Learn all the fantastic ways to preserve apples at home, including fresh storage, freezing, canning, dehydrating, and more! Here are my favorite 12 ways to preserve apples at home.
We've all heard the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but my apples don't grow all year round. My goal is to put up as much food as possible when it's in season to keep our food bill down by increasing our food storage.
It's apple season ya'll (When I get excited a little bit of southern kicks in, it's just how I roll) and I happen to have almost 75 pounds of apples sitting in my kitchen waiting to be preserved into something glorious.
Preserving apples in jars (and having multiple ways to do so) makes my Mason jar loving heart very happy. You ready?
What Can I Do With a Lot of Apples?
Learning how to preserve apples at home is a great, frugal skill to undertake. Anytime you can either harvest, or even buy, food when it's in season, you're getting it at the lowest cost, and when you can learn how to preserve it for the full year – without using icky ingredients – it's a major score!
While most folks think of making applesauce (and applesauce is delicious), there are many more ways to preserve those apples for use all year long. I’m going to share with you how to make apple preserves, apple pie filling, dehydrated cinnamon apples, apple pectin, apple cider vinegar, and more!
What Are the Best Apples to Preserve?
There are so many varieties of apples, it can be difficult to choose. When canning, preserving or freezing apples, it is best to pick a crisp, firm variety that is both sweet and tart.
The most popular varieties are:
- Golden Delicious
- Pink Lady
You can even combine apples of different varieties to create a unique, dynamic flavor.
How to Preserve Apples
My top 11 ways (plus a BONUS) to preserve apples are:
- Apple Pie Filling
- Dehydrated Apples
- Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple Butter
- Homemade Apple Pie Jam
- Apple Jelly
- Homemade Pectin
- Apple Fruit Leather
- Storing Fresh Apples (for Long-Term)
- Canned Apple Sauce
- Freezing Apples
- BONUS: Homemade Apple Cider
Apple Pie Filling
Canning apples for pie when I'm short on time (or when apple prices are sky-high) is one of my favorite home-canned apple items to have in the pantry.
Is there anything better than lovely jars of home-canned apple pie filling? Yes, there is, diving headfirst into said jar with a spoon… or no spoon.
Ever notice how apple prices go up during the holidays? Preserving apple pie filling ahead of time saves so much time when I'm busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can bake a homemade pie by just popping open a jar of this filling and pulling out the best flaky pie crust from the freezer…
Here's how to safely can apple apples for pie with my Homemade Apple Pie Filling Tutorial and Recipe.
Dehydrated Apple Chips
Want to know how to preserve apple slices? My favorite way is to make cinnamon apple chips. Apples lend themselves well to dehydrating and they're a great addition to a hike or to take on the go for a quick snack.
Simply peel and slice your apples, taking care to cut them relatively the same size and thickness for even drying. The beauty of preserving your apples this way is the cinnamon gives them a brown color so no need to worry about spraying them with lemon juice or citric acid to keep them from browning.
Place prepared apple slices in a container with a lid or a plastic ziptop bag. Sprinkle 1 to 2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon on top (or to taste), close the container, and shake to evenly coat the apple slices.
Place on dehydrator trays, taking care to leave space around each apple slice for proper airflow. (I've had this dehydrator for years now and feel you can fit more on these square trays.) Set dehydrator to 135 degrees F and dehydrate until fully dry.
Depending upon how thick you cut your apples and the water content, this can be anywhere from 6 to 24 hours, it's best to check on them after 6 hours, then every hour until completely dry.
How Do You Know When Apples Are Completely Dry?
The best way to determine if your apples are fully dry is by weight. Weigh your empty trays and then weigh your trays when they are full of prepared fruit. Subtract the empty tray weight from the full tray weight to find the weight of your prepared fruit.
Follow this ratio: 20 pounds of prepared apples should dry to 6.5 pounds. Put dehydrated cinnamon apple slices in a sealed container and enjoy!
For long-term food storage, use an oxygen absorber or a vacuum seal attachment on a Mason jar and store in a cool dark area of your home.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
Did you know you can make homemade apple cider vinegar? Yep, and the bonus is it will be fermented with “the Mother”, just like the good stuff from the grocery store!
The perk of learning how to make homemade fruit vinegar (with any kind of fruit) is that you generally can use the fruit scraps. So for apple cider, you can use the skins and apple cores to make something from a byproduct that may have ended up in the compost pile.
You won't believe how incredibly easy it is. Check out this tutorial with photos and a video on how to make raw apple cider vinegar.
Then put that ACV to work in recipes (like this amazing old-fashioned vinegar pie), catching fruit flies, and for delicious and tangy salad dressings.
Fruit butter, how I love you. You're thick and spread so nicely on homemade buttermilk biscuits and pancakes.
This recipe uses a special ingredient for a delightful flavor… get your homemade apple butter recipe right here, complete with canning instructions for long-term storage.
Homemade Apple Pie Jam (Low-Sugar Recipe)
Oh yes, apple pie in a mason jar ready to smear on your favorite biscuit, sandwich, cornbread, in between cakes… or, let's be honest, just by the spoonful!
Learn how to make easy apple pie jam.
Apple jelly not only looks pretty in jars (especially as gifts around the holidays), but it also only uses two ingredients to make! I'm a fan of simplicity and the fewer ingredients the better.
Check out this great apple jelly recipe and tutorial from my girl Laurie over at Common Sense Homesteading.
Homemade Apple Pectin
Did you know apples are high in pectin? In fact, my grandmother never used store-bought pectin, she just grated a green apple into her jam or jelly. But you can make and can or freeze apple pectin for use in all your jam and jelly recipes.
Homemade Fruit Leather
Have you checked out the ingredients in store-bought fruit leather? Yeah, not happening in my house. This one has only 3 ingredients (are you noticing a theme?) and is easy and straightforward to make.
Here's how to make apple and cinnamon fruit leather. But if you're looking for that store-bought thick and chewy consistency (rather than the oftentimes tough and even crispy fruit leather), check out my friend Carolyn's tip (from Homesteading Family) on making homemade fruit leather with a secret ingredient!
Storing Fresh Apples (Long-Term Storage)
Apples are one of the cool fruits that can be stored for a long time with very little effort. Have you ever heard the saying one bad apple spoiled the barrel? It's true, and it dates back to when people used root cellars a lot more than they do today.
There are many tips for storing apples for long-term storage. This post by Living Homegrown discusses which varieties store best, how to harvest apples so they last the longest (and which apples should be eaten sooner), and she even covers how to store apples if you don't have a root cellar (she's speaking my language here!).
Here's the low down on storing apples for long-term storage.
Homemade Applesauce (Plus Canning Instructions)
My tip for applesauce is to not bother cutting or peeling beforehand. I steam my apples whole and then put them through the sieve to catch the seeds and peelings. Easy peasy and a lot less work.
Though Lauren over at Tastes Better From Scratch uses a different method, her tutorial is spot on for learning how to can applesauce.
It is handy to have fresh frozen apple slices on hand, especially around the holidays. Freezing apple slices allows you to store apples in the freezer until you are ready to bake them into a delicious apple pie, or maybe a cobbler.
First wash, peel, and core your apples. Then cut the apples into slices that are relatively the same size and thickness.
Blanching the apples will preserve the quality and allow you to keep your apples in the freezer for up to a year.
To blanch apples, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl with cold water plus 1 to 2 cups of ice. Put the apple slices in the boiling water for two minutes. Immediately transfer the apples to the ice water to cool completely.
When you remove the apple slices from the cold water, let them drain. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat and arrange the apple slices on it so that they are not touching. Let them freeze for several hours or overnight in a single layer.
In the morning, take the apples and seal them in freezer bags. Keep them in the freezer until you are ready to bake with them.
Hot Apple Cider
Bonus! Don't you love a bonus? I do. Like when you put on a pair of pants you haven't worn in a long time and not only do they still fit but you find a $20 in the pocket!
How could I have forgotten to add this one with the original 11? I blame it on the 12 jars of tomato sauce I made and canned today, but really, homemade apple cider is a must. Would someone please bring me a cup and we'll toast to the loveliness of fall and apples?
How do you preserve apples at home?
More Posts You May Enjoy
- 8 Ways to Preserve Pumpkins
- How to Can Rhubarb – 3 Ways to Preserve Rhubarb
- Pumpkin Applesauce Muffin Recipe with Maple Glaze
- 8 Tips for Seasonal Living – Homestead Fall Preserving
- How to Cure Onions for Storage
- Leather Britches Green Beans (200-Year-Old Preservation Method)
- 10 Tips for Storing Vegetables Long Term without a Root Cellar
- 9 Things To Do Now for Ongoing COVID Realities
- 9 Ways to Preserve Food at Home
- How to Preserve Meat, Eggs & Dairy
Apple Preserving & Use (Mini Cookbook)
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You forgot one! Dried apples!
Kathleen check out number 3 again. 🙂
9 Ways to Preserve Apples at Home - Prepared Bloggers
[…] View the full article at Pioneering Today […]
Thanks, Melissa. Perfect timing for me because I bought a bushel of apples today, 3/4 Fortune apples and 1/4 Northern Spies. The trees in our area didn’t produce well this year but I don’t want to head into winter without some apple goodies put by. On my way home from the market I was thinking “Hmm, I’ll have to see if Melissa has the recipe for apple pie filling on her blog.” And voila – there was the link waiting for me in my email! Thanks again 🙂
Melissa, you may want to check your headspace in the jars. it may just be the photo, but one looks like it has too much headspace and the other too little.
Thanks, Laurie. The applesauce was 1/4 inch head space per my canning book, but the Tattler lids tend to pull or create a vacuum when they seal, making them look more full than they really are. I think it’s just the angle on my apple pie filling as I always follow headspace rules to the T. 🙂
What wonderful timing! The weather here in middle Tennessee (as of today) has finally turned to a reminiscent feel of the coming of fall. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes…just what I needed on a cool rainy night. I wonder is the Farmers Market has any fresh organic apples? Hmmm…. wonder what I’m doing this weekend?
Warm thoughts and happy preserving!
So glad you’re getting some fall weather. It’s been unseasonably warm here in the Pacific Northwest, too. I’m just getting ready to make another batch of apple pie filling. Happy apple hunting!
Here is my easy way to preserve my apples: I cut them into uniform slices, drop them in a bowl with a little lemon juice. When I have enough to spread out on two cookie sheets (on parchment paper), I do that. Into the freezer for an hour, then put them into a gallon size freezer baggie. They stay separate and I can take out as many as I wish at a time. When I have a full bag, I often take them to our local home facility for disabled adults. Their usual mid-day snack of processed cookies or processed whatevers get replaced with healthy, fresh apple slices, which they absolutely love!
This article came to me at the perfect time!!! Just picked all the apples off of a friends tree! Apple butter is in the crock pot ready to be canned and preparing to make jelly! Thanks for great timing!!! And such a great site!!!! 😉
You left off hard cider or apple jack.
This is a really informative and helpful article, Melissa! I am going to bookmark it to come back to and read and take notes. Thanks!
Is it weird I reference it myself come apple season and I wrote it? 🙂
I love apples, too, and my young trees are growing, but it’s the old faithful tree out the back door that is dumping a bumper crop of green apples this season. I put up lots of apple sauce which I do not add sugar to–just lots of spice and apple cider vinegar! My apple butter is awesome on ice cream or folded over fresh yogurt for breakfast. I simply cook down apples in the crock pot, again, add spices (lots of spices!) and a splash of vinegar and cook it down and blend with an immersion blender. It thickens up so nicely and the houes smells divine. I jar it up and also freeze it. I love it!!!
Can I come over and pick apples with you? Our younger trees aren’t producing enough this year but a neighbor is gracious and usually shares, fingers crossed that happens this year. I bet your house smells amazing when the apple butter is on!
Apples are one of my favorite things to preserve, because I know they will get used! The first thing I do is applesauce. I don’t bother peeling, just wash and cut to remove core. It all goes in the crock pot (minus the cores) and when it’s soft enough gets mashed/pureed with cinnamon, a dash of lemon juice, maybe a bit of honey or maple syrup if I think it needs it (but most fresh apples are sweet enough). If I want to make apple butter, I leave the mixture in the crock pot with the lid ajar and let it cook down.
In addition to canning applesauce, I also can chopped apples with very little sweetener. Since my husband likes apple pie, I freeze “apple pie apples,” where I put foil in a pie plate, mix apples with other pie ingredients, freeze it in the pie form, them remove it and wrap it up tight and store in a gallon bag in the freezer (sometimes I add cranberries for apple-cranberry pie). When you want to bake it, make the crust, then put the frozen apple pie form in and bake – voila!
We often buy drops from a local orchard to make apple cider with a grape press that we have; we would like to try hard cider, too.
I haven’t done cider… yet! Love your freezing the apples, if I’m sort on time I also freeze my apple pie filling, but I haven’t done it pie form like you described. Thanks for the tip!
Karla, That’s exactly how I freeze my apple slices too although some years my freezer is too full for such bulky items as pies in foil. This year I’m in luck for that as there were very few sour cherries around here and I wasn’t able to get there in time to get any so have plenty of room for apple pies this year.
Karla and Melissa, I use a Victoria strainer to do my apples. I cut them (no peeling which makes the sauce very pink depending on the apples) and cook them on the stove till they are cooked thru and put them thru the strainer. The sauce comes out one spout and the skins and seeds out the other. It works beautifully, came upon this by accident one year. A bonus, hubby helps and uses his drill to turn the handle so he doesn’t have to do it by hand, although it’s not hard. Then into the jars and canner! Very simple but if you do a whole bushel it does take all day and it’s kind of messy but well worth it.
I usually make applesauce and Apple butter but i will tru your Apple pie filling. Yum! Thanks for sharing.
I’ve only had one success making apple cider vinegar. I’ve followed your instructions & about a dozen others but I always end up with mold. But that won’t keep me from trying again this season. ACV is so expensive at the super market – nearly $7 a gal.
THANK YOU so much for all your excellent posts. You really inspire me to try new things. In today’s post you said to check out your Ultimate Home Food Preservation Guide with 80+ recipes. Hmmmm…………. I tried clicking on the blue title but can’t find where to click to download a print version of this Guide.
I’m not good on the computer and realize this is most likely my problem, not yours. But can you please help me download this Guide? I love all your recipes and am just so anxious to try to do more preserving for our pantry. I know this Guide will work wonders to help me fill my pantry.
THANK YOU in advance for your help.
Please email me personally as I sometimes can’t get back to read all your responses on the comments. Actually, the truth is… most of the time I can’t figure out HOW to get back to the comments once I leave your post.
THANKS AGAIN – I’m sincerely grateful for any help you can provide so I can print this awesome Guide out.
It should come to your email once you subscribe,but I’ll double check and email you.
Hello Mellisa, nice post. I really liked it, please share some more.
Great post. I did a huge batch of applesauce last year and it was wonderful. We also dehydrated lots of apples. I love apple butter but have yet to make it myself. Perhaps I will give that a try this year if I can get a good amount of apples.
Do you have any recipes for crab apple preserves?
My crab apple tree isn’t producing a big harvest yet so I haven’t had any to play with.
Oh my goodness, Melissa you’ve done it again, :-). Your article was wonderful and I was really intrigued with making the apple pectin, ? saved and printed ☺️. And then yet lady who is the Nigerian also had a recipe for Pithiviers. I have never heard of them but I am challenged to make it. As I am also challenged to make the apple pectin. It’s so important to me to have the basic ingredients made at home such as making your own yeast for bread. Thank you once again,
As always sincerely impressed and appreciate,
Roxanna Lee Hendrix
Has always, great podcasts and recipes. Thanks for sharing all that you do, I truly enjoy the time I spend listening to your show. Keep doing what you love, it really does make a difference in our lives. Till next time, see ya.
what sieve do you use please? i bought one that didn’t do the job at all! thanks! Jude
I love your recipe for apple pie jam. My son and I made it together so double bonus points! The jell finished up being a little to strong or hard, any suggestions to make it more spreadable?
Yes, it’s the season to be up to our eyeballs in apples. Left out baked apples, a nice wholesome treat! Making applesauce and using the peels and core to make vinegar is my favorite way to use apples. Applesauce is so healthy for out gut! I freeze mine but this year I will can some jars too as the freezer is filling up! Great article, thank you!
I’m going to try your Apple pie filling. I usually just slice, add a little sugar and some cinnamon and fill 4cup portions to freeze for Apple pie later in the year.
I have a raw apple cider vinegar bottle that keeps producing mothers! I was thinking of juicing some of my apples and adding a mother to see if it would turn into Apple cider vinegar.
Other than that, dried apples with cinnamon, Apple sauce, pie portions and Apple juice are all the ways I preserve my Apple harvest
I made Apple Vodka this month. It’s pretty doggone good!
I just cut up 4 or 5 apples (no need to peel or core) and placed them into a large jar, threw in a couple of cinnamon sticks, and poured in a bottle of neutral-tasting vodka (I used Tito’s) to cover the apples. I put a lid on it, and let it steep for a couple of weeks.
Your link to how to store apples is not working. I am curious how ypu do it. When I was young my father and I would wrap each apple in newspaper and put them in a box and carry them to the attic. I’m from upstate NY. What do we do in Washington?
I am just finishing up making apple sauce and apple butter. I had bought a bushel of apples and with the rest, I plan on dehydrating them. Thanks for the timely post.
I like to cut apples into a jar and pour a simple syrup in and hot pack it. I can use the apples however I wish. Usually in apple fritters or apple crisp. Great in hot cerial.
Shred and freeze apples to make apple cake.
Yay! Apple season!
I live in Maine and forage a ton of wild apples, I’m always looking for a new way to preserve my harvest. After ciders are made I cook some down into molasses (apple molasses) put a spoon full or 2 in boiled water it’s like hot cider, it can be used as a sweetener as well. Happy Harvesting!!
The link to the article on how to store apples in a cold room is broken. I wanted to read that article, but also found there is no way to search your website.
Exact same recipe for Pear sauce?
Love your site, but several of the links came up “Error” or “Not Found” 🙁
The only link I found not working was the apple pectin (which I fixed), what was the other one?