozen, they are still great to bake with. The way you freeze apples all depends on how you will use them in the future. If they will be used to make baked, whole apples, simply wash the apples, dry, place the whole apples in a gallon-sized Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags with the Smart Zip® Seal and store in your freezer. If you prefer to use them in an apple pie or other dessert, first peel, core and slice apples. You can dip them in a lemon water solution, as mentioned above, if you wish to help prevent browning. Place 5 cups (the perfect pie amount) of sliced fresh apples into a Ziploc® Freezer Bag and freeze until you’re ready to bake.
Dehydrating Apple Slices
If you’re interested in drying apples as your chosen method for how to preserve apples, consider investing in a food dehydrator. This kitchen gadget often comes in handy for not only drying a variety of fruits, but also for making your own herbs. To preserve your apples, consider making dried apple rings. Wash your apples and thinly slice (I used a mandolin slicer to get an even portion throughout each slice). Fill a small bowl with ½ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of water and dip each slice. Lay the apple slices out on dehydrator racks and dry according to manufacturer’s instructions (about 12 hours). Once dry, remove from racks and place a Ziploc bag removing any excess air. Add your dried apple rings to your favorite homemade granola recipe or serve alone for a healthy snack.
Which one of these methods for how to preserve apples do you think you will try? Have you used any of these ways to preserve fresh apples before? What is your favorite way to enjoy apples?