How to Store Apples for Winter

Buy too many apples for your apple pie?  You can store apples in a variety of ways to keep enjoying the delicious flavor throughout the fall and winter seasons.

The health benefits of apples really do justice to the age old phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Being a recognized source of polyphenols, fiber, vitamin C and potassium, eating an apple every day gives you a great boost.

Before you store apples for winter, consider finding ways to add them to your daily diet.  If you need to use them up quickly, this is a great alternative.

How to Store Apples for Winter

Add Apples to Your Daily Diet

It is easy to include apples into your daily regime. Here are some examples for snacks and for adding them to prepared dishes.

  • sliced apples spread with peanut butter
  • slices of apples and cheese
  • mix diced apple with some dried fruit and bake or microwave until soft, add to yogurt for dessert
  • add sliced or diced apples to a mixed salad
  • peel and cook for an applesauce to serve with meat, or as a dessert with biscuit dips
  • bake whole filled with your favorite dried fruit and serve sprinkled with cinnamon

Storing apples whole gives you plenty of options when it comes to eating them: as they are, baked as a side dish, baked in a pie. But whole apple storage takes up a lot of space, so you might consider drying apples or freezing some of them as applesauce. Whatever method you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy their taste deep into the winter months.

Storing Apples Whole

Store apples at a constant temperature.  The cooler the better, down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Cellars and basements work well, as do unheated closets or pantries with an outside wall on the north side of the house.

The storage drawer in a refrigerator is an excellent choice if you can spare the space. Steer clear of the garage. Even though the garage may not have heat, temperatures fluctuate too much for good apple storage.

Wrap apples individually in one-quarter sheets of newsprint to keep them from touching each other. Bruising and coming in contact with an apple with a rotten spot can spoil the whole bunch.

Freezing Applesauce

Wash, pare, core and slice the apples. Using a pare-and-core too.  Put the apples in a heavy kettle, turn the heat on low, and let them cook down for several hours. Add a half cup of water in the beginning to keep them from sticking. When tender, run them through the blender or puree them in the kettle using an immersible blender.

Apples may also be washed, cut into chunks, and cooked, as above. When tender, force them through a sieve to remove the peeling and seeds.

Pour the sauce into individual serving size freezer containers or freeze in muffin tins. Remove from the tins after 24-hours by inverting the tin and running water over the bottom of it. The applesauce will loosen and the individual servings can then be stored all together in a plastic bag in the freezer and removed as needed.

Dehydrating Apples

Wash, pare, core and thinly slice the apples as you would for making sauce. Place them on racks to dry in a food dehydrator.

They can also be strung and hung to dry the way our great grandparents did it. Thread a clean needle with strong thread, doubled, and string as you would cranberries and popcorn for making garlands. Thread on a small disk of cardboard, with the thread knot on one side of the cardboard and the apples on the other to keep the knot from pulling through the bottom apple slice. Leave space between each slice to allow air circulation. Hang in a cool, dry place.

Check apples daily. When dry but still soft, un-string them and store in plastic bags.

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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