How To Freeze Apples

I love apple picking. It signals the beginning of my favorite season, fall, with one of my favorite foods, apples. I swoon over the heirloom varieties that orchards grow—not available at my local grocery store—and chug cider like it’s no one’s business.

The amount of apples I end up carting home is a recurring joke between my husband and me. It seems to grow by pounds every year, and considering there are just two of us, it’s honestly comical. I’m surprised the car makes it home with the trunk so heavily loaded.

While my standard tactic is to eat as many fresh out of hand as I can, then move on to baked goods, then finally make lots of applesauce with the remnants, sometimes I can’t quite keep up with all of the fruit. Luckily, I’ve found a new tactic. Freezing!

Why Freeze Apples?

I’ve long loved frozen fruit—berries, bananas, stone fruit, even watermelon—but it had never occurred to me to freeze apples. I just assumed it would do something weird to their crispy texture.

While you can’t pull a whole apple out of the freezer and start munching, frozen apples are good for baking. It’s a convenient option that allows you to do the baking later. Instead of making tons of pie filling and applesauce now, you can spread it out over the winter. Freezing is a low-lift way to preserve your apple-y bounty for months to come.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How To Freeze Apples

I’ve found that you can freeze apples two ways: in slices or whole with the core removed. Which you choose depends on what you plan to use them for. It’s best to use apples from frozen rather than defrosting them first. Slices are good for crisps, crumbles, apple pie filling, and applesauce. Whole, cored apples are really only good for baked apples.

To freeze apple slices: 

  1. Add cool water to a medium mixing bowl and squeeze half of a lemon into the water. 
  2. You can leave the apples unpeeled or peel them. You won’t be able to remove the peel later, so I tend to peel the apples so they can be used for a wide range of recipes. 
  3. Core and slice into thick slices (about 6 slices for small apples, about 8 for large apples).
  4. Drop the slices into the lemon water as you go. This will keep them from turning brown.
  5. Lay out a clean hand towel or paper towels and place the apple slices on top, drying them before moving them to the baking sheet. 
  6. Line a rimmed baking sheet that will fit in your freezer with parchment paper. Arrange the slices in a single layer without touching each other.
  7. Freeze the baking sheet of apples for 2 hours or longer, until frozen solid, and then peel the apples off of the parchment and place them in a labeled zip-top freezer bag. They’ll keep for up to 6 months.

To freeze whole cored apples, simply core them and freeze in a zip-top bag for up to 6 months.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How To Use Frozen Apples Slices

Frozen apple slices are good for:

Frozen apples aren’t good for everything, but they are good for baking, with a small caveat. Like other frozen fruits, frozen apples release a lot of water. It’s actually the same amount of liquid as fresh fruit, but it’s released a lot faster. This means you need to tweak your recipes just slightly.

Smart Tip

Regardless of what you’re making, use the apple slices frozen, don’t defrost them first. 

For desserts where the apples cook for less time, such as a crisp, crumble, or cobbler, I suggest tossing the frozen apple slices in a tablespoon or two of flour (depending on the size of the dessert). If the recipe already calls for tossing the apples in flour or cornstarch, increase the amount by about 30%. 

For apple pie, which cooks for a long time, you don’t need to add more thickener. Just cook the pie for 10 to 15 minutes longer so that the fruit has time to thaw and the filling has time to thicken.

Alison Bickel

How To Use Frozen Cored Apples

While frozen apple slices offer versatility, my favorite way to freeze apples is whole with the core removed. They take just moments to prepare, especially if you have an apple corer, and you can simply toss them in a freezer bag. 

The only way to use frozen cored apples is for baked apples, but I’m not complaining. You can always mix up the filling, and there’s no need to adjust the recipe ingredients. You might need to bake the apples for longer—test them with a paring knife. There will likely be a bit more liquid in the baking pan than usual, but it won’t affect the baked apples themselves.


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