Apple and pear season is over around these parts. It’d be a shame to waste a good portion of the harvest to bugs, ants and bacteria…
So what can you possibly do with them? Is freezing apples and pears a good idea?
Yes, you can safely freeze apples and pears of any variety (preferably ripe), and many other types of fruit, which should last around 6 months in the freezer.
That being said, I figured I’d share how I froze a bunch of these fruits this fall, while it’s still fresh in my mind! I would have preferred to turn them into sauces, jellies/preserves, or pie filling to can, but this is the reality of a busy mom. Sometimes, it just doesn’t get done.
Can You Freeze Raw Apples and Pears?
The cool thing about freezing fruit is that you can save them to can another day. Or, you have the makings of a quick dessert at your fingertips.
There are a few different ways to freeze aples and pears, including flash freezing on a baking sheet and freezing in jars.
I’ll walk you through boht methods below!
The canning books all tell you to put your fruit in a bowl of cold water with either lemon juice or Fruit Fresh to keep them from turning brown as you work.
However, this has never really worked for me. They always turn a little brown regardless. Plus, I hate depending on a product like Fruit Fresh.
As you can imagine, I was excited when I learned a different trick to keep my fruit from browning!
One day about a month ago, my husband, my children, and I took a drive to the mountains for a scenic day-trip. We had stopped for lunch at a quaint little country restaurant.
As we walked into the small diner, a steady hum of silverware clanking and people chatting greeted us. The kids and I took our seats at a table in the corner of the small room while my husband went to the counter to order our food.
I smiled at the older couple who sat in the booth next to us, and noticed that the gentleman sported a handgun on his hip, which instantly made me feel safer.
They asked if we were from around there, as if they already knew we were outsiders in their small town. I shared that we’d driven up for a visit to some of the old, historic homes.
Somehow we got to talking about their property, and the nice lady began telling me about the fruit trees she has around her home- a dozen or so apple and pear trees. I had to stop her to ask if she cans her fruit.
She confided that she doesn’t do much canning anymore, but that she usually freezes her fruits instead. I was intrigued, and asked her how she does it. She brightened at this youngster showing interest in preserving food, and generously shared her secret.
She explained that as she grew up, she was always taught to soak the fruit in salt water as she cut it to keep it from turning brown. But then all of the canning books changed, and started recommending lemon juice or Fruit Fresh.
She tried making the switch to this more up-to-date recommendation, but it never worked quite as well as the salt water did. So, she went back to her tried and true method, and has stayed with it ever since.
She doesn’t have any exact measurements or anything, but basically when she’s cutting up a large amount of fruit (apples and pears), she gets a very large bowl, fills it with cold water, and pours enough table salt into the bowl to cover the bottom with a pretty good layer.
When I did it, I swished the salt around a little to dissolve it a bit. As she cuts and peels the fruit, she drops it into the salty water to sit until the bowl is filled.
Next, she rinses the soaked fruit in cold water and drains it off before filling freezer bags with the still beautifully white fruit.
I was grateful for her advice, and told her I’d have to try that soon. And I did.
Not long after, I froze several gallons of sliced apples and pears using her salt soak method, and it worked perfectly. You’d never know these apples had sat out for a while before I put them in the freezer!
Nice and white!
How to Freeze Apples and Pears: Detailed Instructions
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to freeze apples and pears so you can enjoy them long after they’ve been picked.
Choose Your apples and pears carefully. Make sure to select apples and pears that are ripe but still firm. Avoid any that are bruised or have blemishes. Avoid fruits that have been treated with pesticides.
Wash the apples and pears thoroughly in several cups of water (you can add vinegar, if you’d like). Using a vegetable brush, scrub each fruit under cool running water. This will remove any dirt or debris that may be on the surface.
Peel and slice the apples and pears. Once they’re washed, use a paring knife to remove the skin from the fruit. Use a corner, slicer, and apple peeler to make your work a bit easier. Then, slice the apples and pears into bite-sized pieces.
One note here – you can also freeze whole apples, but I recommend peeling them first. This will make them easier to work with when they are thawed.
Place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once they’re all sliced, arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer. If they’re stacked on top of each other, they’ll freeze together in one big clump.
You can also line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent sticking.
Freeze for about 2 hours, or until solid. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let the fruit slices freeze for 2 hours, or until they’re solid.
Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to airtight containers or resealable bags for long-term storage.
If you’d like, rather than using a baking tray or cookie sheet to flash freeze your fruit, you can also freeze your fruit in jars.
This is a great idea if you want to make things like jam, syrup, or compote later on. If you do this, I recommend adding some ascorbic acid to your syrup mix.
There are lots of recipes online for various mixes – use the one that corresponds with the type of recipe you want to make, like apple pie filling or peach compote.
Once you’ve made the mix and ladled it into the jars with your fruit, add a teaspoon or so of acid to each jar so it prevents discoloration. Leave an inch of headspace in each jar to allow for expansion. Make sure you label the jars clearly.
Once thawed, you can use the frozen apples and pears in the pints of syrup for whatever recipes you desire!
So what’s the best way to thaw and use those frozen apples and pears?
You can generally use frozen apples and pears in any way you would normally use the fresh apples and pears. The one thing to keep in mind is to make sure to thaw your apples and pears in the refrigerator. This will help to preserve their flavor and texture.
Once they’re thawed, you can eat them as is, or use them in pies, cobblers, or other baked goods. Frozen apples and pears can also be added to smoothies or used to make sauces and compotes. Here are a few more ideas:
- Make an apple pie
- Use frozen pears or apples to make jellies and jams
- Bake cookies
- Use as an ice cream topping
- Make apple butter or applesauce
When cooking with frozen fruit, remember that it will release more liquid than fresh fruit, so you may need to adjust your recipe accordingly. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy the taste of fresh apples and pears all year long!
The great thing about freezing pears and apples and using them within six or months or so of freezing is that they retain most of their nutrients – even if some of the enzymes cause the fruits to discolor, they’ll still have all the fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients you care about most.
I’ve been using them in dessert recipes, without the slightest hint of saltiness. Baked apples are one of my favorites to make with my frozen apple slices. I freeze in portions that go along with my favorite recipes.
Do you prefer to freeze apples and pears? How do you keep your fruit from browning?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.