Buster began cooking as a wee pup by watching his mother fix the kibble. He was hooked. He loves preparing—and writing about—food.
Crisp delicious apples
Look at all these apples!
I live in an area with many apple orchards, and so the price goes way down at the grocery stores and produce stands when apples are in season.
I have friends who have small orchards who let me go out and pick apples since they have far too many for them to eat.
It's economical to put up apples when they're inexpensive.
Preserving apples -- and all their natural goodness -- is really easy to do. Here's how.
Choose the right kind of apples
The best apples for preserving are the one that are super-crisp. My favorites are Rome, Gravenstein, winesap, and Golden Delicious.
Unsure if your apples are the right kind for freezing? All you have to do is peel the apple and set it on the counter. If within 10 minutes it has already begun turning brown, it probably won't be a good preserving apple. Use those kind for making pies and cobblers right now.
For a wonderful apple cobbler recipe, click below. I wrote it for peaches but the directions are exactly the same for apples.
Preparing apples for the freezer
I get everything ready on my countertop -- my largest pan, my peeler, a sharp chopping knife, my lemon zester and a bag of sugar.
Into a really large pan, I put the zest of one whole lemon -- then I cut that lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the pan.
I pour my fresh apples into the sink, turn on the water, and quickly rinse each apple. Don't get too fussy about this since you're going to peel and slice the apples anyway.
After I peel each apple I slice it in half, then into quarters. I cut out the center and make sure I've cut off the stem end. I work quickly so that soon I have about 7 or 8 apples peeled and quartered. Then I wash these under running water.
Turn the apple pieces so the curved portion is on top, and slice into about 3 or 4 slices -- put these into the pan with lemon juice and zest. After I've done a few I'll use my large spoon to fold the slices into the lemon juice and zest. This helps to preserve their color, and adds terrific flavor.
Then I pour sugar on top -- I guesstimate the amount -- but probably about 2/3s of a cup to each three cups of apple slices. Fold the sugar into the sliced apples and lemon (try not to eat too many -- they're so incredibly delicious!)
I'll continue to work like this till my pan is filled about 3/4s full -- then I'll move on to the next steps. I like to get my apples into the freezer in stages. Even the best apples for freezing (the ones slow to brown) WILL brown, given time, and I want them in the freezer while they're beautifully white.
Directions continue after the ebay information below.
Label quart freezer bags (if you cook often for a crowd you can use gallon bags) with the type of apples and the date, then put 3 cups of the prepared apples into the bag. Adjust the size for your needs -- some people want small bags of only 2 cups, others want large bags of 5 - 7 cups.
Press all of the air out of the bag, then press the seal closed. Use your fingers to move the apples inside the bag to all the corners to make a bag as "flat" as possible.
Make a space in your freezer where these bags can lay flat. Once they're frozen you can stack them in a more permanent place. Don't just toss the bags into the freezer! They will freeze in odd shapes which will make them difficult to store (this is the voice of experience!)
The bags of frozen apples will keep for up to one year.
How to Use Frozen Apples
When I'm planning to make an apple pie or cobbler, I will take out a package or two of apples and lay them on the counter to slightly thaw while I make my crust.
Pour the apples into the crust (if you're making a double crust apple pie) or into the pan if you're making a cobbler or crisp, then put on your toppings. It's perfectly fine (even preferable) if the apples are still only partially thawed.
Pop them into an oven preheated to 350 degrees and soon you'll be eating apple desserts that taste EXACTLY the way they did when apples were in season.
That's the best part of freezing apples -- you get that incredible peak-of-the-season flavor all year around!
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 29, 2013:
Beryl Sayles on September 29, 2013:
This has been so helpful as I just didn't know what to do with surplus pears
makayla on February 12, 2012:
i love granny smiths
good on November 17, 2011:
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 26, 2011:
Your recipe sounds delicious, Phyllis.
Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.
Phyllis on September 26, 2011:
I use yellow transparent apples for applesauce and freeze yellow delicious or any apple in the fall. I peel, core and slice the apples in salt water.Don't add any salt to your apples. This works if you are making sauce or slicing for the freezer. This keep the apple white . I just drain the sliced apples from the salt water, don't rinse and put 6 cups into a quart size freezer bag and freeze it. I put it into the microwave for 2 min. and mix 2 tbls. of corn starch, 3/4 cup of sugar (or splenda) , 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.( mix with apples) The apples are still icy but that is ok. bake it at 375 for about 50 min. turns out every time. If I use fresh apples, only difference is I bake it at 400 for about 45 min.
DeeDaw on September 22, 2011:
You can preserve apples by wrapping in newspaper and storing in a box in a cool dry place. I also use lemonade instead of lemon juice it doesn't sweeten them much but keeps them white.
Eloise Hope from Portland, Oregon, USA on August 09, 2011:
Clever way of testing how well apples will last, your brown test! Very smart idea. Thanks for the tips.
Wendy on February 28, 2011:
I am glad to hear that some one
loves granny smith apples that
means I am not the only one
fkf on February 23, 2011:
Michael on February 15, 2011:
I come from Australia and have used this method for many a year and it always turns out fine.I use granny smith apples,the more tart ,the better.Nice to see others doing the same on the other side of the world.Thanks,Michael
Bubbles on November 28, 2010:
I love apple pie!!! It's delish.
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on November 23, 2010:
I would wait until you're about to make the pie before peeling the apples. Once the peel is removed, the apples will begin oxidizing (turning brown) and they begin losing moisture.
The best pies take everything into account... and that means using fruit that is the best you can possibly find, and preparing that fruit just before making your pie.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write, Trina. Good luck with your pie.
All the best,
Trina on November 23, 2010:
Thanks for all of the apple tips...I have another question. If I were to peel apples a day before I make apple pie (mcIntosh) would it make a difference in the pie?
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on November 14, 2010:
OJ has ascorbic acid, the same as lemon juice. The only difference (and it's minor) is the taste of orange in your apples... and frankly, I doubt that you'd be able to taste it once the apples are cooked down.
Though I haven't used this method, my guess is that the apples would remain white in the freezer.
If you want, let me know in a 4 or 5 months, okay?
Thanks so much for writing --
Glo on November 14, 2010:
Hi, I have just read your comments on freezing apples. we have a load of the tree and when I cooked some last week to stop them going brown I used some orange juice from the fridge and they kept lovely and white.
I am not sure if they will stay the same on freezing, but I am going to try. Has anybody used this method.
Katie on October 03, 2010:
Thanks for the information. I recently moved and I am thrilled to find myself inundated with apples, ha, about 1500, that I of course do not want to go to waste.
These apples were blown off the trees by strong winds and have been sitting for two days to a week, still I am going to use your method for some of them in the hope of salvaging the food.
I can only make so much applesauce, pie etc. I will let you know how they fare being some are soft, some bruised and so on. Thanks again Buster and cheers to a fun, meaningful, prosperous and loving remainder to 2010.
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on September 14, 2010:
I think the best question to ask is: how many of your family will enjoy apples? If all 5 of your family likes apples, then you might want to get at least a bushel or more -- some for eating, and some for putting up in the freezer.
How much freezer space do you have? That's the guideline I use... otherwise I would put up too much of everything.
Preserved apples are great for cobblers, apple crisp, apple sauce, to mix with baked sweet potatoes (mash the two together -- add in some cinnamon and it's fantastic.)
Good luck at the orchards this weekend!
Beth on September 13, 2010:
Thank you so much for the information. We are going to the North Georgia Orchards this weekend and wanted to bring apples back to put away for the year. According to the web, Mutsu and Rome Beauty will be mostly available. I have a family of 5 and I have no idea how much to get. I want to be able to eat the ones I preserve in a healthy way. (sometime :)) Any thought on how much or healthy recipes?
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on October 20, 2009:
I put up Golden Delicious last year, and they've been phenomenal. I'm envious you have so many.
Dawn B. on October 20, 2009:
Thanks for posting this, I just got a cooler full, plus several grocery bags full of golden delicious from my Dad on my trip to Iowa. Now I know what to do with them! :)
Buster Bucks (author) from Sonoma County, California on October 06, 2009:
I'm glad those apples turned out so well for you. I have some Golden Delicious from last year, and they're still gorgeous in the bags. (Tasty, too -- I made sauce a few weeks ago with a bag.)
Rhubarb is so easy: pick it then slice off the leaves. Wash the stems and dry them on paper towels. Once dry, slice them in 1/2" or 3/4" slices, put the slices into a freezer bag, and freeze them. That's it. No blanching or anything. They'll be good for up to six months that way.
Thanks for writing!
kath on October 06, 2009:
thanks buster i have just frozen my apples and there look lovely they are as white as when i started ,i did think they would go brown but they haven't , can i pick your brain a bit more , how do i freeze rhubarb is it the same way as apples ,thanks again kath