Preserving Apples

How to's on preserving apples, drying, canning, and freezing for winter storage.

It is apple season right now where I live, and I spend a lot of time preparing apples for winter use. There are many different ways in which to preserve apples, and in this article I am going to share some of my favorite methods.

APPLESAUCE

This is a very quick and easy method to can applesauce. Wash your apples and cut out any bad spots on the apples. Cut into chunks, there is no reason to peel or core your apples. Place the apples, along with a small amount of water in a large pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. When the apples are soft, place them in a food mill and sieve through.. All of the skins and seeds will remain in the food mill. Next pack your applesauce into jars to within ½ inch, seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. If you desire to freeze your applesauce, place in freezer containers after putting through the food mill. Seal tightly and freeze.

You can season your applesauce with sugar and cinnamon before serving.

APPLE BUTTER

2 dozen, medium sized apples, quartered

2 quarts sweet cider

3 cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

Cook apples in cider until tender. Press through a sieve or food mill; measure out 3 quarts of apple pulp. Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon. As pulp is cooking, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add sugar and spices. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick, this will take approximately 1 hour. Pour into jars up to 1/4 inch. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This will make 5 pints.

FREEZING APPLE SLICES FOR PIE- unthawed, these can be used for pies, cobblers or even to make fresh applesauce

Peel, core and slice your apples into water into which a few teaspoons of lemon juice has be added, drain. Place the apples in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain again. Pack in plastic freezer containers. Seal and freeze.

APPLE PIE FILLING- just thaw and fill your pie shell.

6 pounds apples

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash, peel, core and slice the apples. Place sliced apples in soaking solution to prevent darkening. Combine the sugar, flour and spices. Rinse and drain the apples, then stir into sugar mixture. Let stand until the juices begin to flow, this will take about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Pour into freezer containers, seal and then freeze. This will make about 6 pints.



DRIED APPLES- while these can be eaten in the dehydrated state, they can also be rehydrated and used for cooking.

Wash, peel and core your apples. Cut into 1/4 to ½ inch slices or rings. Pretreat by dipping in a bowl of water in which a few teaspoons of lemon juice have been added. Dry in a food dehydrator or in your oven at 130 to 135 degrees. Dry until pliable.

BRANDIED MINCEMEAT- I use this not only to make pies, but also quick breads.

2 quarts tart apples, pared, cored and diced (about 8 large apples)

4 cups cleaned cranberries (1 pound)

1-14 ounce package golden raisins

1-11 ounce package dark raisins

1-11 ounce package currants

1-12 ounce package figs

2 oranges, seeded and ground

2 lemons, seeded and ground

½ cup chopped candied orange peel

½ cup chopped candied lemon peel

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon ginger

1 quart apple cider

3/4 cup brandy

½ cup dry sherry

Combine the apples, cranberries, raisins, currants, figs, oranges, lemons, peels, sugar, spices and cider in a large pot. Simmer gently for 1 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove the mincemeat from the heat. Carefully stir in the brandy and the sherry. Return to heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour into hot jars, leaving ½ inch space. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. This will make about 6 pint jars.

Fresh, slightly hard apples can also be stored in a cool, dark place for the winter. Just be sure to keep checking to make sure that none are spoiling. That is where the term, "one bad apple, can spoil the whole bunch" comes from.

© High Speed Ventures 2011