First of all, you should try to choose the use and preservation method that is best for your apple variety. Here are some suggestions:
Red Delicious, Fuji, and Gala apples are best eaten fresh. They do not freeze or cook well.
Fresh storage: Arkansas Black, Waltana, Rome Beauty, Mutsu, Fuji, Granny Smith, Winesap. These keep 4 to 5 months or longer. Examine apples carefully, only perfect apples should be considered for long-term storage. Here are some apple storage tips:
Store individually wrapped or layered in paper, keeping them separate. Box with a loose-fitting lid. Store in cool, dark, well-ventilated spot, such as a root cellar, unheated basement, enclosed porch, garage, or refrigerator. Apples cannot withstand freezing temperatures, but store best around 40ºf. They will keep at higher temperatures, just not as long. Do NOT store next to potatoes or onions which release a gas that speeds the ripening of apples.
All apples can be dried. Some may need treating to maintain color. One treatment most will have available is Ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Peel, core and slice apples 1/8 inch thick. If you need to treat them, make a solution of 2 cups water and 3000mg vitamin C (1 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder or the equivalent in vit. C tablets crushed and dissolved). Soak sliced apples in solution for 3 to 5 minutes, then drain and place on dehydrator rack. You can substitute a fruit juice high in vitamin C, such as orange, lemon, or pineapple.
When slices are leathery, but cut and squeezed show no moisture, they're dry enough to store. Place in air -tight containers and watch for a few days. If condensation appears in the jar they need further drying.
All apple varieties make great cider or juice, and often the best is made from a blend of different varieties. Cider is made by pressing and best preserved by freezing. Always remember to leave space in the top of the container for expansion.
To can apple juice, start with fresh cider pressed within 24 hours. Refrigerate for 24 to 28 hours to allow sediments to settle, then carefully pour off the clear juice into a large pot. You can strain it through a paper coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth if desired.
Heat the juice, stirring now and then, until it just starts to boil. Pour into clean hot jars leaving ¼” headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids and process in a Boiling Water bath (BWB) or steam canner only 5 minutes for pints or quarts, 10 minutes for ½ gallon jars. Remember to adjust for altitude as needed. From 1000 ft to 6000 ft it is 10 minutes for pints and quarts, 15 minutes for half gallons.
Varieties best for applesauce and apple butter: Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Gravenstein and McIntosh. Preserve sauce and spreads by canning. Applesauce is a mainstay in most homes and versatile. Wash, peel, core, and quarter or slice apples. If you have a strainer such as a Victorio or Foley food mill, you can leave the peels on, as they will easily be removed later. Place apples in an 8 to 10 quart pot and add ascorbic acid or lemon juice to prevent darkening. Add ½ cup water and heat, stirring often to prevent scorching, until tender. This can take up to 20 minutes depending on condition and variety of apple.
Press through a sieve or run through a food mill and return puree to pot. Add sweetener as desired or needed. I personally prefer Gravensteins for sauce as they need no sweetener.
Process applesauce in jars leaving ½” headspace. in a BWB pints take 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes, again adding 5 minutes to either for altitudes over 1000'
Varieties acceptable for freezing: Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Jonathan and Granny Smith. Consider freezing sugared spiced slices for pie filling, or you can prepare a pie, crusts and all, and freeze to bake later!
For canned pie filling Stayman, Golden Delicious, Rome, and varieties of similar quality are suitable. If you plan to can pie filling for later juice, be sure to get the special cornstarch called ‘ClearGel' for this purpose. ClearGel can withstand the heat of processing and then the repeated heat of baking the pie.
For fresh pies and baking: Granny Smith, Bellflower, Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Pink Lady are particularly good.
Most apples are good for making jelly without added pectin. Make sure about 1/3 of the apples are underripe, to get the most pectin. Jelly is a good use for crabapples and misshapen apples
There are many ways to preserve apples blended with other ingredients in preserves, chutneys and other condiments. Apples make wonderful chutney, but we like Tomato-Apple Chutney the best!
· 3 quarts chopped tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
· 3 quarts chopped apples (about 5 pounds)
· 2 cups seedless white raisins
· 2 cups chopped onion
· 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
· 2 pounds brown sugar
· 1 quart white vinegar (5%)
· 4 teaspoons canning salt
· 1 teaspoon ground ginger
· ¼ cup whole mixed pickling spice
Yield: About 7 or 8 pint jars
Procedure: Wash tomatoes and remove skins. Chop tomatoes to make 3 quarts. Wash and pare apples; remove seeds and cores; chop to make 3 quarts.
Combine all ingredients except the whole spices. Place spices loosely in a clean, white cloth; tie with a string, and add to tomato apple mixture. Bring to a boil; boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and reduced about one half in volume (about 1 hour). Remove spice bag.
Pack the boiling hot chutney into hot pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
Process pints 10 minutes, add 5 minutes over 1000' elevation and another 5 minutes for altitudes over 6000'..
Find links for more recipes below or check the ‘Ball Blue Book' or ‘Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving' or ‘So Easy to Preserve'.
If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning. For that and other information about canning online: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html
Questions about food preservation? Contact the Master Food Preserver Program through the Humboldt County Cooperative Extension Office for information: 707) 445-7431, or online at: http://cehumboldt.ucdavis.edu
So Easy to Preserve (5th edition, Cooperative Extension, University of Georgia)
Excalibur – The Complete guide to Food Dehydration
Ball Blue Book, 2006
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, 2006