Preserving apples in the fall is the best way to enjoy them after the apple season ends.
- 1. Preserving Apples by Canning Them for Long-Term Storage
- 2. Creating Homemade Apple Sauce
- 3. Dehydrating Apple Slices for Snacking
- 4. Freezing Apples this Fall for Quick and Easy Use
- 5. Crafting Flavorsome Apple Butter
- 6. Making Apple Jam or Jelly
- 7. Preserving with Apple Vinegar (or By Apple Vinegar)
- 8. Preserving Apples by Making Fruit Leather for Healthy Snacking
- 9. Exploring Savory Apple Chutney
- 10. Tips for Storing Preserved Apples
So, here are 10 ways to preserve them. And if you’re new to all this, you’re in for a treat! Some of these can be done with really simple tools. Plus, apples are so versatile it makes stepping into self-sufficient living a breeze.
I’ve always loved apples. But there’s just something about enjoying them in the fall. When the crisp air arrives and orchards start bursting with goodness.
So many varieties, so many recipes. And so many exciting adventures to get into.
So, let’s dive in.
1. Preserving Apples by Canning Them for Long-Term Storage
This is what makes food preservation so great. And coming from me, you might know I would go here first. I’m convinced canning was meant for me. My love of glass jars & pretty displays of them filled with food is almost unmatched.
The deliciousness of that infectiously sweet apple can last you a year (or more) when canned properly! Enjoying apples in season is great, but by canning them you instantly get to enjoy them in the off-season too. Just picture your pantry or corner shelf with jars of home-canned apples. Yum-my!
There are two main accepted ways to can food: water bath canning & pressure canning. The first is the simplest of the two because it doesn’t require any special equipment. But you can only can certain foods this way. Here’s a chapter of the USDA Home Canning Guide for reference.
You can water bath can apple slices, apple pie filling, apple jam, even apple sauce. And speaking of applesauce, we turned 4 bushels of apples into applesauce for a year. That was pretty epic.
And don’t worry about tools. Like I said, the equipment here is simple. All you need is a pot large enough to cover your jars with 1-2 inches of water & its lid.
2. Creating Homemade Apple Sauce
But, maybe you don’t want to store them that long. Or maybe you’re not interested in swimming in apples…yet.
No worries! You can preserve apples this fall by making your own homemade applesauce. And let me just say, if you’ve never tried this before please add it to your list.
It’s so incredibly easy to whip up homemade applesauce.
I’m talking all you do is soften the apples, blitz ’em & add cinnamon. Lemon juice is optional. And you don’t have to, but preserving with sugar is an option here too. Although truly, if you’re buying or picking apples while they’re in season – there’ll be little need for added sugar. Take it from my 2-under-2 duo. They love the stuff. Lastly, jar it up & pop it in the fridge. *wipes hands* (Just a PSA, you could water-bath can this!)
Do you know what? Preserving them this way is like capturing autumn in a jar. Now, this is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t try this sooner.
3. Dehydrating Apple Slices for Snacking
Next, let’s talk snacks! Dehydrated apple slices are the bomb. And I don’t have a dehydrator, but I have freeze dried some before. And omgg. The crispness. The sound of the crunch! And the apple flavor is intensified (as all freeze dried things naturally are). They never last long enough on the shelf around here.
As with applesauce, I chose to make apple chips without dousing them in any lemon juice. And I ran a test between plain and cinnamon dusted. Perfection. I’m sure preserving apples this fall with a dehydrator is a breeze too!
But you know what makes it even better? These dehydrated homemade apple chips are so portable. When fully dried (and boy do I mean fully) they last well stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. OR you can store them in glass jars – a nice feature especially if you have a vacuum sealer jar attachment.
Plus, did you know? There are numerous health benefits to enjoy them too! When I was looking for tips & uses for freeze dried apple slices, I read an interesting article about some of them. Learn more about apple chips benefits here.
4. Freezing Apples this Fall for Quick and Easy Use
This one might be my favorite, easiest way. And honestly, when I have more cold-storage space, I’ll do more of this.
Life gets busy, yeah? I know you know that. So, frozen apples to the rescue! With a little blanching, you can be freezing apples in no time.
Now, blanching apples is simple really. Add a few slices to some boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then immediately dunk them into a bowl of ice water to stop any cooking. This process will help them stay fresh after defrosting instead of browning.
Once they come out of a quick ice bath, line some trays with the apple slices & pre-freeze them. Make sure they don’t touch so they won’t freeze in a solid mass. And once they’re nearly frozen, you can bag them. I recommend vacuum sealing them for optimal storage.
And freeze them in portions you use regularly. That way, you’re that much closer to a homemade apple pie or a deliciously soft smoothie. Mmm, mmmm, mm.
5. Crafting Flavorsome Apple Butter
Ok, break out your crockpot for this one! Or your large roasting pan if you’re going with gusto.
There’s almost nothing cozier than a jar of freshly made, homemade apple butter. It’s the spiced apple spread of autumn flavor. Have you ever slathered some warm apple butter on toast? Un.be.lieve.able!
This is definitely my mom’s favorite. And I love it for the convenience of making it. It can all be done in a crockpot. Which means you can walk away & bask in the lovely smell of slow-cooking apples throughout the day. Then later you can enjoy a rich, deep-flavored apple treat at the end of the day. *Cue the heavenly choir music*
Ashley over at Practical Self-Reliance has a great post on the slow-cooking magic of making your very own homemade spiced apple butter.
6. Making Apple Jam or Jelly
Not nearly as rich as apple butter, but still incredibly delicious. Can you imagine waking up to the smell of freshly toasted homemade bread topped with your own homemade apple jam? On a bright fall morning or a cold winter one – this one is a game-changer.
What I love about apple jelly recipes or apple jam is the versatility. Use it in breads, muffins, dinners & desserts alike! When you preserve with pectin (something apples are loaded with), you instantly open up a new world of possibilities.
Now, if you want to try preserving with pectin & not a lot of sugar you need this book. Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin. And if you don’t have the book yet, here’s a teaser for you.
Apple Maple Jam
Now I know what you’re thinking. Maple syrup is a spring staple. And you’re right. But mixed with apples this way, it’s the perfect way to merry fall with spring. Trust me on that.
7. Preserving with Apple Vinegar (or By Apple Vinegar)
Ok, ok, ok. I have to just pause here to say this.
All these apple shenanigans means you’re going to have a lot of apple scraps. Seeds, skins (if you peel them), cores.
And if you don’t have pigs or chickens you might be tempted to toss it into the compost (or worse, the trash).
But here’s what you can do instead!
Turn those apple scraps into homemade vinegar! Homemade apple scrap vinegar is a no-brainer when you have all these would-be waste items. And the uses – well, let’s just say they’re near-infinite.
It’s a great immune booster & such an easy way to get some fermented foods into your life. You can also use it as the acid you need when making bone broth to draw out all the nutrients you can. Homemade apple vinegar is powerful enough to use as a homemade cleaner too!
It’s so easy, you don’t even need a “recipe”, but here’s some guidance from Jessica at Three Rivers Homestead.
8. Preserving Apples by Making Fruit Leather for Healthy Snacking
Another snacking tip. And one where snacking doesn’t have to be guilt-ridden!
Fruit leather is usually a child favorite, but I’ll confess. This one might be more of a favorite for the adults than the kids. While it’s healthy & fun to make & play with – it’s sticky. So it gets stuck in little teeth too much for me. If my son gets homemade fruit roll-ups at all, it’s a very welcome (read, rare) treat.
So, break out the equipment again. It’s time to do some more preserving apples this fall with a food dehydrator. Here’s a great video about it. Although this video features strawberries, you can make fruit leather using any flavor combo you like! Try mango banana. Apple blueberry. Or peach strawberry.
9. Exploring Savory Apple Chutney
Did you think it was all sweet all the time?
Maybe because it is.
But let’s switch things up a bit.
Let the fall glory apples take center stage in a savory way. Apple chutney – a sweet and savory condiment, it’s not only delicious but pairs perfectly with your favorite meats and cheeses. But it’s also a delicious with baked fish. This is one way to preserve with vinegar. (Unlike preserving into vinegar like we did with the scraps.)
And can I just say, I’m all about adding a touch of autumn in my dishes to cozy them up. Check out this recipe for an apple & caramelized onion chutney.
10. Tips for Storing Preserved Apples
Last, but certainly not least, here are some tips to storing apples this fall. You’ve done great work scouting deals, buying them for your future or picking apples at a local orchard for fun. So, maybe you’re wiped out & just want a way to stash ’em for later.
Not a problem.
Here’s how you can keep those treasures safe. Even if you don’t have a root cellar, you can still make use of long-term apple storage. Pantry organization will be key though if you plan to store several bushels or more. But it’s also important if you are storing canned apples because they should not be stacked on top of each other.
When it comes to storing your apples, make sure they are in good condition first. Sort through any that are beyond their prime or rotten already. Ever heard the phrase “One bad apple ruins the batch”? It’s true.
You’ll also need to make sure you have some level of cool storage like a refrigerator. Your apples will last significantly longer if you keep them cool than they will at room temp. For more specifics, read this article on how to store your apples for the winter by Kevin at Epic Gardening.
So, lovely – that’s the grand tour of apple preservation this fall and winter. And now you get to try one or two (or three) so that you can enjoy apples all year too!
Have you tried any of these methods before? Share your apple-preserving stories in the comments below! And if you’re feeling generous, hit the share button & let’s spread the apple vibes far and wide. 🍎
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