Storing and preserving apples – fall’s favorite treat!

Learn how to preserve and store apples during the peak of harvest; it’s easy to do with these helpful tips.

With the cooler temperatures and colorful palette on the trees, it must be the beginning of fall. Fall at my house translates into a kitchen smelling of cinnamon and apples. Homemade applesauce is one of my family’s favorite foods. Preserving this tasty treat to enjoy during the winter months is a great time saver and a way to enjoy top quality food all year round.

Even though this year’s apple crop is down from 26 million bushels to 2 million bushels, apples are still available at local farm markets. Given the shortage, prices for apples are higher, but it can still be cost effective when to make and preserve your homemade applesauce or your favorite apple product.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has wonderful publications to help you store and preserve locally grown foods. Michigan Fresh publications are available for more than 20 different types of produce, including apples. Apples should be stored in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag for ventilation. Apples can be stored up to a month. Be sure to wash apples before handling fresh produce and consuming.

To make your award winning applesauce, select apples that are sweet, juicy and crisp. Add one to two pounds of tart apples to three pounds of sweeter fruit for a tarter applesauce. Place sliced apples in an eight to ten quart pot, add ½ cup of water and cook until tender. Press through a food mill, if desired, or keep chunky. Add ½ cup of sugar per quart of sauce if preferred. Heat sauce to boiling. Pack into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath; 20 minutes for pints and 35 minutes for quarts. Let jars sit undisturbed while they cool from 12 to 24 hours. Then remove rings, wash jars and store. For additional food preservation options or high altitude directions, consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Capturing the delicious taste of Michigan-grown apples into your personal masterpiece is a wonderful way to nourish your family. Preserving apples into applesauce or any other creation is a wonderful way to preserve the local bounty to enjoy during the cold, winter months.

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