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11 Ways of Preserving Fall Apples

Fall apples are an abundant and sweet batch of apples that are just begging to be preserved so they can sustain you until the coming year. Here are ways how.

A close look at a cluster of ripe apples in the tree.

Bring out your Ugg boots people, fall is upon us! Everybody says that summer is their favorite season, but once it comes time to wrap that new soft scarf around your neck and sip on the first of thousands of pumpkin spice lattes, you’ll be saying to yourself “yeah.. fall is the best season”. Yeah, you always knew that silly.

Y’know what else is great about fall? APPLES. Billions and dillions of apples to be plucked, eaten, sauced, cidered, jellied. If you’ve recently been apple picking or are lucky enough to have apple trees in your yard, you will quickly realize there are more apples than you probably know what to do with.

Fear not! Today we have compiled a list of 11 different ways to preserve those lovely red or green orbs so that you can keep feeling that fall juju all the way through the horrendous winter days that are upon us.

Related: Apple Trees | Apple Pie Recipe | Types of Apples | Fermentation | Methods of Food Preservation

The Apple Train is Approaching Preservation Station!

Forgive me, I’ve really been getting into the fall spirit lately (have you ever been to Colorado when the Aspens are changing colors? It is truly a natural marvel).

Apples are a great item to experiment with preserving. They have a naturally high sugar content coupled with high acidity, making them the perfect candidate for pickling, boiling, canning, drying, you name it!

A close look at an orchard of apples ready for harvest.

One single apple tree can produce up to 30 bushels of apples a year, each bushel being around 40 pounds. That is a truly absurd amount of apples, and your teeth will sooner crumble than chew on all of those.

Preserving apples has been around for hundreds of years, as certain types of apples can last up to a full year in the right temperature of a root cellar! Isn’t that wild? This started out as a way of survival, far before supermarkets and refrigerators were a thing. Although all of these methods have been around for some time, people can get mega creative with apple preservation.

1. Toss em’ in a Root Cellar!

If you don’t actually have a root cellar, keeping apples in a dry closet or even on your stairwell can extend their lifetime. Certain apples are better for cold storage than others, and newton pippins tend to be most successful.

A bunch of ripe apples in a wooden cart.

A couple of tricks to ensure they last as long as possible:

  • pick your apples as late as possible in the season
  • make sure you look through the batch and remove any apple that is bruising or rotting. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, as the saying goes
  • wrap them up individually in newspaper and store them in a wooden box or wicker basket (for quality aeration)

2. Stick em’ in a Tree

A bunch of apples in a rustic sack.

Apparently, folks who lived in colder climates used to keep their apples right in their home! Picking apples them keeping them in a cloth or canvas bag and hung in a tree, acts as a refrigerator. The bag allows enough airflow without them being subject to pests, and as the weather gets colder, the longer they’ll stay ready to eat.

3. Dehydrate them to Smithereens!

A bowl full of dehydrated apple slices.

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve almost anything, and people have been using the sun’s rays to achieve this for many thousands of years. After that, a quicker way to dehydrate something would be to use a wood stove.

You can also dehydrate your apples in the oven. Just slice them quite thin, and prop the oven door open to ensure airflow. This does require quite a bit of energy for a long time, so maybe taking the extra time to passively dry them outside would be worth it!

Then there’s always the option of getting a commercial dehydrator. These things are incredible, and you can be chewing on apple rings in just a couple of hours.

4. Who Doesn’t Love Syrup?

A couple of apple slices and a jar of honey.

Apple syrup? Yes, please! This method takes a little bit more effort, but once you’ve tried apple syrup there really is no going back.

It’s highly recommended to try this type of preservation if you have a juicer. I don’t think any of us are strong enough to juice apples by hand (except for maybe that guy from Guardians of the Galaxy).

Syrup is really simple to make! All that needs to be done is a bunch of apple-juicing, then take all of that juice and boil it down on low heat for quite a long time (no lid), until the texture resembles a syrup.

5. Put those Mason Jars to Good Use and Get Canning

A couple of jars of preserved apple and berry.

The method of canning as apple preservation is super easy, and it’s also a great gift to give your friend when they’re born too close to Christmas and you totally forgot it was their birthday and had no time to get them a gift so you went into your pantry and you were like “oh thank god I preserved all of these apples to I could give a couple of jars to Marty and single-handedly save our friendship”.

All you have to do is peel some apples, and fill a mason jar with some sort of syrup (maybe even that apple syrup you just made with that guy from Guardians of the Galaxy!) and they can sit on a shelf in your pantry until Marty’s birthday.

6. You Can Make Anything into Butter!

A jar of apple butter cinnamon jam.

Why haven’t they made pecan butter yet? That would be delicious.

Thanks to the high sugar content of apples, if you cook them for a super long time, it will eventually turn into a kind of caramel. Conveniently enough, their high acidity also makes it so that apple butter doesn’t even need to be refrigerated after the jar is opened.

Peel, core, and dice your apples. If you have a crockpot, toss them in there and wait a few hours. The idea is to slow cook them for hours (sometimes even days) until a super thick, rich, and sweet spread is created. The sugar caramelizes with the heat and turns into a delectable sugary spread that will last you all winter long.

7. Can you Make a Belt Out of Fruit Leathers?

A row of crispy apple fruit roll up.

I mean you could, but that’s such a weird question to ask.

Fruit leathers can be made with that delectable apple butter you just scooped out of your crockpot. All you need to do is spread it into thin sheets, and use that dehydration method we just talked about (remember? Preservation method #3?)

I recently had an apple fruit leather with lavender in it, and it changed my life. 10/10 would recommend.

8. Who Doesn’t Love Applesauce?

A jar of apple sauce at a rustic setting.

Here’s a story for you. I once painted the home of a lovely young couple, and the wife was pregnant with triplets! That is something you don’t come across very often. She was in her final trimester in the fall and spent her days just turning apples into apple sauce.

She very graciously gave me a few jars of this apple sauce, and I kid you not, I could taste the maternity. Every person that came to my house to try this apple sauce had their life altered by its deliciousness.

I wish I could provide you that recipe, but no mere human can recreate that level of decadence.

Apple sauce is NOT reserved for children and people with food poisoning. It is healthy, sweet, and makes for a great midnight snack. Call your grandma and ask for her recipe, toss some weird and unique spices in there (cumin? Turmeric? Curry spice?).

9. Well Aren’t You Just an All American Slice of Apple Pie

A freshly baked apple pie on a wooden table.

I shouldn’t really need to tell you why you should make apple pies.

(But you should make like a dozen and freeze them.)


10. Pickles Aren’t the Only Thing that Can Be Pickled

A jar of pickled apples in vinegar.

Like we learned before, apples are highly acidic! Even more so than cucumber, so you need a significantly smaller amount of vinegar to pickle them. That way the flavor won’t be overwhelmingly vinegar-y, and you can get creative with how you’d like to flavor them!

You can make a more savory pickled apple, maybe even get some chili and limes in there and create a great garnish for some tacos. Take some inspiration from chutneys and get some Indian curry spices up in there.

11. Now You Didn’t Actually Think I Would Forget About Cider?

A close look at hard apple cider with a bunch of fresh apples.

Okay here is my last story of the day.

An old friend of mine decided to make a giant batch of hard cider. He went apple picking, picked as many apples as would fit in his truck, juiced them, put the juice in a giant glass jug (we’re talking gallons here), introduced a little yeast, and plugged up the jug.

Every time I would go to his house we would check on the cider. We would check the temperature, the carbonation level, the alcohol content (this is what fermentation is!), and after about 4 months of delicate adjusting and diligent monitoring, the cider was finally ready!

We cleaned out a bunch of old soda bottles and removed their labels. When everything was all said and done, my friend picked up the giant jug of cider to start feeding it into the smaller bottles. He walked about 2 steps, dropped the jug, and about 8 gallons of fresh cider flooded the entire garage.

What’s the lesson to be learned here? Be as chill as my friend. After the cider was finished washing all of our feet, he looked up and said “well, that’s that I guess”.