It’s apple time around here and apples are everywhere. Apples are one of the fruit crops that do well in cold climate and short growing season. We sure need a dozen ways to preserve apples. We do not always make them all, but love to have the options for many varieties.
The apples we can grow here are often smaller and not as sweet as apples grown in a warmer climate, but we get lots of them.
- Apple sauce
- Apple butter
- Apple jam
- Layered apple jam
- Apple juice
- Apple wine
- Condiments with apples
- Canned apples
- Frozen apples
- Apple chips
- Apple leather
- Apple cheese
This list is not exhausted, there are many more ways to preserve apples. We would love to hear your favorite in a comment below.
Apple sauce is probably the most common way to preserve apples. It is easy to do and yummy in so many ways. We cover how we make apple sauce in this post.
Apple Butter was originated in Europe in the Middle Ages. It still is a favorite in so many families. Creamy, fruity and yummy! See how we make it here.
Apple Jam is not so known in North America, if you haven’t heard of it, let me just say you have to try it. I personally prefer it to apple butter, but both have its place. Here is how to make it in two different varieties.
Layered apple jam
The Russian call layered apple jam Apple Marmalade, I did not know how to name it in English. In essence, it is dehydrated apple jam. Layer apple jam on a baking cheat about an inch thick. Let it dry on a low setting in an oven, or it can also be air-dried. It will not dry thoroughly but should keep its form when cut into pieces.
The result is a sweet and very fruity treat.
The best way to make apple juice is with an apple press. Sometimes there are community events offered for making apple juice or cider. A juicer works too, but the juice foams a lot. So our go-to way to make apple juice is in a steam juicer. It is so easy to do and can be canned right after to preserve for winter.
Apple wine is Jakob’s hobby. He is still experimenting to get the best wine he can.
Condiments with apples
We love Ajika salsa, the apples give it a fruity rich taste. Having apples and tomatoes in one recipe might not be usual, but it sure tastes good. Try it, the recipe is here.
My home preserving book also includes some interesting apple chutneys.
There are so many uses for canned apples, apple pie, apple turnover, dampfnudel, and more. The common way is to can the apples in a sugar syrup, however, especially sweet apples can be canned in their own juice.
Start with cut apples, add some sugar or honey to your liking, and about half a cup of water to prevent the apples from burning. As the apples cook, they will give juice. Cook for about 5 minutes, fill the jars making sure the apples are pushed down so the juice comes up. If there isn’t quite enough juice, you can fill it up with boiled water. Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
Freezing apple is simple, chop and freeze. However, I have found that they do lose texture and taste. I usually don’t do that.
A prepared pie filling, on the other hand, does freeze really well. Mix your pie filling as usual, for example:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 T flour
- dash of salt
Now fill the mixture into a big freezer bag and place the freezer bag into a pie pan, filling it nicely, and freeze. After it is frozen, you can take out the pan, the frozen apples will hold the shape of a pie. To use just take the filling out of the bag and into the pie. Since it has the shape it can be baked frozen and will not lose any juice.
Apple chips are a real treat. We love them and here we share how we make them. Apple chips are an expensive treat, once you know how easy it is to make your own, you will want to have them all the time.
Apple leather is really just dried apple sauce or butter. The sauce will give you a thinner leather and a more even texture. Apple butter will be darker and richer in taste. You choose.
Spread the apple sauce or butter even on a baking cheat or drying sheet, and dehydrate in the oven or dehydrator till it is dry. A lower temperature will need longer, 170F in an oven needs about 3 hours.
Apple cheese is a traditional holiday food from Lithuania. It is made out of Antonovka apples and dried/cured for months till it is served as a special treat. Antonovka apples are hardy, sour apples.
I used just our local apples and started with making apple butter first. Then it is boiled down till all the moisture is evaporated. Then the batter is pressed and dried. Adding some less cooked apples gives it some interesting texture. Also, walnuts and cinnamon can be added.
My apple cheese still has to dry, so I don’t know yet how it will taste. It sure was a fun project.
There you have it, a dozen ways to preserve apples.
Don’t forget to store some for fresh eating apples though. Lots of apples store well when wrapped in a newspaper and stored cool.
We invite you to subscribe to Northern Homestead and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest for the latest updates.
We make Apple Molasses or Apple Syrup from cider. Simmer for about 5 hours, until reduced to about 20% of original volume. We use our wood stove for heating it. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that appears. Refrigerate.
It is fascinating how many ways there are to use apples. Thank you for sharing, I hadn’t heard of apple molasses before.
Two of your recipes really caught my eye, the Ajika salsa, Apple cheese and Barbara’s Apple Molasses/Syrup. I had to harvest my Fuji & Gravensteins a bit early due to rodent & wasp aggression, I’m thinking we might be in for a colder winter. It’s also the first time I’ve seen a rodent go after my red potatoes, eating only the little sweet ones. I still have 2 trees of Granny Smiths but the invasives don’t seem interested in the low sugar apples. I’m glad you also shared your steamed apple juice, I steam juice (berries) but didn’t know if apples would be a good candidate. I stocked my pantry pretty good from a massive harvest year (jelly, butter & pie filling) so now I can store my apples in boxes in my north facing garage and I’m not under stress to put-them-up…and that gives me a chance to try out new recipes!
Since you liked the Ikra, Ajika might become your favorite. I especially like the option to make an instant sauce out of it that has so much goodness in it. Enjoy your harvest.
Good luck with the Apple Wine! My husband makes ours from an old heritage apple tree that we discovered on our property. We’re not sure of the variety, but these apples are dry, sweet-ish, and bland – not great for other uses like apple sauce, juice, or pie. We decided to try making wine with them, and it is outstanding! We’ve also made wine from rhubarb and wild plums.
You can make apple jelly without sugar (from another tree which has sweet/tart and juicy apples), but this requires boiling it down forever! Kind of like the apple molasses mentioned above, but cooked even longer. You don’t get much jelly for your work, but it’s delicious.
Thank you, Jakob has made a few tasty wines already, it’s a hobby. I have thought about making apple jelly but was not sure if the effort is worth it since there are so many other things to make with apples.
Rosaleen Wilson says
Many years ago I had a recipe for apple chutney that included two whole heada of garlic. Would you happen to have one? It was very sweet and some friends used it for ice cream topping
Interesting, no sorry I don’t have the recipe. But just googling it, recipes come up. Try it, you might find the one.