Freezing tends to soften apple texture, so use firm-fleshed cooking apple varieties suitable for pie and freeze them shortly after harvesting. Apples that have been in storage for long periods may darken more quickly after freezing. Frozen apples may be stored one year or longer at zero degrees.
Three ways to freeze apples include:
-- Peel apples, core and cut into pie slices. To prevent darkening, soak for five minutes in a solution of one teaspoon sodium bisulfite dissolved in one gallon cold water, use glass, earthenware, stainless steel or enamel container. Two ounces of sodium bisulfite will treat seven bushels of apples. Do not use sodium bisulfide or sodium sulfate. After a five-minute dip, drain slices. Pack in sugar using one pound sugar to five to seven pounds apple slices, or one cup sugar to 10 to 12 cups apple slices. Sprinkle sugar evenly over slices and let stand until sugar dissolves in fruit juices. Stir gently to coat each slice with sugar. Fill container, seal, label, date and freeze.
If sodium bisulfite cannot be found at a drug store, use an ascorbic acid powder sold in supermarkets to prevent browning of fruit. Follow package directions, then pack slices in sugar as directed above.
-- Peel and slice apples; soak in a weak brine solution for 15 minutes, 1/2 cup salt to one gallon water. Drain and pack in freezer containers. Cover with sugar syrup, one cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid dissolved in quart cold water. The ascorbic acid helps keep apples from darkening. Seal, label, date and freeze.
-- If apples are in perfect condition and if there is freezer room, apples may be frozen whole. Wash but do not peel, pack in six to eight apples in a plastic bag. Label, date and freeze. Do not thaw. Run cold water over each apple and peel while still frozen; use immediately for pie or other cooked desserts. These apples will darken quickly if you thaw them.
For more information, contact the University of Minnesota Extension Service, Cass County, at (218) 587-8280 or toll free at 866-587-8281.
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