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Freezing Apples Is Easy – for Aug. 26, 2010

There are many different apple varieties and many ways to use them, but they should be refrigerated if not used soon after picking. Cool air keeps apples juicy and crisp, but apples stored at room temperature deteriorate 10 times faster than refrigerated ones. Refrigerate apples in plastic bags with small air holes. Do not place them close to foods with strong odours since the odour may be picked up by the apples.

Wash apples before eating or preserving. To wash, rub each apple under running water or use a clean, soft scrub brush, and dry it with a clean paper towel. Washing apples in a sink filled with water is not recommended since standing water can spread contamination from one apple to another. Cover and refrigerate sliced apples if they are not eaten within two hours of preparation. This reduces browning and maintains quality and safety.

Freezing, when done safely and properly, is one of the easiest methods of food preservation. Begin with apples that are crisp and firm, not mealy in texture. These are usually the varieties listed as good for pie.

Start with high-quality apples without any signs of decay. Do not preserve “fallen” apples (fruit that has blown off the tree) because they are more likely to contain mould spores, which can result in spoilage of the preserved products.

Frozen apples keep better texture and flavour if they are packed in sugar or a sugar syrup. However, you can freeze unsweetened apple slices if you are going to cook or bake them in pies or cobblers. One option for freezing is “tray freezing” individual slices. To freeze apple slices:

Slice apples to desired thickness.

To prevent browning, treat them. The most common treatment is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Ascorbic acid may be used in its pure form or in commercial mixtures. Placing apples in lemon juice solutions or in sugar syrup works; however, these methods are not as effective as treatment with ascorbic acid.

Freeze apple slices in a single layer

on a metal baking sheet until frozen

(two to three hours). Transfer frozen apple slices to a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag. The apples will remain separated which makes it easy to measure out for recipes. Pour out the amount of frozen apple slices needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.

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