Preserving Apples

applesI know you all thought that October’s Can Jam would be apples, which, of course, would have been wonderful, since I still have 20 lbs in the garage awaiting preservation. Some were thrilled with my pick of chiles (although none more than I!) while others, not so much. As a consolation prize of sorts, I’ve done my own round-up of apple preserving recipes, tips & techniques (just in time for apple season to be over here in the Northeast. Don’t say I never gave you anything.).

Have a great apple recipe to share? Shout it out in the comments below!

applesPreserving Apples


Basics: Store apples for months in a cold (32 – 40 degrees F), preferably humid (80 – 90% rh) spot, either in a refrigerator, a root cellar, or even a basement or garage.

Details: Some apple types keep better than others: lists abound on the Interwebs but I find they are no substitute for personal experience (for instance, Stayman-Winesaps are rumored to be excellent keepers, but mine did not last a month). Apples need air circulation (so don’t bury them in woodchips or sand, like you might for potatoes & onions) and a bad apple will quickly spoil the bunch, so check through them regularly. Last year I stored apples from the end of October to the end of February; granted, they were quite wrinkly by then, but still tasty in chutney.


Basics: Core, peel and slice apples for their intended use (pie, for example); toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Pile into a Ziploc bag if you don’t mind them sticking together a bit upon freezing; otherwise individually quick-freeze slices, spread out on a plate or tray in the freezer, then pile into a bag once frozen. Alternatively you can freeze prepared pie filling or applesauce (I have made pies from frozen apple pie filling and I think that canned pie filling works better; freezing the apples breaks the cellular structure of the fruit, releasing more juice once the apples thaw, and seems to make for a very soggy pie). You can also freeze apple “leavings” (the cores and peels leftover from various recipes) until you gather enough for a batch of apple pectin stock.


Basics:  Wash, core and slice apples,  laying slices individually, without touching, on the trays of a dehydrator, or on baking sheets. Dry in the dehydrator at 135 degrees F for 12-18 hours, or in your oven as low as it will go (range is usually 150 – 200 degrees F) and start checking at 8 hours. Store in airtight containers for up to 1 year.

Details: I like my dried apples unpeeled; you can peel them if you like. I also do not treat to prevent browning; they only brown slightly while drying, and it is not unappealing. This is certainly the easiest way to preserve apples and they last quite a long time; I’m just now using the last of the fall’s 110 lb harvest (perfect timing if I do say so myself) and while they have softened a bit over a year’s storage in Ziploc bags, they are just as tasty as they were last November. How dry you make them is a matter of preference, but the drier they are, the longer they will store; I dry mine until they are leathery, but still flexible, and they last at least a year.

Use: In homemade granola, in muffins, quickbreads or scones, rehydrated in a marinade or dressing, or solo as a snack. Also, I am always surprised by how much people love these as a gift; so simple, yet people consistently ask for more.



You can, of course, also ferment apple juice into apple wine and apple cider into hard cider (I just haven’t attempted this yet. Oh, but when I get an apple tree with actual, reachable fruit – watch out!)





  1. thank you!!!! we are still getting about 10 lbs a week here and i can’t eat them fast enough- so far there is about 15 qts of applesauce in the pantry; 2 qts of dried; one pie in the freezer; 4 pints of pie filling in freezer; 5 pints of apple preserves (which taste just like pie filling) in the pantry and about a million apples whole on the counter!

  2. Ann

    Almost a year late but this is JUST what I’ve been looking for! I’ve a garden full of apples to store – though I tend to leave lots for the birds to eat over the winter. I usually just store somewhere cool and dark but hate how lots end up being thrown away when they go brown. Thanks so much!

  3. Margaret

    Love this blog post – I know I’m a couple of years late but I’ve just found it. We’re in the southern hemisphere and so our apple season is now well under way and I now know what to do with all the apples from my tree. Thanks.

  4. Leslie

    Recently found your blog and I’m so happy I have! It has fabulous recipes and such a lot of great information. I was wondering how thin you slice your apples for drying. I’ve never made them but would like to this weekend. Thanks!

    • Hi Leslie,

      Thanks for the kind words! As for the apples, I usually go just a bit smaller than 1/4-inch, but it doesn’t matter all that much; if you slice them quite thin, they will dry more quickly to a crisp texture. If you leave them thicker, they take longer to dry, but maintain a softer, leathery texture once dry.

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