How To Freeze Apples in 6 Easy Steps
I got a box full of apples recently from a CSA program, which helps support local farmers who grow organic produce. They were delicious, but I couldn’t eat them all before they went bad and wanted to preserve these for future use. Thankfully, freezing apples is simple! I’ll to explain how to freeze apples in a few steps.
How To Freeze Apples Step By Step
1. Peel the apples (optional).
You may want to peel the apples before you freeze them, depending on what you plan to use them for later on. For example, if you’re going to make applesauce or use them as a topping, you may prefer to remove the skin.
If you don’t mind the peel in cobbler, consider leaving it on. According to the USDA, an unpeeled apple has about 100% more fiber, 25% more potassium and 40% more vitamin A than its unpeeled counterpart.
Some folks have concerns about eating peels due to pesticides. If you wash the fruit, you can remove some of the pesticides, but are unlikely to remove all of them. I recommend buying organic so you can eat the peel without any concern.
2. Slice and core your apples.
Slice or cube the apples. If I’m slicing the apples, I like to cut them into eighths. This will help the apples freeze all the way through faster, and will reduce the amount of mushyness that can occur.
Remove the cores, unless you will simply be pressing these apples later and don’t care if they remain.
3. Bathe in citric acid water to prevent browning.
As you slice up your apples, drop them into a citric acid water bath. For every two cups of water you use, add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
This will slow the oxidation process and prevent them from browning while you work on your haul of apples.
4. Drain and pre-freeze the apples.
Drain the apples, then lay them either on a towel or parchment to dry a bit.
I’m using a kitchen towel here to help reduce waste, and an aluminum sheet pan for easy transport that still fits in the freezer. Pop them in the freezer for about three to four hours. We want them to solidify, but don’t leave them in too long because they will start to dry out.
This freezing step helps prevent them from sticking to each other after you defrost, so you can skip it if you don’t mind.
5. Seal for long-term freezing.
I typically use silicone bags for freezing food that will be consumed shortly, but man those bags are expensive! For longer term storage, I like vacuum sealing my food so I don’t tie up the fancy silicone.
Make sure you get in the habit of marking the dates on food you freeze since it’s easy to end up with a freezer of dozens of food items of questionable age. If you vacuum seal the apples, they’ll last years in the freezer.
You can also use freezer-safe Ziploc bags, which will keep the apples for about six months.
How long do apples last in the fridge?
Apples last pretty long relative to most other fruits, but somehow we always (me included) seem to find that mushy, mealy apple in the fridge we forgot to eat.
On the counter or in the pantry: apples last about two to four weeks
In the fridge: they should last you one or two months until you have to throw them out.
Can you whole freeze apples?
You can freeze whole apples but you’ll end up with mushier apples once you thaw them out due to how much longer it takes to freeze all the way through. Plus, they are more difficult to work with after they’ve been frozen. Whole apples will also take up more space in your freezer and be harder to fit in storage bags, or vacuum sealed bags.
To freeze apple slices, there’s some work you gotta do to prep them for freezing, and you should know it’s not going to taste or feel the exact same way as fresh, unfrozen ones, but it’s better than having to waste apples you otherwise couldn’t finish in time.
Since the texture of the apple changes, good uses for them after thawing out are smooth applesauce, fruit smoothies, syrups, or pies.
Can you freeze apples with the skin on?
Yes. There’s no issue with leaving the skin on. The only thing to consider is if you want to use them for something later on and decide you don’t want the skins on, it’s much more work to peel many individual slices later, than peeling a whole apple before freezing.
Do you have to peel the apples before freezing?
No. You don’t have to peel apples before freezing. You can freeze both sliced and whole apples with the skins on without it changing anything.
If you’re undecided if you want skins later, feel free to leave them on.
Can you freeze stewed apples?
Yes. If you prefer to stew a big batch of apples for things like pie filling, you can definitely freeze the stewed apples afterwards.
Since they’re soft when stewed, you can squeeze and arrange the apples tighter before you vacuum seal them for freezing. This way they’ll be flatter, and more compact in the freezer.
How long do frozen apples last?
For the best quality, about one year. If the apples are stored properly the entire time at 0 °F, vacuum sealed, it will be safe to eat indefinitely even if the quality changes over time. Even if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, apples will still last a long time! They’ll keep for about 6 months in the freezer when stored properly.
How To Freeze Apples
- 6 apples
- 4 c water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 half or quarter aluminum sheet pan
- 1-2 kitchen towels or parchment sheets
- Wash your apples, and prep a big bowl with the water and lemon juice mixture.
- Peel the apples. This is optional and won't affect the quality of the frozen apples.
- Slice and core the apples, and drop the slices in the bowl of water as you go to prevent the apples from browning.
- Soak all the apple slices for 5 minutes before transferring to the sheet pans lined with towels or parchment.
- Freeze for 3-4 hours until completely frozen all the way through.
- Transfer to silicone bags, or vacuum seal. Mark dates on them with a marker and put in the freezer for longterm storage.