Apple and pear season is over around these parts, but 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.
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.
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! I’ve been using them in dessert recipes, without the slightest hint of saltiness. Baked apples is 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?