You can preserve apples this fall a number of ways. But different apple varieties have unique characteristics that make them more suitable for specific preservation methods.
Here’s a breakdown of which apple varieties work best for various preservation techniques. Be bold & try them all this autumn before apple season comes to a close!
- 5 Ways to Preserve Apples This Fall At Home
- 1. Preserving Apples by Water-bath Canning
- 2. Make homemade apple slices by preserving with a dehydrator.
- 3. Can you preserve apples by freezing them?
- 4. Preserving apples by storing them in a root cellar or pantry is simple too!
- 5. Preserve apples this fall by freeze drying.
- Finally, preserving with fermentation might become your favorite method.
- Here's the bottom line about how to preserve apples this fall.
- Are you ready to try some new ways to preserve apples this fall at home?
- the Village Reservoir
5 Ways to Preserve Apples This Fall At Home
- Pantry / Root Cellar Storage
- Freeze Drying
1. Preserving Apples by Water-bath Canning
When it comes to canning apples, you need to choose the right variety.
- Canning apples requires crisp, firm varieties. And that’s because they hold their shape and texture well during the canning process. So, the best apples for canning are varieties like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji.
Preserving apples in jars is my favorite method because I love glass jars. Plus the display they make when filled with different colored foods is pretty too. But if you’re unfamiliar with canning, the Penn State Extension office has a great online preservation resource. You can also get a great head-start using the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning resource. (This is available for self-printing for free or you can purchase a spiral copy online.
I also highly recommend Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin. It’s well-known for low-sugar preserving recipes. But besides the canning recipes, it explains the difference between jam, jelly, marmalade & conserves.
Now, you could go one step further and make homemade applesauce & water bath can that.
And in fact, I did just that this year! We turned 4 bushels of apples into 49 Quarts of homemade, home-canned applesauce. The best apples for applesauce are sweet & crisp. I find that the juicier they are, the messier the process. But delicious none the less.
And this is where Golden Delicious, Fuji & McIntosh apples will shine. There are tons of applesauce recipes, but my favorite is simple. Good old-fashioned fruit that shines on its’ own with a bit of cinnamon. 1 TBSP for every blender-ful of softened apples to be exact. Yumma!
2. Make homemade apple slices by preserving with a dehydrator.
- You need slightly tart varieties for this. Granny Smith or Braeburn are excellent for dehydrating. Their tartness can intensify as they dry, creating a flavorful snack.
I don’t have a dehydrator yet. That’s on my ever-growing wish list of kitchen tools. But I hear great things about the Excaliber & Nesco brands.
3. Can you preserve apples by freezing them?
Absolutely. Freezing apples may be one of the quicker methods to preserving them too.
- Choose varieties with a good balance of sweetness & tartness. This balance is what keeps your apples vibrant even after freezing. So choose varieties like Gala, Jonagold, and Empire. Apples should also be firm since softer apples may become mushy after freezing.
So here’s what you’ll want to do.
- Blanch: To prevent browning (& preserve the texture), blanch apple slices in boiling water for a short time (20-30 seconds) then submerge in ice water for 20-30 seconds more before freezing.
- Citric Acid Soak: Soaking apple slices in a solution of water and citric acid (or plain lemon juice) will help maintain their color and freshness during freezing.
- Slice Thickness: Cut apples into uniform slices for more consistent freezing. Thicker slices may take longer to freeze and thaw. And we don’t want that. Plus, the more consistent in size, the more efficient you can pack/store them.
- Flash Freezing: Before placing sliced apples in storage bags, flash freeze them on a baking sheet so they won’t stick together. Great tip of all time for me.
4. Preserving apples by storing them in a root cellar or pantry is simple too!
Choose long-keeping varieties for best results. Some apple varieties just really do better in cool, dark places. And this makes them ideal for storage like this. Winesap, Russet, and Northern Spy can last several months in a root cellar or pantry. Just long enough to get you to spring if you play your cards right!
5. Preserve apples this fall by freeze drying.
- You want high-sugar and low-moisture varieties for this exercise. Varieties like Fuji, Gala, or Pink Lady are ideal for freeze drying. The low moisture content aids in the freeze-drying process, and their sweetness intensifies.
I realize not everyone will have access to this piece of machinery. That’s why I saved it for last. We actually bought our unit to preserve over 1200oz of breastmilk I managed to stash unexpectedly after our first baby was born.
But if you do have a freeze dryer or access to one, try these out!
Homemade freeze dried snacks are incredible. And homemade freeze dried apple chips are great as salad toppings or even breakfast cereal.
I don’t usually add lemon juice to mine because it’s for looks, not safety. And since the natural browning doesn’t bother me, it’s one less step I have to take. I do however, recommend making spiced apple slices by sprinkling them with ground cinnamon before processing. You will LOVE your homemade apple chips, trust me.
Finally, preserving with fermentation might become your favorite method.
Hear me out. Because yes. Technically, this is a way to reuse the scraps from all your other apple preservation activities. BUT…
Any apple can be used to make a fermented product like apple scrap vinegar. But there’s a few things to know about making homemade apple vinegar.
First, different varieties will contribute to your final product in different ways.
- Tart varieties are naturally a good choice for making homemade vinegars. So, the Granny Smith or Braeburns, are excellent choices. They have an acidity that imparts a tangy and robust flavor in the end.
- Balanced sweetness and tartness will yield a well-rounded vinegar flavor profile. Go for varieties like Fuji or Jonathan in this case.
- Aromatic varieties like Gala or Honeycrisp can impart a delightful fragrance to the vinegar. They aren’t called aromatic for no reason! But these varieties will also add a level of complexity to your final product.
- Mixing varieties is where the fun really livens up. You should experiment by blending different apple varieties for a unique and complex flavor.
Fermentation is a unique kitchen adventure (or science experiment). The process is basic: using some food & a bit of sugar, naturally-occurring yeasts will turn the contents into vinegar! But if untended, the conditions can cause mold instead. You can easily avoid this by using clean utensils & mold-free ingredients.
Here’s a snapshot infographic of how to DIY homemade apple scrap vinegar. Which, by the way can be done using just about any fruit to make a million and one tasty vinegars.
See it in action in this video from Jessica at Three Rivers Homestead on YouTube(skip ahead to 9:25).
If you discover a “mother” forming on top, do not discard it! Unless you have more & truly have no need, then compost it. Otherwise, use it to jumpstart your next batch of homemade vinegar. Or make kombucha!
Experimenting with various apple varieties allows you to tailor the vinegar to your taste preferences.
The rich, complex flavors that develop during fermentation make homemade apple scrap vinegar a unique and delightful addition to your culinary creations.
Here’s the bottom line about how to preserve apples this fall.
While these apple varieties are well-suited to various preservation methods, personal preference and regional availability play a role in your choices too.
So, experiment with different varieties & techniques. Find the flavors, recipes & textures you prefer for your apple preservation projects this fall and winter. Those will be the ones to keep on-hand.
|Water-bath Canning||Dehydrating||Freezing||Pantry / Root Cellar Storage||Freeze-Drying|
|Delicious (Golden or Red)||X|
Are you ready to try some new ways to preserve apples this fall at home?
I’d love to know how you preserve your fall beauties. Share your favorite method or tips in the comments! Or tag me in a recipe over on Instagram.
Until next time, Lovely.
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Your one stop shop for all the great resources recommended in this post.
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- Village Posts:
- How to Use 4 Bushels of Apples (Our applesauce escapades)
- How to Make a Traditional & Self-Sufficient Kitchen (plus my kitchen tools wish list!)
- Buying a Freeze Dryer to Make Homemade Baby Formula (but now we do everything!)