Preserving apples

Hi everyone, we have three apple trees near our house, and the apples are getting ripe and tasty! Is there a best way to store lots of apples?

Well applesauce and frozen apple slices for pie or even canned apple pie filling come to mind. There is also dehydrating sliced apples as well, but I suspect you mean something different. Unfortunately I don't have the proper place to store fresh apples long term, so I have to can, freeze or dry them. With three trees, you will have a lot of apples. Perhaps you will want to share them with a food bank. Where I live, we have a group that will come and harvest your trees to share the wealth with those that don't have fruit trees. There might be such a group near you.

Supermarkets are just the beginning of all the varieties of apples. There used to be 100's, even 1,000's of varieties.
There were small orchards everywhere.
Apple varieties were grown specifically for eating fresh, cooking, drying, canning and freezing, but especially winter storage or cider. My understanding is that a classic winter storage apple is unpalatable fresh but keep it for a few months -- cool, dry, airy, and in the dark -- and you've got a darn good apple. Or at any rate, a darn good apple for February.

If you can find out what variety of apple you have, you'll have a better idea of how to preserve them for winter.
In the meantime, experiment. Can some, freeze some, dry some, record your results and see what the apple wants to do.

One last thought: your three apple trees may NOT be the same variety! Apple trees don't self-pollinate and they can be fussy about who they pollinate with.

Thrifty1's picture

We have 4 apple trees, all different. Two of them produce apples that are worth storing as they are, though I usually cook some up with blackberries & freeze them for quick desserts in winter, and dehydrate some for snacks. We pick them carefully, using an apple-picker to get the higher ones down (they'd otherwise fall on hard ground) and check them over before choosing which ones to try to store; any blemishes at all & they're in the "use now or give away" pile. Those that are just about perfect get wrapped in a layer of torn newspaper, placed in shallow wooden trays (only one layer per tray) & stored out in our garage, which is cool & dark. (We have 3 cats, who usually keep any potential rodent inhabitants under control; sadly mice & rats are somewhat partial to apples.) The newspaper is to keep them from touching in the trays, so that any that do go rotten won't infect the whole lot. Plenty of air circulates around the trays. The best "keepers" will be wrinkled but still usable in cooking right through until March, but last year we lost them all well before that.

I'm hoping to try out bottling, or water-bath canning as I think it's known in the States, soon, but my favourite methods of preserving excess apples - the non-keepers, basically - are to make apple butter & chutney. And every year we put out bags of excess apples (also courgettes/zucchini) at the gate for the neighbours to take away - essentially using them to build social capital!