How to Preserve the Apples You Picked this Fall

October 16, 2019

It’s mid-October and for many of us, that means that it’s time for a visit to your local orchard for a little apple picking. Or perhaps you bought a box of apples from your favorite farmer when they were selling half bushels for $25.

However you came to have them, chances are good that at some point this fall, you will find yourself with more apples than you can reasonably eat in a week or two.

Here are some delicious things you can do with them to extend their season, make some preserves for holiday giving, and warm up your home.


At its more basic, applesauce is nothing more than apples that have been cooked down with a little water or juice. Sometimes I make it by quartering the apples, throwing them into the pot with skins and seeds, cooking them down, and then pushing it all through a food mill.

Other times I peel and seed before cooking. Both techniques work, it just depends on your preference.

If you want to go beyond the basic, you could make Pumpkin Pie Spiced Applesauce. For something extra tangy, make a batch of Cranberry Shrub and then add the leftover solids to some applesauce.

If you like your sauce sweetened, try making Maple Applesauce. If you’re feeling like combining fruits (or if you’re just longing for spring), consider some Strawberry Applesauce.

Apple Butter

If butter is more your speed, Maple Bourbon Apple Butter is always a crowd pleaser. If you’re cooking for kids, you might want to skip the booze and go with Spiced Apple Butter instead.

For a quicker cooking, silky preserve try my Low Sugar Apple Ginger Butter (it is transcendent with potato pancakes).

Finally, if you’re the type who likes a butter that is deep, flavorful and bursting with bite, Apple Cranberry Butter is for you. The cranberries make it tangy and bring some welcome color to a preserve that can sometimes be on the drab side.

Apple Jams, Jellies, and Compotes

If you haven’t started thinking about teacher gifts and holiday baskets, I encourage you to start now. My Apple Cranberry Jam is a perfect candidate because it makes a lot and is universally loved.

For something with zip and zing, try my Apple Ginger Jam (and if you’re more of a jelly fan, I’ve also got an Apple Ginger Jelly). If lemon is more your thing, Honey Lemon Apple Jam is always a winner.

For those of you who are starting to do small things to prep for Thanksgiving, your future self will love you for making this Apple Cranberry Compote.

Apple Chutneys, Krauts, Conserves and More

If you’d like your apples to walk on the savory side, there’s always Red Cabbage Apple Ginger Kraut. If that doesn’t speak to you, perhaps my Quick Pickled Apple Matchsticks will.

For those times when you want a more bracing preserve, I offer you Apple Horseradish Conserve. Apple Date Chutney is great for those times when you want something that’s more naturally sweet.

For those of you thinking about winter cheeseboards, there’s nothing better or more unique than my Apple Cinnamon Caramel.

For even more apple-centric recipes, make sure to check out my series of cookbooks. You’ll find a world of options in Food in Jars, Preserving by the Pint, and Naturally Sweet Food in Jars.

And don’t forget about my latest book, The Food in Jars Kitchen. This book contains 140 recipes to help you use up what you’ve put up!

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10 thoughts on "How to Preserve the Apples You Picked this Fall"

  • Melissa, how do you like your Weston food mill. I only have a Foley hand-crank model, and I’m considering upgrading. Torn between the Weston and an attachment for my KitchenAid.

  • Lovely, timely post! Our family just picked about 7 bushels of various apples and crabapples from the antique trees on our land! The root cellar is full, I am canning away the applesauce, butter, jam and jelly, and am eager to add a few unique recipes. Fall has always been a favorite time of mine with my babies with the cool weather and lots of cozy time. Best to you all from Maine!

  • Thank you for all the information! I am new to canning, and just processed my 1st round of preserved apples & pears in syrup, preserves and jams.
    Somehow I missed that I should have put a lid on the water bath canner while processing. I processed everything for the recommended time plus a little extra, and all sealed up fine etc. Do I need to reprocess everything?
    Thanks again 🙂

    1. It’s recommended that you cover the pot while canning, but as long as you maintained a vigorous boil during the processing time, the jars should be fine and shelf stable.

  • I’d like to know how to process sliced apples in jars, for use in pie filling, or for apple bread later in the year. I’ve previously froze them, but they’ve always turned dark, even after using lemon juice on them. Can you help me?

  • Hello:

    I water bath canned a batch of applesauce in quart jars last night.

    The rack for my canner holds seven jars snugly, but with a little room around each jar.

    However, the rack bottom doesn’t have anything built in to keep the jars from moving.

    During processing, two of the jars got jostled together by the boiling water, so they were touching during the 20-minute processing time.

    After processing, all jars “pinged” and sealed fine.

    Should I be concerned about the jars touching during processing and not being shelf stable? I’ve read elsewhere that this is a problem, but again, they all sealed fine.


    1. It’s okay if the jars touch during processing. You don’t actually ever have to use a rack that keeps the jars apart. So since all the jars sealed, you have nothing to worry about!