Sixteen Ways We Preserve Apples

Sixteen ways we preserve apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away according to traditional wisdom and a famous old Irish proverb. Here in Canada’s Maritimes we get plenty of apples in our diet, much of it free or really cheap. There’s an abundance of wild, random apples trees growing along roadsides, in farm hedges, gardens and deep in the forest. They aren’t perfect apples like the ones you get in the grocery store but we make a lot of delicious products with them.

Did you know there are over 7500 different varieties of apples grown across the world or that apples are part of the rose family?

Orchard Rejects & Wild Apples

This year we changed things up a bit and rather than foraging for apples we bought five bushels of “orchard reject” apples for CAD $12 a Bushel. A good percentage of apples grown at orchards won’t meet today’s commercial and silly specification guidelines (I read that sometimes 40% of an orchards apples don’t pass). If you ask around and get lucky you can buy these apples from an orchard for a very fair price.

The Value Of Preserving Your Own Food

What did we get out of five bushels (approximately 250lb of apples)? We got about 94 jars of food & drink plus two gallons of apple cider vinegar and one gallon of hard apple cider. I think that is a pretty good return on a $60 investment  in apples. If  we add the cost for sugar, vinegar and some dried fruit it still cost less than $0.85 cents per jar. (Canadian cents I might add!!)

Sixteen Ways We Preserve Apples: The Recipes 

The beauty of apples is that you can squeeze a lot out of each apple. The apples left over from making juice go into making apple butter or sauce. The scraps and cores go into making apple cider vinegar and pectin. Each year the list of what we make from apples is a bit different. This year we made hard apple cider and last year we made apple wine, which we still have plenty of because it takes about a year to mature. Here is a list of recipes that we have tried and like!


Apple Wine Recipe

Wild crafted wines are really fun to make and to get started you really don’t need  fancy equipment. You will need a glass carboy or demijohn(s), wine yeast and some tubing to siphon. For the rest you can usually  manage quite well with things you have in the kitchen already.

Hard Apple Cider Recipe

We dusted off our old juicer to make the apple cider. An apple press would certainly be nice and if you are thinking you might want to make apple cider long term it’s a worthwhile investment to make. You do need some way to press the juice out of the apples to make cider (both hard and soft). It is also good to keep in mind that if you are new to fermented beverages, you can reuse pop bottles to store your finished cider. It can be much easier to notice and release some of the gasses when they build up in plastic. Sometimes when I forget to release the gasses I get a not so subtle reminder in the way of  exploding bottles in pantry and it’s no fun having to handle the remaining “bottle bombs”.

Apple Shrub (Drinking Vinegars)

Drinking vinegars are a sweet vinegar based syrup that you can mix with bubbly water, wine or alcohol to make a delicious and refreshing drink. They can also be quite medicinal (sans the booze).

Apple Juice

We make our apple juice the old fashioned way: chopped apples steeped in boiling water. It’s easy and we can make a lot in one go. I have a steam juicer and it works great at extracting juice. When making large volumes I do find it to be too time consuming but some people would say the opposite. It is worth investigating! This recipe is for the good old fashioned method of making juice (and yes we do pasteurize, just to be safe.)

Apple Cider

To make cider you will need some way to crush and squeeze the juice out of the apples. We haven’t got an apple press so for now we use a juicer. Apple cider can be canned or it can be frozen in plastic jugs (leave some head space though!) You can also make apple butter using the strained out pulp. Keep in mind that canning raw apple cider will kill some of the nutritional benefits. It is better to freeze the juice if this is of concern to you.


Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Buying raw apple cider vinegar with mother can be expensive. Fortunately you can make your own easily and no special equipment  or ingredients are required. Once you have made ACV you can make all kinds of other great vinegar products including  wine vinegars.

Apple Pectin (To set your jams and Jellies)

Some jams and jellies need a little pectin to help them set. All you need is water and tart apples (crab apples work great) to make your own chemical and preservative free pectin.

Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is easy to make and you don’t need to sweeten it with sugar.  We chop our apples up and make apple juice first and then make apple sauce once we’ve strained out the juice from the pot.  You will need a food mill or a chinois strainer to separate the skin and the core/seeds from the sauce.

Apple Butter

Apple butter is made by reducing and adding spices to apple sauce! These instructions show you how to make the sauce but you can skip past that to remaining instructions if you already have the soft apples from making juice.

Apple Jelly

This simple apple jelly recipe comes from my favourite book “Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber“. I am a big fan of her recipes and techniques. If you want to learn more you might like reading: Simple Techniques for Creating Artisan Jams & Jellies

Apple & Fig Chutney

A fantastic addition to a cheese plate, chutney also pairs well with roast meats. We use an assortment of apples and it always turns out delicious.

Home Canned Mincemeat

Good old fashioned mincemeat pies are a family tradition around the holidays. It’s a bit time consuming to make but it is a great item for holiday gift giving. This recipe from Healthy Canning uses apples!

Apple Pie Filling

Apple pie filling is a quick and easy way to have dessert on the table. It’s great served with scones or ice cream or in a pie as it was intended for. You will need some clear gel to make this recipe (corn starch and tapioca have been deemed no-no’s for canning). Alternatively, can it without and add a thickener when you are serving it.

Other Ways To Preserve Apples

Dehydrated Apple Chips

Dehydrated apple chips are a tasty and convenient snack food. To make you slice apples thin and soak them in a lemon juice solution to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. You can add seasoning’s like sugar, cinnamon or nutmeg or dehydrate them plain.

Dehydrated  Fruit Leather

We make a lot of apple sauce and turn it into fruit leather over the winter. Sometimes I will infuse the jars of sauce with a spring of mint or spices like: nutmeg and cinnamon before sealing the jars.  Mint-apple fruit leather might sound like an odd combination but it’s tasty.

Frozen Apple slices

Food that has moisture such as berries or apple slices can stick together in clumps when frozen. To prevent this I lay them out on cookie sheets and freeze them for a few hours (until they are firm) before transferring them to freezer bags. I also use a vacuum sealer to keep the fruit fresh tasting and prevent freezer burn.

Pig Feed

This isn’t preserving related but  if you raise your own pigs don’t forget to gather apples for them! They LOVE apples and apple finished pork is alleged to be superior! The scraps left over from preserving are also great for them.

Products you may find helpful with these recipes



2 thoughts on “Sixteen Ways We Preserve Apples

  1. Louise Houghton says:

    I was gifted so many apples this year so I have made Dorset apple cake x 3, bottled some in syrup, made crumbles, apple sauce and stewed some along with using them in chutnies which I LOVE . I was going to make some apple vodka for Christmas but not managed to do so yet. There may still be time. Great post!

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