If you have a very active apple tree or just find a great deal at your local market it's almost irresistible to make yourself some homemade apple sauce. Buuuuut, if you end up with too many apples or apple sauce they can spoil pretty quickly. You should know there is a solution to them going bad that isn't throw them out or give them to your friends, family, and neighbors (again). Not only can you freeze apple sauce, but it is super easy and can keep for up to a year!
Keep on reading to learn how to freeze your apple sauce and make it last for up to a year!
Can you freeze apple sauce?
Apple sauce is easily frozen. You can freeze it in mason jars, plastic storage containers, or, our preferred method, freezer bags.
Frozen apple sauce will stay good for 6 months to a year after it has been frozen. You can thaw it in a variety of ways like overnight in the fridge, in cool water, or even heated up in the microwave or stovetop!
And, if you're anything like us, you get really excited and make way more than any reasonable human should try to eat. In such cases you will need a way to preserve your apple sauce or to the chickens it will go (but don't feed them apple sauce if you make it with sugar).
So, the short answer is yes, you can freeze apple sauce. But you will need a few supplies first.
- Apples or apple sauce (duh)
- Apple peeler (if making apple sauce)
- Apple corer (if making apple sauce)
- Measuring cups
- Freezer bags
- Sharpie or marker
How To Freeze Apple Sauce
This is really only a five step process. Let's see how you do it.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
This is the easiest step of them all. Open your store bought container of apple sauce or follow your homemade apple sauce recipe.
You will need to figure out how much apple sauce you need to freeze and how you will want it portioned out (just like when you freeze chili).
If you have a large or even medium size family, that loves apple sauce and it is something you eat with meals, it may make sense to freeze batches in large, gallon size freezer bags. However, we assume most people eat apple sauce as a quick snack or in between meals. Thus, using quart size freezer bags is best for individual portion sizes.
Whichever size bags you decide to use, take them, along with your sharpie or marker, and label the bags. You will want to definitely add the contents and bagging date. It is also helpful to put a "best by", or "throw away by" (or "Toxic after") date so you don't accidently eat apple sauce that has been in the freezer too long.
If it is too old, it will not likely be harmful or toxic, but it will probably have freezer burn and will absolutely lose quality. Basically, it will just not taste very good after about a year.
If you've picked out your bags it means you've decided, at least mostly, on portion sizes. Now, we like to be very specific when making our portions. It makes doing a pantry challenge a lot easier when you can plan out your meals down to the measuring cup.
It's much easier than it sounds. The generally recommended serving size for apple sauce is about half a cup. However, when we make ours, unlike the recipe above, we only use cinnamon and very little, if any, sugar. Since it does not have the same caloric punch as most other recipes, we double our portion size to a cup.
Decide how much you want and use a measuring cup to scoop out your desired portion size. You can also portion it out per meal or group to save on plastic waste and space. A quart size freezer bag can hold about 4 cups while a gallon size freezer bag can hold around 16 cups.
Once everything is bagged up and ready to freeze, you will want to squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible before you close it completely. This will help prevent freezer burn.
Everything has some kind of moisture in it. When you are freezing something, the moisture makes it's way to the surface of what you are freezing and, through a process called sublimation. The presence of air accelerates this process.
To keep freezer burn at bay you can:
- only open the freezer when you need something. Frequent opening and closing will cause the internal temperature to fluctuate which can prolong the freezing process and lead to moisture build up.
- eat your frozen food before buying more fresh food. The longer something is in the freezer and frozen the more opportunity there is for freezer burn to take effect.
- decrease the temperature of your freezer so things can freeze quickly and give moisture less time to move to the surface of your food
- Use containers just large enough for the food to fit and minimize "extra" air space.
Pro tip: Close the bag most of the way with just a small opening on the end. You can then push the air out more easily.
Double pro tip: Close the bag just like in Pro tip 1 but instead of squeezing the air out, submerge the bag in water up to the zipper. Be careful not to get water in the actual bag. The pressure of the water is even on all sides of the bag and will squeeze the air out extremely well.
Finally, it's time to freeze!
Lay the bags out flat and stack them in your freezer. Stacking and freezing them flat helps make them easier to manage while cutting down on space. Try putting a cookie sheet or even a piece of cardboard down between the bags and the shelf. Non-solids, like milk, half and half, salsa, sauerkraut, and apple sauce will mold to the grate of the freezer shelf as they freeze. Once they completely freeze they will slightly expand which can cause them to become stuck in between the bars.
Leave them in the freezer over night and give them time to completely freeze. Once they are rock solid, you can move them to a better location if you need to or just leave them where they're at.
Here are some of the more common questions about freezing apple sauce.
How long will frozen apple sauce stay good?
If you freeze your apple sauce, you can store it without it going bad for around 6 months to a year. For best results, follow the process from above and use a chest or deep freezer for longer times.
Since apple sauce is an organic material, bacteria will still grow in it, unless frozen, and it will eventually go bad. You can extend the life of your apple sauce by keeping it cold in the fridge but that will only slow down the aging process and keep it fresh for a week, maybe two weeks.
How should I thaw it out?
The easiest way to defrost or thaw your frozen apples or apple sauce is to pull the bag from the freezer and put it in the fridge. Doing this overnight will usually give you enough time for it to be ready to eat by morning.
Another, quicker, way to do this is to place it in a bowl and stick that under cool running water. It should not take too long for the apple sauce to thaw enough that you can eat it.
If you want warm or even hot applesauce, you can thaw it on the stove or in the microwave. On a stovetop, set a burner to low or low-medium and place your frozen apple sauce in a small sauce pan. This method will probably take around 10 minutes, give or take. Just remember to keep an eye on it and stir often so you don't end up with burnt apple sauce.
The microwave is much faster and less likely to burn. Try heating your applesauce in a microwave safe bowl or pyrex in increments of 10 to 30 seconds, depending on the power and size of your microwave. Each time you heat it, see if it is soft enough to stir. Once it is soft enough to stir, you can take it out or continue to heat it until it is at your desired temperature.
Can I refreeze it after it's been defrosted?
You can refreeze if it's absolutely necessary but it isn't the best idea. It will still be safe to eat but it will eventually become freezer burnt and will start to lose quality each subsequent time it is frozen.
This is one of the reasons that we use smaller portions. That way we know we will eat it and we won't have to decide if it's worth refreezing again.
What can I use frozen apple sauce for?
Frozen applesauce can be a good, frozen snack. Instead of long term freezing in baggies, you can put it in ice cube trays with some miniature popsicle sticks and make apple sauce pops.
Again, freeze them in an ice tray and use them in a glass of water to give it some extra flavor. Just be aware that they will melt pretty quickly in water and you'll end up with a pile of apple sauce at the bottom of your glass.
We think the best uses for frozen apple sauce are the same as unfrozen. Thaw it out and eat it as a healthy snack or heat it up with some cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar for a (less healthy) dessert.
Homemade Vs store bought
Store bought is already in a sealed jar so it does not need to be preserved unless already opened. Homemade will need to either be eaten quickly enough before it goes bad or it will need to be frozen.
Canning Vs freezing
We prefer freezing for a couple of reasons. One, it's way easier and faster. Like we mention above, it's essentially scoop, bag, label, freeze. Our second reason does need some explanation.
Whenever we buy or make apple sauce, we will usually flavor it with some cinnamon but will use very little, if any, sugar. Sugar is often used to sweeten up apple sauce and it is also a large component of canning and preservation. So, since less time and less sugar used are things we strive for, we like to stick with freezing over canning.
Ziplock Bag Vs Mason Jars
Mason jars are pretty durable and made to endure extreme temperature changes and a lot of pressure. You can definitely use them to freeze apple sauce, or just about any liquid, puree, or solid food. The downside of using Mason Jars is that they can be expensive and they are pretty bulky; taking up a lot of room in your freezer. The plus for Mason Jars is they are pretty much a one time investment and can be reused for future food preservation.
Plastic zip lock baggies are what we generally use. While they can be reusable, it is usually difficult to remove frozen apple sauce from them without ripping them. Also, they will sometimes get small tears when your food is freezing and expanding; both scenarios will render them useless. We don't like to use a lot of plastic unnecessarily, but the cost, in both money and space, is just too high to use Mason Jars, in our opinion.
Can you freeze apple slices?
If apple sauce isn't your thing, you can also freeze chunks or apple slices. The process is similar to freezing watermelon, freezing cantaloupe, freezing blackberries, freezing blueberries, and freezing raspberries. All you need to do is cut them into slices, after washing and peeling, dip them in water and lemon juice so they don't turn brown from oxidation, and line them on a cookie sheet.
Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours and then, once they are starting to freeze, pop them off the cookie sheet and into some freezer safe bags. Apple slices, like apple sauce, will stay good and not lose much quality for around 8 to 12 months or so.
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.