• When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown apples for the best quality and nutritional value. Determine when fresh apples are available where you live with this seasonal food guide.   

If this is your first time freezing or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Freezing Information before beginning.  

1. Selection & Ingredients

  • Select fresh, mature, ripe fruit. Do not use fruit that show signs of decay or mold.
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds full-flavored apples that are crisp and firm, not mealy in texture will yield approx. 1 quart 
  • Anti-darkening treatment 
    • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
    • Commercial ascorbic acid mixture (follow manufacturer’s directions for treating fruit) 
  • Sugar for sugar or syrup pack (optional) 
    • NOTE: Unsweetened, dry packed fruits will lose quality faster than those packed in sugar or syrup.

2. Equipment

  • Cooking pot (if using liquid pack method)
  • Colander
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler
  • Knife
  • Ruler/headspace tool
  • Use clean packing containers and materials that are moisture and vapor-proof/resistant:
  • Rigid containers (glass jars and hard plastic containers) are especially good for freezing foods with liquid. Covers for rigid containers should fit tightly.
    • Square or rectangular, straight-sided rigid plastic containers make the best use of freezer space.
    • Wide-mouth, dual-purpose glass jars made for canning and freezing are tempered to withstand extremes in temperature and allow for easier removal of partially-thawed foods.
    • Narrow-mouth dual-purpose glass jars can also be used but require greater headspace (to avoid expansion breakage at the shoulder) and foods must be completely thawed before removal.
  • Flexible bags or wrappings (plastic freezer bags, freezer paper and heavyweight aluminum foil) are best for freezing food products with little or no liquid.
    • Vacuum packaging removes more oxygen than other freezing methods (Refer to manufacturer's instructions.)

3. Prepare Equipment

  • Before use, wash containers in hot soapy water and rinse well. Dry.

4. Prepare Fruit

  • Thoroughly wash apples.
  • Peel and core. Slice medium apples into 1/12's; large apples into 1/16's. 

 5. Pack Fruit

  • Syrup pack is preferred for apples to be used for uncooked desserts or fruit cocktail.
  • Sugar or dry packs are good for pie making.

Choose one of the following packing methods:

Unsweetened (Dry) Pack-

  • To prevent darkening, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon (750 mg) ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup cold water for each quart of fruit. Sprinkle over the fruit.
    • If using commercial ascorbic acid mixture, follow manufacturer’s directions.
  • Pack apples into containers and press fruit down, leaving proper headspace for the container type (see Headspace table below).
  • Before sealing, make sure sealing edges are free of moisture or food.
    • If using flexible bags or wrap, remove as much air space as possible.
  • Seal.

Sugar (Liquid) Pack-

  • To prevent darkening, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon (750 mg) ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup cold water for each quart of fruit. Sprinkle over the fruit.
    • If using commercial ascorbic acid mixture, follow manufacturer’s directions.
  • Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 quart sliced fruit. 
  • Pack apples into containers and press fruit down, leaving proper headspace for the container type (see Headspace table below). 
  • Before sealing, make sure sealing edges are free of moisture or food.
      • If using rigid containers, place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down.
      • If using flexible bags, remove as much air space as possible.
  • Seal.

Syrup (Liquid) Pack-

  • A 30% sugar syrup is recommended for most fruits.
    • Lighter syrups (10-20%) are lower in calories and desirable for mild-flavored fruits, such as melons.
    • Heavier syrups (40-50%) may be needed for very sour fruits. 
    • Plan for 1/2 to 2/3 cup syrup for each pint of fruit.
  • To make the syrup, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear.
    • Cool syrup before using. (Syrup can also be prepared the day before and refrigerated until ready to use.) 
    • To prevent browning, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of cooled syrup. 
      • If using commercial ascorbic acid mixture, follow manufacturer’s directions.
  • Add 1/2 cup syrup to each pint container/1 cup syrup to each quart container.
  • Press fruit down in containers and add enough syrup to cover.
  • Leave proper headspace for the container type (see Headspace table below).
    • If using rigid containers, place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down.
    • If using flexible bags, remove as much air space as possible.
  • Before sealing, make sure sealing edges are free of moisture or food.
  • Close and carefully seal the container. 
Sugar Syrup Recipes
% Syrup Sugar (cups) Water (cups) Yield              (cups syrup)
10 1/2 4 4 1/2
20 1 4 4 3/4
30 1 3/4 4 5
40 2 3/4 4 5 1/3
50 4 4 6

 

Headspace for Packing Frozen Fruit

Type of Pack

Container with wide top opening

Container with narrow top opening

Flexible bags and wraps

 

Pint

Quart

Pint

Quart

Any Size

Liquid Pack

½-inch

1-inch

¾-inch

1 ½-inches

Remove as much air as possible

Dry Pack

½-inch

½-inch

½-inch

½-inch

Remove as much air as possible

 

6. Store

  • Freeze as quickly as possible to 0°F or below.
    • For quickest freezing, place containers in single layer in freezer.
  • Label containers with the name of food, date, and type of pack.
  • Most fruits will maintain high quality for 8-12 months at 0°F or below.

 

Recipes

1. Selection & Ingredients

  • Select fresh, mature, firm fruit. Do not use fruit that show signs of decay or mold.
  • Use 2 ½-3 ½ pounds apples per quart container of applesauce.
  • Sugar (optional)

2. Equipment

  • Large cooking pot with lid
  • Fruit masher or food processor
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Clean packing containers and materials that are moisture and vapor-proof/resistant:
    • Rigid containers (glass jars and hard plastic containers) are especially good for freezing foods with liquid. Covers for rigid containers should fit tightly.
      • Square or rectangular, straight-sided rigid plastic containers make the best use of freezer space.
      • Wide-mouth, dual-purpose glass jars made for canning and freezing are tempered to withstand extremes in temperature and allow for easier removal of partially-thawed foods.
      • Narrow-mouth dual-purpose glass jars can also be used but require greater headspace (to avoid expansion breakage at the shoulder) and foods must be completely thawed before removal.
    • Flexible bags or wrappings (plastic freezer bags, freezer paper and heavyweight aluminum foil) are best for freezing food products with little or no liquid.
      • Vacuum packaging removes more oxygen than other freezing methods (Refer to manufacturer's instructions.)

3. Prepare Equipment 

  • Before use, wash containers in hot soapy water and rinse well. Dry.

4. Prepare Fruit 

  • Thoroughly wash apples.
  • Peel, core, and slice fruit.
  • In  a large cooking pot, add 1/3 cup water to each 4 cups of slices.
  • Sweeten to taste with 1/4-3/4 cup sugar per quart of sauce (optional).
  • Cook until tender. 
  • Mash with fruit masher or puree in a food processor to create sauce.  
  • Cool. 

5. Pack Fruit

  • Sweeten to taste with 1/4-3/4 cup sugar per quart of sauce.
  • Pack into containers.
  • Leave ½ -1 ½ inch headspace depending on the size of the container (see Headspace table below).
  • Before sealing, make sure sealing edges are free of moisture or food.

 

Headspace for Freezing Fruits
Type of Pack Container with wide-top opening Container with narrow-top opening
  Pint Quart Pint Quart
Liquid Pack 1/2 inch 1 inch 3/4 inch 1 1/2 inch

 

6. Storage

  • Label with the name of food, date, and type of pack.
  • Freeze packaged applesauace as quickly as possible to 0°F or below.
    • For quickest freezing, place containers in single layers in freezer.
  • Most fruits will maintain high quality for 8-12 months at 0°F or below.

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