It’s apple time around here and apples are everywhere. Apples are one of the fruit crops that do well in cold climates and short growing seasons. Here are a dozen ways to preserve apples for a variety of options.
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 exhaustive, 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 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 their place. Here is how to make it in two different varieties.
Layered apple jam
The Russian name for layered apple jam is 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 at home 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 apples 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 crust. 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. Now cut the leather into stripes and roll them up.
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.
It sure was a fun project. The flavor is robust, but the texture is slightly chewy.
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.