How To Freeze Apples and Pears

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.

how to freeze apples and pears

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!

how to freeze pears

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?

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles
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.

108 Comments

  1. Love your site. I do salt cold salt water for when I peel potatoes.
    They never turn brown.
    Am anxious to try it for the pears so I can make my Pear Bread.
    Thanks!!!
    Barbara R. Largo Fl.

  2. I tried this with apples the other day. They look beautiful but they taste salty. I wanted to thaw them for fresh eating (kids lunches) this winter. Anyone had success with eating them fresh? Should I just toss with a tbl of sugar once thawed? Thanks!

  3. I soaked sliced apples in salt water and froze. I did not rinse and they are a little too salty. Would rinsing them after they’ve been frozen work?

  4. I’m trying to use them for a teething baby. Do you know if this method would be better or if I should use the pineapple or lemon juice.

  5. I put my fresh fruit in Pineapple juice, then drain them and put into freezer bags. This is the same way I do my fruit for drying. Makes the flavor so much better. You can use the pineapple juice over and over until it gets too thick looking and then start over with a new can of pineapple juice. The fruit stays beautiful.

    • Kelsey,
      You know, I haven’t tried making jam from frozen apples. I feel like it probably wouldn’t work well, but I’d love to know if anyone tries it!

  6. Hi! I was wondering how long the apples last in the freezer? Also if I freeze them is it okay to make baby food with them after they thaw? Thanks!

  7. thanks! I read this an tried it about this time last year. I have a few more batches of apples and pears to use up a year later and they still look like I just scliced them! My lemon batch turned brown in the freezer. Sticking with the salt!
    Happy Canning/Freezing!

  8. Thank You so much for this information. I have two pear trees. One sweet and one crisp. They both make an unbelievable amount of fruit and I’ve always wanted to figure out how to preserve them for winter. I own a small home so I don’t have a ton of space for cans and I generally don’t care for canned foods.

    Sooo…I’m going to use this method today!! Yay!!

    I’m going to try flash freezing them on a cookie sheet so I can easily decide how many to use later so wish me luck…

  9. I freeze pears and apples each fall from our own fruit trees. We peel, slice then I rinse the raw fruit in a bath of water and Balls brand FRUIT FRESH solution/citric acid, Found in canning supplys.

    Fruit stays nice and white with no problems of added flavours. I do not rinse the canning solution off before placing in zipped bags to freeze.

  10. Any help…I froze the pears peeled and chopped, but after defrosting to use in a pear cake recipe, they are very mushy, hardly any solid chunks. Maybe the were too ripe? Thanks for any hints on what to do with them now!

  11. I tried this method you described above,,,, terrible idea YUCK! I ruined a whole batch of delicious pears. Now I had to go to the store and buy fresh pears in season and go back to the old tried and true method of using lemon recipe. Which by the way works great.

    • Interesting that it didn’t work for you! Maybe it depends on the type of pears? I’ve never had a problem… and countless others have told me they love this method as well. Sorry it didn’t work for you!

    • Well that was rude. Do you think it was necessary to post that? My mother taught me that if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything.

      • Joanna, based on the comments in your original post, it appears you didn’t learn that particular lesson your mom taught you.

        Thank you for sharing this information Kendra. I tried it and it works GREAT!

      • Joanna,

        You should have heeded your mom’s advice in the first place, as you were extremely rude. Kendra, on the other hand, was extremely gracious in her reply to you given the tone of your comments.

        The fact that this recipe didn’t work out for you could very well have been due to something YOU did and not necessarily the recipe, ever consider that??

        And adding the work “yuck” in all caps is simply the definition of rude.

        May you never receive an e-mail or response like you sent.

        Blessings Kendra!

  12. love the ideal of frezzing fruit I never done apples pears before what I lik to know can I frezze them unpeeled with the skin on

    • I’ve always drained the slices and patted them dry (peeled works best) then frozen the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet before putting them into the freezer bags. This way they don’t stick together in a lump and you can then take out as much or as little as you want for different recipes.
      This freezing method also works for sliced rhubarb and fresh picked berries (raspberry, blueberry, blakberry, etc.) Of course with the rhubarb and berries there is no need to soak in salted water – just pick, (slice the rhubarb) and freeze in a single layer. then bag as you would the apple or pear slices. I’ve been doing this for years and ALWAYS have fruit on hand. Hope this helps…

  13. Thank you! I just got bags of pears and apples from my local grocer that were “a little too ripe to sell” so I brought them home.. peeled and did the salt wash and now I have beautiful fruit in my freezer. Will be making pies and pear bread when the snow starts falling. Glad I found your site.

  14. When you say “drain”- do you just let them drain in a colander? Or do they need to be totally dried out on a towel or something before freezing? I’m thinking of trying this soon for my leftover apples from picking a couple weeks ago. I’d like to use them for my Thanksgiving apple pie! Thanks for the tip!

  15. Brilliant! I am thrilled to be able to freeze apples this way. My question is this: if I am going to use the frozen apples for apple crisp, should I first defrost the apples then put on the crumble topping and bake it or can I just throw it all in the oven frozen?

      • Last fall I tried freezing apples for apple pie and I froze them already tossed in the sugar and seasoning but after thawing and then baking I had a VERY watery pie…was this due to them being frozen with the sugar and spices? Or is this just from freezing and thawing

        • Freezing and thawing can make some of the liquids come out of the fruit. I would drain it off after thawing before baking with the apples. It would probably be best to add your sugar and spices after they’ve thawed, so you don’t pour them down the drain with the liquids.

    • I sprinkle a little minute tapioca in pan cover with frozen or slightly thawed apples pat topping on top, I’ve either cooked or left on counter up to six hours the cooked I’ve never had leftovers. But this is my first time to play with pears.

  16. Hello Kendra,

    I’m a single gal who likes to eat healthy, and enjoys ‘messing about in the kitchen.’ However, I also work 40 hrs/wk, so don’t have tons of time for food prep. So I look for ways to make things I’ll want to eat, make healthy dishes, not waste food, and keep my costs low. (which means I actually spend about 5-6 hrs/wk in the kitchen, if not a bit more!)

    This past winter, I realized I
    a) really missed having peaches, nectarines, apricots, raspberries, & blueberries; and
    b)was wasting money buying these fruits as jams/preserves/butters, etc.

    So I decided that the coming summer, I would find out when they were in season, look for sales, buy lots of X fruit, and freeze it for this coming winter. I managed to freeze a lot of blueberries and raspberries; the peaches, nectarines, and apricots in Michigan this year were sometimes on sale (well– the apricots, hardly ever), but hard as rocks, most times! I need to find out which fruits can ripen after they’re off the tree. However, I got some apricots, peaches, and nectarines into the freezer.

    I looked at the little “when is the season for X fruit” calendar I’d made to alert me throughout the summer, and realized that I still have one more to go — pears! Yippeee! I love pears!

    So, I bought $10 worth of pears this past week; at 99c/lb, I have about 18 med Bartletts sitting on my counter, as I watch/wait for them to ripen. 3 pears gave me 2c of mashed pear last night, but that was with a teaspoon or so of sugar, & 1 tsp or so of water.

    Yours was one of the websites that came up when I searched for an answer to the question “Is it possible to freeze pears and have them be worth eating upon thawing?”. Your salt-soak solution (ha ha) is intriguing — I’ve never heard of it, and if I hadn’t read the comments, I’d think “No way! I don’t want salty-tasting pears!” But I’m going to try your idea on some of the remaining pears.

    Thanks for the fun and helpful information!

  17. Thank you so much for this tip! I prefer to can my fruit, but life is so busy that I like having the option to freeze fruit. I recently posted about freezing WHOLE peaches. That has saved me a ton of time. I have a box of pears that is ripening quickly and not the time to can so I am going to try this method. Thank you so much! Pinning it now.

  18. Kendra, I have apples by the bagful, but have a dinner party for 40 in 2 days and leave town for a week in 3….hence no time to can. Can I freeze these now and can in a few weeks? For pie filling and apple sauce?

  19. Hi Kendra,
    Do you still need to do the sugar syrup for freezing or did you just soak in the salt water, rinse, place them into bags and freeze? I’m looking to use the pears in a fruit salad in a few weeks.(I’m trying to be ambitious and have all my fruit ready to go:)

    Thank you

  20. Hi Kendra,

    I am a mature single bloke living in New Zealand, with two apple trees and one pear tree loaded with fruit. Those that the birds don’t get I thought I would freeze to make pies for the grandchildren when they visit. Your tip on freezing is very welcome. I hope it’s not inappropriate to say that your photograph shows you to be a very beautiful woman. Your husband is a lucky man! All the best. Grant

  21. Thanks! I have a lot of pears from our two trees and have made pies, we have dried a bunch and now I want to freeze some…..thanks again!!

      • Cindy, It is strange that I stumbled on this website but I love the advice. I did not expect to see something about bananas. I received what I thought was a very strange gift from my 91 yer old mother-in-law; It is a yellow banana bag you keep in the refrigerator. The bananas keep for 2 weeks!! I could hardly believe it, After 2 weeks the skins start to turn brown but the bananas are still firm. My husband knows I eat bananas every day. He purchased greener bananas for me, but the bananas didn’t ripen in the banana bag so I had to leave them on the counter to ripen before I put them in the bag. How could I have gone this far in my life (59) and not known about this? Amazing invention. I freeze my bananas whole or cutup for smoothies and they freeze very well. Just put in a search foR banana bag on google and you will find them.

  22. I’m so glad to find this! Getting ready to do some apples and pears to put in the freezer *and* the dehydrator. I’m going to try this for both ways. I *was* using ascorbic acid in water to soak the apples but they still turn some brown and now that I know that GMO corn is used to make ascorbic acid, I’m not using it anymore. I’m still trying to find something that will keep bananas from turning brown. Even spritzing them with lemon juice doesn’t work very well. We just eat them brown anyway. 🙂

  23. Thank you so much Kendra,
    Been researching on the net for days for the best way to freeze them and now I know they don’t brown over too much, I have my answer!!
    Thanks again

  24. Hi Kendra

    Just wondering if the apples turn brown when they defrost or would you use them straight for cooking from frozen? I’m wanting to use them for jam but have 7carriers full and cannot use them all at once!!

  25. this story was passed down in our family. Mary had to make a list of everything she would need for 1 year because her husband was going to town, the trip would take 4 weeks there and back. She had to take care of everything on the farm/ranch, her normal chores and duties and now take on the feild and animal care also! Now think about
    everything you would need if your husband went to town only 1 time a
    year! I shortened the story due to space.

  26. I actually saw this bit of info a while back on a different blog. Can’t remember for the life of me which one, but I was looking for apple dip recipes and she said she used salt to preserve her apples that she cut up before guests arrived. I was curious as to what your trick was going to be given that I had heard of the salt thing. Glad it’s the same one! :~)

    Glad to hear it works for frozen apples. I may have to do some of those up! :~) *And love the extra tips from other readers as well!

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this. I did it tonight with pairs from our trees and so far so good!

    I did not peel my pears and I did gently pat them dry and spread them onto a cookie tray and placed it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then, I transferred them into a plastic bag.

    They’ve been in the freezer for about four hours and they look beautiful and white as can be!

    Karen

  28. I just acquired a large amount of pears and am going to give this a try. thanks for the info
    btw- I had to re-read the sentence where you said the handgun made you feel instantly safe! WOW- I don’t care who the person is- I don’t want to see your handgun unless you’re a police officer. And if I walked in with my kids and saw that, I’d walk right back out.

    • Catherine,

      Well, as it turned out the gentleman was a Sheriff. As for open carrying… I don’t know of any instances where a citizen open carrying a gun opened fire in public (unless it was to fight back against armed criminals). It’s the guns you don’t see that should concern you 😉

      • Yes and those wepons you don’t see are more deadly than open carry cause the person hiding the weapon you don’t see has something to be afraid of and become a loose cannon I am going to try the salt for my pears and apples to freeze with hopes to bake them latter this winter

  29. Just came across your info on Pinterest for freezing apples. Came at the right time as we are taking a trip to the N GA apple orchards the beginning of October and I was just discussing with my husband whether I could freeze apples for pies, etc this winter. Thanks for the info. Will try this out.

  30. Thank you for this tip, my life has changed so i need to watch the pennies, so all these tips are a real help to our lives. Isn’t it good to know you’ve helped someone you don’t know and they will remember you for this…… Thank you.

  31. I just found your website and I must say so far I love it! SO get used to ltos of questions from me as I try to figure things out! #1 one of my boys loves to eat apples but I would love to preserve them during their peak season….can I just pull these out of the fridge and thaw them fro him to eat as they are..or will they get nasty/slimy in the thawing process?

  32. Hi Kendra,

    I learned a trick from someone years ago and just love it! Look at the ingredients in Fruit Fresh. You’ll see the main ingredient is ascorbic acid, and then something to keep it from caking. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. So….go to the vitamin/supplement section of your favorite store. Look for the various Vitamin C bottles. Then check out the ingredients. Choose the bottle with ascorbic acid–not rose hips. Also don’t get any with flavorings, etc. If you can find ONLY ascorbic acid, that’s great. But, you might have to compromise with a bit of “binder,” although I prefer not to. Notice how inexpensive it is compared to Fruit Fresh! A BIG bottle will be cheaper in the long run and last you for many canning projects. Next time you’ve got peaches, apples, or whatever to put up–freezer, canner or dehydrator, put a few tablets in the bottom of your bowl. Add a bit of water, then smash up the tablets. If there are a few chunks not pulverized, it’s okay. They will dissolve. Add your fruit and proceed as usual. I like to add a bit of ascorbic acid to the syrup when I can, too. Works great and it’s cheap.

  33. I have done this with potatoes as well. Last month for a potluck we were having at church we cut up a bunch of potatoes, squash and sweet potatoes and placed them in a big bowl of salt water the night before. In the morning, we drained and rinsed them, seasoned them up and put everything in a roaster to cook. It saved a lot of time that morning anyway!

  34. My mother passed this tip on to me many years ago; she is now 92! And, yes, it does work with peaches. It is all she (and I) have ever used. It really does not take much salt either, just about a tsp. to a gallon of water does it for me. Do stir and dissolve it to give good distribution throughout. Happy freezing and canning.

  35. I wonder if the salt method would work with a juicer fruit, like peaches?? Anyone know? I have a terrible time getting my boys to eat my frozen or canned peaches as they always seem to brown a little no matter what I try.

  36. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try this next year when I freeze my apples. I just dealt with slightly brown fruit because I did not like the idea of chemicals on my fruit and I hardly ever had lemon juice on hand. Thanks again for the knowledge.

  37. That’s incredible that it doesn’t taste salty at all. I’m going to have to try this for myself. And I hate to take away all your product-hating fun, but Fruit Fresh is just powdered Vitamin C.

  38. I learned this trick from my Aunt many years ago. I works for canning fruit too. My Aunt would have the prettiest jars of white apple slices. Everyone always wondered what was her secret. Barbara Gantt

  39. Didn’t know salt could be used. I prefer salt over lemon juice. Have to use this method. Thanks for posting.

    And I’d like to know more of how old timers preserved their food.

  40. Wonderful tip! I love knowing how the old timers did things! As new products like FRUIT FRESH come out, these old ways seem to “disappear” leaving us wondering how Ma did this without these products. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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