Sally Kuzemchak from our Kitchen Council is sharing four easy steps to freeze apples so that you have them on hand for smoothies, pies and much more!

Lots of people keep frozen fruit on hand, like blueberries for pancakes and strawberries for smoothies. But did you know that you can also freeze apples? Having bags of frozen apples in your freezer means that you’re ready for pies, applesauce, cobblers, and crisps—and half the work is already done for you!

Freezing apples also lets you capture and preserve that fresh-picked flavor. It’s especially smart if your favorite variety has a shorter in-season window, such as Stemilt’s SweeTango® and Ambrosia. Tuck them away when they’re at their peak and you can enjoy the taste for months to come.

Here’s how to freeze apples:

Step 1: Peel, core, and slice the apples. I like using this old-fashioned peeler/corer, which speeds up the job and results in nice uniform slices (and my kids think it’s fun to use too—which means free labor!).

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Step 2: Dip your sliced apples in a mixture of water and fresh lemon juice to prevent browning. Use about a tablespoon of lemon juice in a quart of water.

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Step 3: Lay apple slices on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the apples are frozen, about 1-2 hours. Freezing the slices before bagging them up means they won’t stick together.

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Step 4: Remove slices from the baking sheet and place in labeled freezer bags, removing as much air as possible from the bag before closing to prevent freezer burn. Place bags in the freezer until ready to use. Tip: Freeze apples in the quantities you need for your favorite recipes.

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You can also go one step further and freeze prepared apple pie filling. Just follow the first two steps above, then combine the apples with flour, sugar, cinnamon and other dry ingredients from your favorite pie recipe. When you want to make a pie, pull the filling from the freezer and thaw completely, then spoon the mixture right into your crust to bake.

To get the best quality, use your frozen apples or frozen pie filling within six months.

Happy freezing!