Many of you have asked what I've done with my boxes of apples that were given to me, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and show you! This post has a ton of pictures because I think it's very helpful to see what I'm talking about.
I don't have the necessary items to properly can anything, so I froze a lot of the apples in a variety of ways. One item you need to do just about anything with is Fruit Fresh. It's essentially absorbic acid (vitamin C) that works to preserve the color of the apples even after cut. I bought my bottle at Walmart for $3.44 and after using it constantly for the past 2 weeks, I still have some left! You can use lemon juice, but absorbic acid works much, much better and it doesn't alter the taste of the apple, which I like.
Freezing Sliced & Diced Apples
One of the most basic things I did with my apples is peeled, cut, cored and diced them to freeze. I borrowed one of those handy apple Peeler-Corer-Slicers like the ones here and it made a daunting task quick and bearable! After you peel, core & slice the apple, put it in a bath of water mixed with Fruit Fresh to sit for about 5 minutes. Next, set the apples out on a cloth to dry out a bit. You can then dice or slice them. I did both! I did 3 layers of each on large trays (pieces of Saran wrap between the layers), which I then put in the freezer. Once they were frozen, they break up individually and I put them all in a large ziplock bag.
I love to use diced apples for pancakes, and muffins, as well as my Double Apple Walnut Bread.The nice thing about freezing diced apples is that when thawed, they're soft, so they bake into these items nicely.
Here are some recipes for my frozen sliced apples:
Homemade Cinnamon Apples
I was going to make homemade applesauce but we decided we'd enjoy homemade cinnamon apples much more. Instead of using the apple peeler-corer-slicer, I just peeled them with a potato peeler and then used the corer-slicer that slices them into larger pieces. I used 30 medium-small apples and this process took me about 20 minutes.
I searched the Internet for a good recipe, but didn't want something loaded with sugar, so I came up with my own. It worked out great! The only thing is, despite using several tablespoons of corn starch, the juice didn't thicken much at all! The apples taste delicious though, so I consider it a success. Here's what I used:
30 medium- small apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
a few dashes of nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP cornstarch
Place sliced apples in crock pot. Mix remaining ingredients, except butter. Pour over apples and stir well. Dot apples with butter. Cook on medium for 4 hours, stirring intermittently. Enjoy!
Note: Depending on how many apples you use, the time required to cook them will vary. Check often after about 3 hours. You want to apples to be tender, but not mush!
Dried Cinnamon Apples
I don't have a fruit dehydrator, so I made these the "old fashioned way." It was easy!
Use the apple peeler-corer-slicer and place apples in the Fruit Fresh bath afterwards. Dry apples on a cloth and then make 1 cut through the apple, so that the slices separate. Lay apples out on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit more Fruit Fresh, then follow with a bit of cinnamon-sugar mix. Bake in low oven for 10-12 hours. The lowest my oven goes in 170 degrees. I baked the apples for 12 hours, then turned the oven off and just let them sit for another several hours.
My plan was to use my Food Saver to make pouches of apples, to eat over the next year or so, but each time I make a batch they disappear! Note: you can reuse the pieces of parchment paper several times!
What do you do with apples to enjoy them all winter long? Please share!