Ideas on Using & Preserving Apples

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This is an oldie, but a goodie post from the UDD Vault. Enjoy!

Many of you have asked what I've done with my boxes of apples that were given to me, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and show you! This post has a ton of pictures because I think it's very helpful to see what I'm talking about.

I don't have the necessary items to properly can anything, so I froze a lot of the apples in a variety of ways. One item you need to do just about anything with is Fruit Fresh. It's essentially absorbic acid (vitamin C) that works to preserve the color of the apples even after cut. You can use lemon juice, but absorbic acid works much, much better and it doesn't alter the taste of the apple, which I like.
Freezing Sliced & Diced Apples
One of the most basic things I did with my apples is peeled, cut, cored and diced them to freeze. I used my fancy apple Peeler-Corer-Slicers like the ones here and it made a daunting task quick and bearable! After you peel, core & slice the apple, put it in a bath of water mixed with Fruit Fresh to sit for about 5 minutes. Next, set the apples out on a cloth to dry out a bit. You can then dice or slice them. I did both! I did 3 layers of each on large trays (pieces of Saran wrap between the layers), which I then put in the freezer. Once they were frozen, they break up individually and I put them all in a large ziplock bag.

I love to use diced apples for pancakes, and muffins, as well as my Double Apple Walnut Bread.The nice thing about freezing diced apples is that when thawed, they're soft, so they bake into these items nicely.
Here are some recipes for my frozen sliced apples:
Homemade Cinnamon Apples
I was going to make homemade applesauce but we decided we'd enjoy homemade cinnamon apples much more. Instead of using the apple peeler-corer-slicer, I just peeled them with a potato peeler and then used the corer-slicer that slices them into larger pieces. I used 30 medium-small apples and this process took me about 20 minutes.

I searched the Internet for a good recipe, but didn't want something loaded with sugar, so I came up with my own. It worked out great! The only thing is, despite using several tablespoons of corn starch, the juice didn't thicken much at all! The apples taste delicious though, so I consider it a success. Here's what I used:
30 medium- small apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
a few dashes of nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP cornstarch
Place sliced apples in crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients, except butter. Pour over apples and stir well. Dot apples with butter. Cook on medium for 4 hours, stirring intermittently. Enjoy!

Note: Depending on how many apples you use, the time required to cook them will vary. Check often after about 3 hours. You want to apples to be tender, but not mush!

Dried Cinnamon Apples
I don't have a fruit dehydrator, so I made these the “old fashioned way.” It was easy!
Use the apple peeler-corer-slicer and place apples in the Fruit Fresh bath afterwards. Dry apples on a cloth and then make 1 cut through the apple, so that the slices separate. Lay apples out on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit more Fruit Fresh, then follow with a bit of cinnamon-sugar mix. Bake in low oven for 10-12 hours. The lowest my oven goes in 170 degrees. I baked the apples for 12 hours, then turned the oven off and just let them sit for another several hours.
My plan was to use my Food Saver to make pouches of apples, to eat over the next year or so, but each time I make a batch they disappear! Note: you can reuse the pieces of parchment paper several times!

What do you do with apples to enjoy them all winter long? Please share!

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26 thoughts on “Ideas on Using & Preserving Apples

  1. Utah Deal Diva says:

    I agree! When I went, Walmart had set up an entire section over by the home goods section (where the seasonal yard stuff goes) of canning/ preserving items. Normally, I am not sure where it would be. By the spices? Anyone know?

  2. Dede says:

    I am so impressed that you used up so many apples without canning anything! I'm gonna copy you this year I think.:-) And the apple peeler/corer sounds FANTASTIC!

  3. leslie the licorice stick lady says:

    I have so many apples on my tree and my neighbors tree. Unfortunately I've canned myself out this year, but I keep looking at those apples and imagining apple pie I really don't want to let them go to waste or just the birds, so I think I will use some of your tips and get to work. Thanks for posting this!

  4. Summer says:

    You might be surprised to realize you probably have nearly all of the items necessary for canning already in your kitchen. 🙂 All you need for canning high acid foods (most fruits) are jars, tongs, dish towels, a large pot with lid, ladle and a recipe. I can jam and syrup every year with just these items.

    I put up a canning video recently about canning jam but the same basic principles apply when canning nearly any fruit in whatever way suits you best.

  5. Utah Deal Diva says:

    Summer- I have a glass top stove. That's what really prevents me from canning. I've heard of people canning stuff anyways on it, but I'm too nervous- I really don't want to crack my stove from the prolonged high temps!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I made some apple butter overnight in the crockpot with a recipe I got off of It was fabulous!! Emily

  7. Shelly says:

    Yes it will crack your stove. Don't do it on a glass top! Sad. If you have too many and can't give them away, take them to the food bank. The ones in Utah take fresh produce and it will go to someone in need.

  8. Lauren says:

    I second the crockpot applesauce/apple butter! And I LOVE making dried apples. The low slow temperature of the oven warms up my kitchen and makes my house smell SOOO good! Its one of my favorite fall things to do!

  9. Alice says:

    We have a camp chef stove so we can do most of our canning outside, although when it starts to be cold outside, I don't mind heating up the house so much.

    We canned tons of applesauce this year- we were going to dry some in our dehydrator too, but didn't get around to it.

  10. Utah Deal Diva says:

    Emily- share your Apple Butter recipe with us!! I still have some apples left- I think that sounds like a great use for them!

    GardenState- cinnamon pears do sound incredible! I'm not sure how it would work out though- pears have a much higher water content than apples. A baked cinnamon-pear tart would be heavenly though!

  11. Tracy K. in Illinois says:

    I make up apple pies and freeze them. Just prepare as you would for baking and wrap in plastic wrap. I place the pies in the freezer overnight and then wrap them in freezer paper the next day. Once wrapped in the freezer paper I stack them in the freezer with pieces of cardboard between them.

  12. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    Instead of buying the tiny bottle of fruit fresh, you can buy a giant bottle (1 lb) of Vitamin C Crystal (aka ascorbic acid) from Trader Joe's or from a health food store. This is what I use for all of my canning.

    To Garden State Smiths–I haven't made cinnamon pears like that, but I have made pear butter with the same spices as apple butter; it turns out really nicely!
    I also have made pear sauce with them (kind of like applesauce). I blanch RIPE pears (skins will be yellow on Bartletts) and them cut them in half, take out the core, and toss the pears in the blender with a little ascorbic acid and a little sugar (not much!). I then out them into clean jars and water bath them or steam can them (NOT pressure canned) for 15-20 minutes, depending on whether you are doing pints or quarts. You can make the exact same stuff for baby food, which I do as well.

    Well, back to canning applesauce! Only 330 pounds to go . . . .

  13. gardenstatesmiths says:

    I made pear sauce last week, but the texture was a little grainy. I think it had more to do with the pears themselves rather than my technique, but I'm not sure. Will try again 🙂 I made my daughter's baby food with storebought produce, pears included, and never had that graininess problem. Hmm.

  14. Steffi says:

    I read about the different properties of starches the other day, maybe try arrowroot for the cinnamon apples next time (… and let me know how it turned out, lol)
    Quote: "arrowroot starch = arrowroot powder = arrowroot = arrowroot flour This starch thickener has several advantages over cornstarch. It has a more neutral flavor, so it's a good thickener for delicately flavored sauces. It also works at a lower temperature, and tolerates acidic ingredients and prolonged cooking better. And while sauces thickened with cornstarch turn into a spongy mess if they're frozen, those made with arrowroot can be frozen and thawed with impunity. The downside is that arrowroot is pricier than cornstarch, and it's not a good thickener for dairy-based sauces, since it turns them slimy."

  15. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for all the recipes and advice, everyone! For those who have pears and apples, the two together make a great pie filling. A friend brought over a pie the other day and since he had pears and apples he needed to use up he made it with both and I think it's even better than pie filling with just apples. I've got some apples I'm going to be preparing this week and it's nice to have all of the different suggestions.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Diva, you are my new hero. This is my first time to your frugal cooking area, and your explanations and pictures are SO wonderful. You really make the thought of "how do I do this" happen. THANKS!

    My tip: use crock pot liners and avoid the dreaded clean up.

    My question: My heart breaks when I see tree after tree in town covered with fruit, and no one using it. Anyone ever knock on a stranger's door and ask to harvest it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have any tips on keeping dehydrated apples? If we don't eat them right away they go mushy or stale. I don't put sugar or anything on them. I think they taste sweet enough without adding more.

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