Stocking Your Freezer with Homemade Applesauce

by Emily from Frugal Living NW on October 8, 2010

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

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How to Freeze Applesauce

Oregon and Washington produce some of the country’s best apples and pears. This is the time of year we should all be taking advantage of that! Apple season is just getting good so head to your local farmers market, produce stand, or apple orchard and get in on this year’s harvest!

With our apple haul, we do three things: eat, bake, and freeze applesauce.

We eat apples fresh until the thought of eating another apple in January is like the thought of picking another zucchini in August. If the “apple a day” motto is accurate, then we are in good shape.

I also bake several apple pies or crisps. When my husband walks through the door after a long day or the bathtub faucet is leaking or I accidentally run over something with the car that should not have been run over, I soften the blow by casually mentioning, “Oh, by the way, I baked an apple pie today.” His eyes light up, and everything that happened before that sentence is forgotten. Trust me, it is like magic. I speak from experience. When I’m in a tight spot, I just whip out an apple pie. Make sure you check out our Simple Fruit Pie from Scratch tutorial.

If you do not consider yourself a baker, then buy a pre-made crust in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. I used to do this when I worked full-time; the crusts are easy to assemble and don’t taste half bad either.

Finally, freezing applesauce. My little family of four goes through a crazy amount of applesauce. I like to keep our freezer stocked with the homemade stuff because it is super simple to make, and it tastes better than anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelves (see below).

apple slicer peeler corer

This year, I bought a Norpro AppleMate 2 Apple Peeler (Amazon). This baby attaches to your countertop and peels, slices, and cores the apples with the crank of the handle. Growing up, my mom had one of these. We just called it the Apple-Peeler-Slicer-Corer. Creative, I know.

I have no idea why it took me so long to get one of my own. They are a brilliant little invention and for less than $20, money well-spent because they are such a huge time saver. Even my toddler got in on the action, cranking out spirals of peeled apples. If you have the time and patience, it’s a great way for little hands to help out.

cooking apples for freezer applesauce

We used Gravenstein apples because they are a soft variety so they break down quickly as they cook. Simply toss the peeled, cored, cut apples into a large pot. Add enough water to keep the apples from scorching on the bottom. It doesn’t take much liquid because the apples will give off quite a bit of their own as they cook. You can always stir and check, adding water as needed.

Let the apples simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. I cook and stir the apples for around 30-45 minutes, giving them more time to break down because I like a smoother applesauce. If you like it perfectly smooth, you could even run it through a blender, food mill, or food processor. For chunkier applesauce, remove it from the heat a bit sooner or mix in other firmer apple varieties that won’t cook down as easily.

store applesauce in freezer bags

This year I froze several small bags of unsweetened applesauce to use as baby food and as an oil-substitute for baking. I sweetened the rest with some sugar to taste. You could use the sweetener of your choice. I keep the ingredients pretty simple, but you could also add some cinnamon or other spices, if desired. You can freeze the applesauce in freezer bags, plastic storage containers (like Ziploc or Rubbermaid), or in ice cube trays if you’re making it for a baby.

How to Can Applesauce: A step-by-step guide

You can also can applesauce if you have limited freezer space. Check out our Canning Applesauce Step-By-Step Guide here.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi September 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm

I heard that you shouldn’t add cinnamon when you freeze since it intensify when you unthaw. Is this true?

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Larry April 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I thawed a bag of homemade applesauce by mistake. Can I put it back in the fridge and freeze it again?

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Peter November 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm

This was a great resource! I just made applesauce from 9lbs of apples. I live in an apartment and don’t have compost. So, I juiced the skins and cores and used that as the liquid. Very tasty! Thanks.

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regina November 25, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Glad to hear it worked out for you……Enjoy…

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regina October 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm

My apples are all gnarled and spotted…We don’t spray either….I cut out the bad spots, cook them and put it all in the food mill…I am happy to say it is the best applesauce I have ever made……….

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Lynn October 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

We have alot of apples on our own trees. We do not spray or anything so some of the apples have brown spots on them. When I peel and cut up before making the applesauce, I cut away all the brown/discolored areas. Because of that, I don’t think there is a way I could use a strainer. It takes alot more time to only use the good parts of the apple, but it is worth it to me to know they have never been sprayed or anything! Any other time saving tips when using home grown/not perfect apples?

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Jim October 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I freeze my homemade tomato sauce the same way Emily. I put 1C in each bag. .freeze flat n stack.. it doesn’t take much room at all. .. in fact they slide in many places in my fridge top freezer where other things that don’t fit.. like between the peaches, tomatoes n green beans!..

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Judi Jorgensen September 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I was looking for ways of freezing apples for applesauce and thank you for the suggestions! Now that my freezer is cleaned out, I have room for bags of applesauce. I am going up north and hope I can find a farm in MI that has the winesap apples. If you have ever tasted winesaps, they make wonderful tasting applesauce. I have added peaches and mangoes to mine also as I long peach mango applesauce! If I need to sweeten, I use agave syrrup for those who are diabetic or even the cococut sugar. So thanks for the ideas. Also the idea of mixing delicious apples to the winesaps will be good. I think the yellow banana apple will be good too.

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Sue September 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

Here’s another simple, healthy way to make applesauce: wash apples and core. Do not peel. Cut in quarters. Microwave, covered, with only about a tbsp. Of water for 20 mins. Put through a Foley Foodmill (wonderful device about $20). I like mine smooth, but it comes with 3 disks for coarser or finer. Sweeten and season to taste. When cranberries are in season here in New England I cook about a cup along with the apples. You will be left with very little waste and beautiful red applesauce, depending on the color of your apples.

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Tanya September 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Yum! After tasting freezer applesauce I will never be canning it again. Thanks for this recipe.

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Robin September 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Will the app,e sauce turn brown after freezing and do I need to cool before I freeze it?

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Paula August 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

Now that my children are on their own my freezer space needs have changed. I also freeze in pint and quart bags, lay flat to freeze then stack in plastic baskets. I freeze apples, tomatoes, squash, and asparagus in amounts needed for favorite recipes. I also dice onions and peppers, freeze on a cookie sheet then put in bags. This way I can scoop out what I need. Speeds up meal prep.

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regina August 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

I just used a food mill for the first time to make applesauce…..I NEVER realized that you could just cut up the apples, peels and seeds, cook them and run it all through the food mill…..I just tasted it and I truly think it’s the best I’ve ever produced……

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janet pazourek March 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm

i make my applesauce a little differently. i peel and core the apples, cut them and put them into a slow cooker. set the cooker on low for 9 hours (usually overnight). they are done when you get up in the morning. of course you can add cinnamon and sugar/splenda, or just leave them natural! my grand-kids go crazy over my homemade applesauce.

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Linda Holton October 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

When you can your apples what precautions do you take to ensure that the top section of the canned applesause does not turn a darker color than the rest of the jar? You can email me directly with your hints and suggestions. Thanks

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linda petroff October 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

i am in the process of cooking apples on the stove now it is 10;14 pm in Calgary Alberta Canada it is just about done but there r some apples that i will have to mash down with the potato masher or put it in the blender and make it the consistency that i want then i am going to put cinnamon in it i am not sure about sugar as i used spartan apples and they r sweet anyway so i will let u know how it turn out u can email me and i will let u know if u put it in jars to freeze u need to let them cool thouroughly before u put them in the freezer but i think that i am going to keep my in the fridge as i love applesauce

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CJH February 13, 2013 at 8:08 am

Punctuation is your friend.

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Danielle August 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Does anyone know if you can freeze the jars of applesauce after doing the water bath?

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Jessie D September 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Why bother freezing them? If you have properly canned them, they are shelf stable without freezing. Freezing them in jars, you risk breaking the jars as the water in the sauce expands and pushes on the glass.

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Kathy July 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

I had apples in the freezer and cooked them down to make apple sause, can I now freeze the apple sauce?

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Emily July 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

Definitely! This would be like using frozen strawberries to make freezer jam. I plan on making freezer applesauce today, too!

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Michele December 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

I make applesauce whenever I have too many CSA apples and they are getting to be less than ideal for eating fresh. I just use whatever variety I happen to have. But I don’t cook them anywhere near as long as it seems most have been talking about here. I put about 5 apples in a small sausepan with about 1/2 cup and only cook them for 8 minutes at a soft boil. Then I use a potato masher. I like that they are soft but still have a little body (like the expensive chunky brands you can buy at the store). I don’t add any sugar or spices because I think the apples are sweet enough on their own and I like the natural taste. Besides, anywhere you can cut sugar is a good thing. And being less sweet makes them better serving as a side dish at dinner. I make them in small batches to eat right away so I don’t know how well this approach would do in large batches for preserving.

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Donielle October 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Love this idea. I had said I was not canning this year, but I’m feeling inspired with the cool weather upon us now. I saw a post elsewhere that mentioned freezing cut up apples in pie plates then transferring to bags once frozen. Makes for easy pie making. Sounded great. I am going to do this freezer apple sauce for sure!! Here in Spokane, WA we have Green Bluff local growers 15 minutes from home. I just took my daughter there today and we picked Italian Prunes and Apples. Can’t wait to try this applesauce method. As for getting it out of the little bags, simply cut the bottom corner off and squeeze into a bowl…what a snap! Thanks for sharing!

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Loretta July 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I also freeze apple pie filling. Just mix your ingredients and freeze. When you need a pie in a hurry, just pull a bag out of the freezer, thaw, put it in the pie crust ( home made or store bought) and bake it. Really easy and much quicker than having to get all the elements together at one time. Enjoy.

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Emily from Frugal Living NW July 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Thanks for the tip, Loretta! I am really hoping to get on that this year! My sister freezes the bags of apple pie filling in her pie dish so it’s already in the right shape when she is ready to use it.

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Tammy August 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Emily, thank you so much for your advise and tips on your website! We are a family of 11. Nine children. I have been going to your website a lot to get ideas on how to save money. We live across from an apple orchard! We are going to be making applesauce to put in the freezer for the winter.
Once again, Thanks!

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Liz Koetje October 11, 2011 at 6:38 am

I’m not sure I should let the cat out of the bag, but here goes … Every once in a while Portland Fruit Company (just behind Grocery Outlet on Division in Gresham) has bruised apples for $5 a box. Yes, an entire box of apples for $5. Of course they are various kinds of apples, but when simmered and spiced and yummy, who cares? It’s always delicious.

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Ann-Marie January 3, 2011 at 9:06 am

Here is a tip I got from a friend of mine (thanks, Lacey!) – if you use more than one kind of apple, you don’t need to sweeten your applesauce, it’s plenty sweet enough. I used fuji and golden delicious for some this year, and the flavor was much better for eating than the sauce I made with just fujis. My fuji sauce I’m saving for cooking. Next year I’m going to mix fujis, gala, and golden delicious.

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charolyn March 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Similarly, and even more sweet, I add a few pears-first as they add more juice & you don’t have to add water, and then it is nicely sweetened without sugar also.

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Maggie December 13, 2010 at 11:23 am

I didn’t bother peeling my apples this year, and I didn’t fully core them (just removed the stems and seeds). I read an article that indicated there is pectin in the cores that helps the mixture thicken. The applesauce was delicious. I added a small amount of apple cider vinegar and cinnamon.

I also used my crock pot to cook down the mixture overnight to make apple butter. I did add a bit of sugar, nutmeg, and more cinnamon. It is delicious.

Canning is very easy and you don’t need a pressure cooker. Instead, use a large pot with a lid and process for 20 minutes or so. You can find directions online.

Good luck – thanks for your blog!

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Aimee July 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm

This was very easy for me. I used the crock pot also and just used a big old pot to can them!

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Misty November 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm

So this is way late but I had to do something with all of the organic apples I bought from Freddy’s a couple of weeks ago (oh and all the apples I had big plans for making caramel apples with) and finally remembered someone had sent me this link. Thought there might be something in it useful to you. Hopefully there is. Maybe not for this year since your post is almost a month old but hey there’s next year :)

http://www.utahdealdiva.com/2009/10/ideas-on-using-preserving-apples.html

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Tami Bernard October 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

I just bought the same “apple peeler corer” at Ross for $13.99! I love it…one of the best inventions ever!

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Rose October 10, 2010 at 10:08 am

I don’t feel it makes any sense to freeze applesauce. It takes up way to much space in the freezer. I have a freezer full of freezer jam that is never cooked, so it taste more like you are eating fresh fruit. That is the secret. If you cook your jam or make applesauce, just can it. It is very simple and hardly takes any extra time,
also if you happen to get a large amount of apples at a special deal like 25 cents a pound, like I did several months ago with the best granny smith apples I have ever tasted, You can store it for a much longer time that in the freezer

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Emily October 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Rebecca did a great post on that topic last October.
Go here for the steps/recipe:
http://www.frugallivingnw.com/frugal-living/frugal-homemaking/in-the-kitchen/canning-apples/

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Michelle October 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Canning applesauce is super easy. I don’t have to search through a cold freezer for it, and it really doesn’t take much more time than freezing does. It really is worth canning if you go through the sauce like we do. Then, you don’t have to wait for it to thaw when you need it NOW! I have lots of neighbors who give me cull apples for cookies. One year, I got a whole bin full (10 boxes) and I made applesauce, dried apples, chicken food, pie, apple crisp, canned pie filling and lunches with it. I love my neighbors.

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Cali October 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Do you have a good recipe for canned pie filling? I would love to try that!

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shelly October 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

We make apple/pear sauce. There is no need to add any sugar as the pears make the sauce sweeter. I did this one year when we had some pears and apples left and so I made a batch and have been canning it ever since.
Also is the everyday deals is on 174th and Powell? I guess I don’t know where that one is? I thought they were on 172nd and Division? Am I getting them mixed up? I was told by my neighbor about another everyday deals on Stark street out by Rick’s Fencing about 190th?

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Kimberly October 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm

It is Division. The Eagle Outlet is on Powell, though.

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Ann-Marie January 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

What kind of apples do you use? I usually get fugis and golden delicious for my sauce, but apple/pear sauce sounds soooo good. I want to try some next year!

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Sara October 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

We just moved to Oregon from NC and I am loving all the apples….I am not a huge applesauce fan but I am planning on making a ton of baked apple chips. You just slice them super thin (a mandolin helps), lay out on parchment lined baking sheets in a single layer, and bake at a really low temp for a while. I leave the skins on to keep the fiber. You can also sprinkle with cinnamon, etc before baking (lots of online recipes). I bake then until totally dry and crisp and store at room temp in baggies. SO yummy!

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Cali October 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Sara, you don’t use a food dehydrator?

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Tammie Haley October 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I’ve been making freezer apple sauce for years! We eat a lot in the winter. When making the applesauce I will sometimes add some peaches, plums or pears. It all depends on if I have something over ripe that I need to use. It give the applesauce an even more complex taste. My boys often brag that their mom makes the best apple sauce. I have bought large boxes of apples out in Estacada for $7 -$10 per box. These were the heritage apples so you never know what kind you will get. I usually get a mixed bag because we like the mixture of flavors. I’ve also run into bags of apples that were sold at $0.49 per pound.

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Elise October 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

What do you consider a good price for apples during the “season of apples”?

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Emily October 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

If you head out to the orchards, you’ll find prices anywhere from around .30/lb – $1+/lb, depending on the variety. I usually buy a mix. I also factor in the source when purchasing produce. If I am directly supporting the farmer, I am willing to pay more than in, say, Winco’s produce section.

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Kristi October 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I actually have a video about canning applesauce on my website if you’re interested in learning how to do it!

http://www.courageoushomekeeping.com/featured/canning-applesauce-101/

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Melinda October 8, 2010 at 9:11 am

We are planning on making some applesauce today! I bought some organic honeycrisp apples for $.29/lb at Everyday Deals on 174th and Powell. They aren’t in the best shape but who cares for applesauce. We also have an apple-peeler-corer thing and the kids love to help with that and they also turn the food mill. Canning applesauce is just like canning peaches, super easy. It just depends on your freezer space. I bought some plastic Ball freezer tubs at Big Lots and froze a bunch of applesauce in those. I imagine regular plastic containers like Ziploc could be used as well.

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Juli October 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I went there about an hour ago and they had gotten another shipment in. Now they have Jonagolds. They are so, so delicious. He was asking $5.79 for a box! Thanks so much for the heads up. I can’t wait to get started!!!

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Holly October 8, 2010 at 8:33 am

Canning applesauce is super easy. I have a “Back To Basics” food strainer so you don’t even have to peel or core the apples. Just quarter them, cook till soft, stick in the food strainer. The peel, core, seeds come out one end, the sauce comes out another. Put it in jars and process. I don’t ever add anything. If I open a jar and decide I want a little kick, I can add it then. If you don’t have this kind of food stainer I think you are the kind of person who would love it.

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Kathi October 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

I have the same thing and SWEAR by it, makes the process SO much easier and faster. I hate peeling apples! On the plus side, the kids love to help by turning the crank on the food strainer.

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Michelle October 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

Emily where do you buy your Gravenstein apples and whats a good price?

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Emily October 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I bought these from Mt. View just outside Hood River. I paid around .75/lb for them. If you pick your own, it’s closer to .50/lb. Ordinarily for things like cider or apple sauce, buying by the box is a better deal. They don’t have to look pretty and are quite a bit cheaper. I’d prefer to pay closer to .30-.50/lb. when I need a bunch.

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Michelle October 11, 2010 at 8:14 am

Do you know if they spray their apples?

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Diana October 8, 2010 at 8:22 am

I’d never thought about freezing applesauce. Freezer space is too much of a premium. Canning applesauce is super easy because all you need is a boiling water bath. Won’t take up your freezer space and when you open it, it’s already in a container (I would find scooping applesauce out of a bag a bit messy…)

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Emily October 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Oops. I didn’t make that very clear. I only froze the 1/2 cup portions in freezer bags. The sweetened applesauce went into plastic containers.
My chest freezer is filling up. I’m totally going to try canning applesauce next week!

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Sandra Clayton September 18, 2014 at 2:23 am

I freeze applesauce, apple slices and apple butter – in the freezer bags. They always come out tasting great. I just run hot water over the bag and slide the contents out. Simple.

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marilou Lacy March 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Put the finished sauce ( I use kitchen aid attachment) in a plastic freezer bag then lay flat on metal pan. After freezing the bags can be stacked and take up very little freezer room. My family loved eating the sauce half frozen. I always just cut the bag and peeled off the frozen sauce.

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