Apples, apples, apples

Apples can be preserved by freezing, canning or dehydrating.

Fall is such a beautiful time of the year.  It’s also harvest time for gardens and fresh produce is in abundance.  Michigan apples are plentiful this year; and there’s nothing like the smell of homemade applesauce cooking or apple crisp baking in the kitchen.  If you have a large quantity of fresh apples, you may be wondering what to do with all of your apples.  Apples can be frozen, canned or dehydrated. 

Freezing apples is fairly simple. As for all food preservation products, choose high quality apples say Michigan State University Extension.  Wash, peel and cut your apples into the desired size.   Apples can be peeled by hand with a knife, a hand peeler or with an apple corer, peeler or slicer which can be purchased at a hardware store or many discount stores.  To prevent browning of the apples, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle over the apples.  Apples can be frozen with or without sugar.  If desired, mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 quart of (1 1/4 pounds) of fruit.  Pack apples into freezer containers or into freezer bags.  Seal and freeze. 

Apples can also be canned.  Apples can be canned as slices in a syrup pack or in water.  Directions for canning apples can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation

Homemade applesauce is a treat which can be enjoyed year round by freezing your applesauce.  To prepare applesauce, wash, peel and core apples.  To prevent darkening, slice your apples into an ascorbic acid solution (1 teaspoon or 3,000 mg. ascorbic acid and 1 gallon water). Hold the fruit in the solution until you are done slicing the apples, then drain the fruit well.  Place the drained slices in an eight to 10 quart pot.  Add 1/2 cup water.  Stirring occasionally to prevent burning, heat quickly and cook until tender, approximately five to 20 minutes, depending on maturity and variety of apples.  Press through a sieve or food mill, if desired.  If you prefer chunkier style sauce, omit the pressing step.  If desired, add 1/8 cup of sugar per quart of sauce.  Taste and add more if desired.  Pack into freezer containers leaving 1 inch of head space for quart sized containers.  Seal and freeze.  Applesauce can also be canned.  Directions for canning applesauce can also be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Dehydrated apples are also a treat.  Apples can be cut into rings, wedges or chips.  If you are watching calories or sugar in your diet, keep in mind, the dehydrating process removes water from the fruit, but not calories or sugar. 

For more information on food preservation, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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