How to Freeze Apples So They Last for Months
We are smack in the middle of apple picking season, and if you’re anything like me, that means you brought home a solid bushel more of apples than you can actually use. But there’s good news: You can freeze apples for many other opportunities down the road! And in doing so, you eliminate some of the prep work that goes into cooking with apples, making them even easier to enjoy.
Can You Freeze Apples?
Yes! You can definitely freeze apples for long-term storage. The most important part is making sure you prep the apples the right way to make sure they last.
How to Properly Freeze Apples
Peel, core, and cut up the apples before freezing — you can slice however you like.
To get your apples ready for freezing, first peel and core them. (If you don’t mind peel in whatever recipe you are using the apples in, feel free to leave them unpeeled.)
Then slice them as you like. You can cut them in wedges, slices (not too thin, or they’ll get mushy when they thaw), or dice them, depending on how you want to use them later. These corer-slicers make quick work out of a basket of apples.
Use lemon juice and water to keep the apples from browning.
Before freezing, soak the sliced apples in a lemon juice/water bath to keep them from browning. (In our tests, a salt water bath kept apples from browning longer than lemon water, but since you’re freezing these right away, a simple lemon juice bath works well too.)
Pat the apples dry to avoid ice crystals from forming.
After draining the apples, place them on dry kitchen towels and pat them dry all over to avoid ice crystals forming when the apples freeze.
Freeze the apples on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Once the apples are dried off, place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pop them in the freezer for at least four hours or overnight. I like to use these mini baking sheets because the larger size won’t fit in my freezer. You can also freeze them on a small cutting board or even in a storage bag, placing them flat on a shelf in the freezer.
Transfer the frozen apple slices to a freezer bag for longer-term storage.
Once the apples are frozen, remove them from the sheet tray and place them in a freezer bag like the super cute reusable ones from Stasher below. Label and date the bag before storing it upright in the freezer.
How to Cook with Frozen Apples
Freezing will change the texture of your apples. They won’t be as crisp as they are when they’re fresh, so instead of eating them right from the freezer, it’s best to use them in pies, cakes, muffins, and so forth. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
- 1 pound
Apples (about 3 medium apples)
- 2 tablespoons
Apple corer/slicer (or a chef's knife)
Clean kitchen towels
Resealable plastic or silicone freezer bags
Marker and freezer tape for labeling
Prep: Prepare a bowl with four cups of cool water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Peel, core, and slice apples, adding them to the bowl of water as you go.
Soak: Soak apples in acidulated water for five minutes.
Dry: Dry apples in a single layer on kitchen towels.
Freeze: Place apples on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze for at least four hours or overnight.
Bag and Label: Transfer apples to resealable plastic or silicone freezer bags, label and date, and store for up to nine months.
To use frozen apples for apple pie or similar baked applications, use them frozen, without thawing first.
To thaw frozen apples, place the freezer bag in the fridge, and allow apples to slowly thaw, which will keep the apples from getting mushy. To thaw in a hurry, place the freezer bag in a bowl of cool water, changing the water every 20 minutes until the apples are thawed.