Vacuum Sealing Apples to Freeze
Perhaps one of the best ways to preserve apples for later use is the vacuum sealer, which is readily available on the internet or, perhaps, local appliance stores. There are several manufacturers that make these sealers, but the basic procedure is the same.
Basic Equipment Required
The basic equipment necessary for freezing apples is as follows:
1. Large stainless steel or enamel cooking pot to blanch the apples in.
2. Large bowl for the pre-treatment of the apples.
3. Apple corer and sharp paring knife.
4. Long handled slotted spoon to remove apples from blanching pot.
5. Cider vinegar or lemon juice to a ratio of 1 tablespoon to 1 quart of water for pre-treatment solution for apples. NOTE: Some fruits, such as berries, cranberries, grapes, strawberries and rhubarb, will not need this pre-treatment process in order tofreeze. The pre-treatment is basically used to prevent discoloration of light fleshed fruits such as apples, apricots, peaches and pears.
6. Vacuum sealer with bag rolls.
7. Any sugar or spices, such as cinnamon, that you would like to sprinkle on the fruit before freezing.
Method of Vacuum Sealing Apples
Step 1: Choosing Apples for Freezing
Always use the freshest, ripest, most blemish-free apples available when purchasing for home freezing projects. Inspect for blemishes and separate the damaged fruit from the good.
Step 2: Preparing for Blanching
Fill the large cooking pot about two-thirds to the top with water and bring to a slow, gentle boil. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the apples.
Step 3: Preparing the Apples
Wash, core and slice the apples into wedges. (I do not peel the apples I use in apple pies.) If you prefer your apples peeled, then that will also need to be done in this step.
Peeling can be time consuming if you are processing a lot of apples. There are several methods to accomplish this task, some of which are specifically designed to peel apples, pears and other firm fleshed fruits.
The traditional equipment for this chore is a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler. Apple corers are also helpful for slicing and coring apples quicker in preparation for pre-treatment.
One of the most efficient ways of peeling apples is by using a manual Apple Peeler and Corer, pictured below. In one easy step it allows you to peel, slice and core an apple in less than 15 seconds! These machines often lets you choose whether or not you want the apples just peeled, or peeled, cored and spirally sliced. With a little practice, you will be able to adjust the machine to your specific requirements and become a pro at peeling apples in record time.
Step 4: Pre-treating the Apples
Pre-treat the apples by soaking the slices in a solution of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice to 1 quart of water, (to make a larger amount of pre-treatment, double the above solution recipe), for a minute or two per layer of fruit. Pre-treat the fruit in batches, one layer at a time, until all of the fruit has been pre-treated.
Step 5: Blanching the Apples
Lift fruit out of the pre-treatment bowl with the slotted spoon and drop into the pot containing the boiling water for blanching.
Blanch the fruit for two minutes or so in single layers, and remove from the boiling water into the emptied large bowl that was used to pre-treat the fruit. If you are going to add spices or sugar before freezing, now is the time that you do that. Sprinkle the cinnamon, or other spices, and/or sugars, if desired, over the fruit and stir gently to coat.
Step 6: Vacuum Sealing the Apples
Make a bag big enough for the batch of fruit to be filled into. I like to package the fruit in quantities that would be required for a pie...usually 4 to 6 cups or so (check your fruit pie recipe for specific proportions for your favorite pies).
Place prepared fruit into the sealer bags and load into the front of the vacuum sealer, as pictured below.
Once the opened end has been inserted into the sealer, turn on the sealing machine. As the air is vacuumed out of the bag, re-adjust the bag by lifting it upward to the level of the sealer and guide as much of the air as possible from around the apple slices up toward the sealer.
Once the machine detects that as much air as possible has been removed from the bag, the sealing element engages to seal the bag. The machine will automatically switch off when the process is complete.
Press the button on the top of the machine to release the vacuum seal that has developed during the sealing process. This will release the seal plates and the bag will be easily removed.
If, when the bag is removed from the machine, air rushes back into the bag, then the seal was compromised. Cut off the bad seal, if possible, and reseal the bag.
If you are having trouble getting the bag to seal, then there is probably too much liquid being sucked into the sealer elements, not allowing the machine to connect properly. Drain some of the liquid out of the bag and try again.
Step 7: Freezing the Apple Bags
Place the apple bags into the freezer as flat as possible in a single layer until frozen. Once frozen, the bags can be stacked to minimize the space required to store the apples in the freezer.