So you picked up a ton of apples on your last visit to Whistling Well Farm and now you’re wondering how to savor the flavor for as long as you can. There are many ways you can preserve your apples so you can enjoy them for the weeks (and even months!) to come. If you’ve never canned before and don’t have the things needed to can you still have plenty of options. Note: Since apples brown once sliced, most need a dip in a lemon-juice solution or need juice added to the recipe to keep them from browning. Here are a few ways we recommend to preserve those apples.
1. Freezer Applesauce
Our favorite way to make applesauce is in the slow cooker. You can find many recipes on the internet or just make up your own recipe. You’ll just need to peel and core your apples (any variety works for applesauce), load them up in a slow cooker, squeeze in some lemon juice (prevents browning), add in some liquid (water works or apple cider is delicious!), add in spices of choice (cinnamon is great) and cook until they are soft and mushy. If you prefer a sweeter applesauce you can add in sugar, but we think it’s pretty perfect without it. Pour it into jars and store in the freezer until ready to eat.
2. Dried Apple Rings
Did you know you can dehydrate apples right in your oven? It’s super easy and the kids love these sweet treats. Core and peel (optional) your apples (again, any variety works, slice into rings and place into an anti-browning solution of ¼ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water. Remove apples from solution, pat dry with towels and place onto a baking racks. Dust with spices of choice (optional). Cinnamon works well here. Put baking sheet into oven and set your oven at the lowest setting (ideally 150°F), prop the door open with a wooden spoon (helps air to circulate and lets moisture escape), and bake 5-8 hours until leathery and no longer tacky (baking time varies by slice thickness, humidity levels, etc). Store in an airtight container. These will typically keep for several months but we doubt they will last that long.
3. Apple Butter
If you’ve never heard of apple butter, it can sound strange. No, it’s not apples mixed with butter, but really a concentrated applesauce that has been caramelized that can be spread on toast or pancakes- like butter. It’s super delicious and easy to make. There are many recipes on the internet for this treat. Here are a couple of our favorite: My Baking Addiction, Tastes of Lizzy T.
4. Simply Freeze Whole Apples
If you’re short on time or just haven’t decided what you’d like to do with your leftover apples, simply freeze them whole. Yes, really! Make sure the apples are clean and dry and place the apples on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other. Place the apples in the freezer for a few hours, until they are frozen, then place them into a freezer storage bag to store in the freezer until you are ready to use them. They will keep for a few months. Freezing them separately first keeps them from sticking together, making it easier to grab as many as you need when you are going to use them. Keep in mind that freezing them changes their texture, so apples that have been frozen are best for recipes and not eating raw once thawed.