Your objective is to use your time and money wisely. You can achieve these goals by using many different techniques, with the number one technique always being PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! As you are planning your weekly or monthly menu, preparing your OAMC (Once A Month Cooking) plan, or filling your freezer, you should include apples and lots of them.
Apples are part of the rose family. There are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples, so you can get anything from cooking and baking apples to the ones used in cider production to eating apples. No matter what kind of apple you buy, you can use it for any recipe that calls for apples.
The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be more truthful than you think. All kinds of health benefits await you in an apple. Of course, raw is better than cooked, but keep this in mind: the more of the apple you keep, the more benefits you gain, so don’t discount the value of the skins.
- Several B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Can help regulate blood sugar
- Strong antioxidant benefits – especially for the cardiovascular system
- Apples have shown in research to be closely associated in the reduction of lung cancer
- Multiple studies have shown reduction in risk of asthma
- Several benefits for age-related health problems
Apples have many uses such as a snack, a side dish, an add-in, a topping, a stuffing or filling, in baking, as a sauce, and as a general ingredient. They can be used dried, fresh, frozen, canned, and as a liquid. In fact, apples are so versatile they are accepted at every meal without pause.
Here are some examples of ways to use apples in your recipes and how the various preparations may be interchangeable:
Apple Egg Rolls – fresh, frozen, canned
Apple Crisp – Learn how to Make your own Apple Crisp Kits
Apple Pie – dried, fresh, frozen, canned Apple Stack Cake – fresh, frozen, canned
Applesauce – dried, fresh, canned
Apple Cider Donuts (Baked or Fried)
Basting Juice, Marinade or Spice Rub – dried, fresh, canned, juice
Cole Slaw Add-in – dried, fresh
Cook, bake, grill, etc. with pork – dried, fresh, frozen, canned, juice
Fresh Apple Cider – fresh
Fresh Apple Juice – fresh
Fried Apple Pies – dried, fresh, frozen, canned
Fried Apples – dried, fresh, frozen, canned, juice
Fruit Salad – fresh
Infuse Water with Apples – dried, fresh
Pasta Salad Add-in – fresh
Pork Roast Topping – dried, fresh, frozen, canned
Raw – dried, fresh
Salad Add-in – dried, fresh
Stewed Apples – dried, fresh, frozen, canned, juice
Stuffing Add-in – dried, fresh, frozen, canned
To use your apples, you need to know how to store and prepare them, especially for long-term keeping.
Fresh Apple Storage
Do not wash before use
Store in a plastic bag in coldest part of your refrigerator (the crisper drawer)
Remove any apples that spoil immediately. If you don’t, they will contaminate remaining apples and possibly other items in the drawer.
Apples will keep up to 6 weeks.
Dried Apple Storage (2 methods)
Fill jar with dried apples, gently compacting them as you go to remove air.
Seal jar with an airtight lid.
Store in a cool, dark area
They will keep up to a year in the cabinet or pantry and up to two years in the freezer.
Freezer Bag Method
Fill zip top bag with dried apples, gently compacting them as you go to remove air.
Gently squeeze bag to remove any remaining air.
Store in freezer up to two years.
Frozen Apple Storage
Wash apples. Peel if desired.
Core the apples.
Slice apples and dip slices in a shallow bowl of lemon juice. This will inhibit browning.
Place desired amount of slices in a freezer zip top bag.
Remove as much air as possible while sealing bag.
Store in freezer up to one year.
Canned Apple Storage
This section refers to the home canning process and contains only general information. Click the link for How to Start Canning at Home to get more in depth information.
Peel, core, and cut (slice or chunk) apples.
Drop into salt & lemon juice brine to inhibit browning.
Boil in water or light syrup to slightly soften.
Hot pack in jars and process.
Let jars cool and cure at least 24 hours.
Store away from heat and direct light for many years paying close attention to seals and discoloration of product.
Apple Juice Storage (2 methods)
If you bought apple juice, then of course you would use the container in which it came and follow the manufacturers directions.
Fresh, homemade apple juice will keep in the refrigerator 7 – 10 days. The juice will separate into layers after sitting. Shake well before use. These directions are for storing homemade juice and are written on a very basic level. Please refer to professional instructions for safety reasons.
Method 1 – Canning
Extract the juice. You may wish to strain through several layers of cheesecloth or a clean cloth bag.
Hot pack jars and process.
Let jars cool and cure at least 24 hours.
Store away from heat and direct light.
Method 2 – Freezing
Extract juice and freeze in plastic jugs or drink bottles. I do not like using zip top bags for this method.
To use, fully thaw, shake well, and use as if you just squeezed it.
More Saving Tips
These are some tips to save you more time and money when preparing apples for storage and use:
· Invest in an apple peeler, slicer, and corer machine. It will save you an unbelievable amount of time (I can peel, core & slice a 5 gallon bucket of apples in about 15 minutes with mine). These machines are not what I would call expensive. I have seen them for as little as $12.00 (a good metal machine – NOT plastic) and the price can go up from there. On average, they usually run $20 – $30.
· You can usually buy apples in bulk cheaper at an apple orchard, a farmers’ market, most roadside stands, etc.
· When freezing apples, put amount of apples called for in recipe in the bag and mark the bag with recipe information.
· When freezing or canning apples, put recipe specific spices in the jar or bag with the apples so you don’t have to take time to measure when preparing recipe or if you are in a hurry. Identify recipe on bag or lid.
· Lay bags flat on a pan to freeze before moving them to their storage area in the freezer. This allows them to take up less space, and it helps prevent the “frozen bag avalanche.”
· Add a couple of drops of lemon juice to your apple juice and shake well before storing. This does not affect the flavor, but it does help protect the color.
· You can re-hydrate dried apples by allowing them to sit in warm water or warm apple juice for approximately 30 minutes.
· If using a modern juicer to make apple juice, use leftover pulp for muffins, cakes, sauces, and as a thickening agent. This will add extra fiber to your recipe. Pulp can be frozen in small batches for later use in baking.
· If at all possible, allow frozen apples to thaw completely before using. They will produce a large amount of liquid, which could affect your recipe.
· If preparing fresh apples for a recipe, place cut apples in a bowl of cold water mixed with a little lemon juice until ready to add to the recipe. This will inhibit browning of the apples.
Apples are an obvious choice to add flavor, texture, health benefits, and a great filling feeling to your food budget. Apples are one of the few ingredients that fit the need criteria for every meal and every snack time.
More Apple Recipes that you May Enjoy:
What’s Your Favorite Apple Recipe?