Preserve apples using one of these methodsAt this time of year, you may be enjoying fresh apples from a nearby tree. You can’t eat them all, but would you like to preserve some for this winter? Apples are easy to freeze. You need to pretreat them with heat or ascorbic acid so they do not darken during storage. Ascorbic acid usually is found in the canning supplies section in stores.
By: Luella Morehouse, NDSU Extension, The Jamestown Sun
At this time of year, you may be enjoying fresh apples from a nearby tree. You can’t eat them all, but would you like to preserve some for this winter?
Apples are easy to freeze. You need to pretreat them with heat or ascorbic acid so they do not darken during storage. Ascorbic acid usually is found in the canning supplies section in stores.
To prevent darkening, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon (1,500mg) of ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle over the fruit. Or apple slices can be steamed (blanched) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 quart (1 1/4 pounds) of fruit. Pack apples into containers and press fruit down, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Seal and freeze.
Follow the directions for sugar pack, omitting the sugar. Treated apple slices also can be frozen first on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen.
Note: Browning also can be halted temporarily by placing fruit in citric acid or lemon juice solutions. However, these measures are not as effective as treatment with ascorbic acid in its pure form.
How to dehydrate apples
A food dehydrator works well for drying food and uses less energy than an oven, but you can use your oven. Here’s how to dehydrate apple slices in your oven.
Safety note: If you have children in your home, do this while they are not around or be sure they are kept away from the oven to prevent burns.
1. Peel and core apples and cut into slices or rings 1/8 to1/4 inch thick. You can leave the peelings on the apples; however, the peelings toughen during the dehydration.
2. Pretreat with ascorbic acid or a lemon juice/water mixture to help prevent them from becoming discolored and to keep their texture.
Ascorbic acid method: Use “Fruit Fresh” according to the package directions. Or dissolve 1 tablespoon of pure crystalline ascorbic acid in 1 quart of cold water. This is usually available in the food preservation section of the grocery store. Add cut fruit and soak for a few minutes; remove with a slotted spoon; drain well and dehydrate.
Lemon juice method: Use 1 cup of lemon juice for each quart of water. Place the peeled, cut fruit in the lemon water mixture for as much as 10 minutes.
Note: Ascorbic acid works better than lemon juice.
3. Sprinkle treated apples with cinnamon if desired.
4. Set the oven on its lowest setting and leave the oven door open. Place a fan next to the oven so the air carries away the moisture. The ideal temperature for drying is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This process may take two to three hours depending on the humidity and the drying temperature.
5. The apples are dry when they still are flexible but they have no moist area in the center when cut open. If they are not dried enough, the apples could become moldy during storage. After the apples are dry, allow them to cool for about an hour. Store the dried fruit in an air-tight container.
Excerpted from http:// www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletters.htm.
For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First Street East, Jamestown, ND, 252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ndsu. edu.