How to Freeze Apples - 3 Ways

Apples
Apples. Westend61/Getty Images

Lucky enough to have an apple tree or access to cheap apples? Here's how to freeze them for year-round use.

Freeze Whole Apples

Wash the apples thoroughly. Then, freeze them whole and unpeeled on a cookie sheet. Transfer the apples to freezer bags once they're completely frozen.

Freeze Apple Slices

Peel, core and slice the apples to your preferred size. Then, freeze them on a cookie sheet, and transfer them to freezer bags once they're frozen.

This will keep the pieces from sticking together, so you'll be able to pull out just what you need later.

Freeze Apple Pie Filling

Peel, core and slice apples to whatever size you prefer. Then, sweeten with sugar and spices to use as pie filling. Freeze in pie plates that have been lined in plastic wrap. Then, transfer the filling to freezer bags once it's frozen. To use: simply drop the frozen apples into a pie crust; cover them with dough and cook. There's no need to thaw the apples first. You'll probably need to increase the bake time for your pies to account for the frozen apples, but it won't take any longer than a frozen pie from the grocery store. Figure on an extra 20-25 minutes.

To Avoid Browning: Dip the apple slices in lemon juice, salt water or an ascorbic acid solution prior to freezing. You can also, pack them in sugar syrup, or blanche them for one and a half minutes to stop the enzyme action that causes browning.

Tips:

1. Any type of apple can be frozen, but if you'll be buying apples specifically to freeze, you'll find that these apple varieties freeze best.

2. Frozen apples can be used to make apple butter, applesauce, jam, jelly, pies, cakes, cobblers, baked apples and other baked or cooked dishes. If you're too busy to do a bunch of canning and preserving now, just get your apples in the freezer, so they'll be there when you have more time to work with them.

3. Since freezing changes the texture of apples, they aren't really suited for eating raw. 

4. Some spices lose their potency when frozen, so you may find that it works best to add your pie spices just prior to baking. Here's how to make your own apple pie spice.

5. When freezing pie filling, it's important to use a thickener that can withstand freezing. Instant ClearJel and tapioca are good choices.

6. Freeze some apples whole, and chop others, so you can use them in a variety of recipes.

7. Be sure to label and date your bags of apples, so you don't forget what they are. Things start to look the same after they've been in the freezer for a while.

7. If you're not big on canning, you can freeze your homemade apple butter and applesauce until you're ready to use it. Just be sure to pack it in freezer-safe jars or containers, so they don't crack.

More Uses for Apples

If you have loads of apples and are limited on freezer space, try some of these other ways for preserving apples: