Thursday, October 30, 2008
Preserving the Harvest: Freezing Apples
The apple tree that bore the apples has been around for as long as I can remember. It grows alongside the drive that leads to my parents house, unincumbered in almost every way by humanity. Organic as can be, the apple harvest is entirely dependent upon the kindness of the weather and the serendipity of finding the apples before they're eaten by the deer.
Most years, the apples are small and severely marred. This year, while they weren't the prettiest, the apples were of a good size. Their flavor profile is sweet, and the flesh more firm than mealy. But, I knew they weren't built to be stored. So, I decided to freeze what I could. After all, this will extend our ability to eat locally grown apples into the winter months.
Peef set to work peeling and slicing the apples. When they were adequately trimmed, we sent them swimming in a bowl of salted water to inhibit the inevitable browning process.
After draining the apples, we tossed them with a bit of sugar (which extends the life of dry-packed apples in the freezer by a few months)...... and we packed them into bags.
If you think that's the end of the line, you're mistaken. In fact, the fun part still remains!
Peef is entreated to suck ALL the air out of the bags. Yeah, yeah -- we've tried the gadgets that profess to do this job more quickly and efficiently. But, we always seem to return to the basics. Plus, he's so CUTE!
Once all the air is sucked from the bags, we tuck the apples into our chest freezer for a long winter's nap. I'll retrieve them long after local apples have departed from the grocery shelves and the farmer's market has long since closed.
We're fans of cobblers and crisps, so we're likely to use these apples for that purpose. But, they'll also be fine candidates for pies, cakes, or apple sauce. YUM.
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