Well, it’s apple picking season in Maine, and in many other areas of the country too. For many this is a time to pick a local orchard, pack up the family or friends, and have a wonderful excursion. I like going to apple orchards too, but I have no excuse to pick because we have more apples than we can handle coming from our own trees at the Parris House. I have to settle for the cider and donuts at commercial orchards.
Earlier this week my husband, Bill, and I did some apple picking. We by no means got all of them, but we got a good first haul. He does the ladder picking; I do the lower branches.
We have an apple peeler thingee from Pampered Chef. It’s not quite as robust as the ones I see in the Lehman’s catalog, but it does ok. Bill is the apple peeler guy. This peeler also has an attachment to spiral cut the apples, but we use that for when we want to cook them down for applesauce.
Next, I cut and core the apples using another handy dandy Pampered Chef tool, but you can get these from a variety of suppliers as well. I just got invited to a lot of Pampered Chef parties at one point in my life. Also, I do not look thrilled in this photo. I think I was saying, “No…take a picture of just the apple slicer…”
As you’re cutting and coring, throw your apple slices in to a solution of 1 quarter cup salt to 1 gallon of water. You can also add a little lemon juice if you like. Both the salt and the lemon juice help to keep the apples from discoloring.
Once you have the solution pot just about to the point where you can’t add any more apples and still coat them, drain the apples in a colander and then start measuring them for your freezer bags. We put about two pounds in to each gallon freezer bag this morning. I like a lot of apples in my pies and cakes, plus two pounds is a nice manageable amount for other recipes.
We do not have a vacuum sealer. That is on my wish list along with a pressure canner and a cider press. However, we find that if you use a straw to suck all the air out of your bags and then quickly (as in instantly) pull the straw out and seal the bags, it works well. Not as well as a vacuum sealer, but pretty well. I’ve had apples keep a very long time in the freezer using this method – like two years.
If you know you are using your apples for pies, you can certainly freeze them with the sugar, spices, and flour already tossed on. Because I use these apples for a wide variety of recipes, I freeze them plain. This is also the quickest and simplest way to preserve them.
We froze eighteen pounds of apples this morning (with many more to go) and I have about another eight pounds simmering on the stove for applesauce. If you’d like a tutorial for making applesauce, please see my blog post from 2013, HERE, from our “How To” tab.
Happy picking and happy hooking! – Beth