Although the apple didn’t originate in America and pie was not any American invention, apple pie has come to be associated with patriotism and the American way of life. It could be argued that early Americans perfected thick, juicy apple pie during the cold winter months. Cutting and storing the apples for winter pies during the early American days involved drying or canning, but modern kitchens offer a quicker, easier way to store apples.
Select fresh, firm apples that are free of bruises, blemishes or insect damage. Remove the stem and any foliage attached. (See Resources for types of apples.)
Wash the apples in cold water to remove pesticide residue or soil.
Peel the apples with a paring knife or apple peeler. If you're using a paring knife, remove only a thin layer of peel to prevent wasting the fruit.
Slice the apples into ½-inch pieces, using care not to cut into the core of the apple.
Blanch by dropping 6 cups of sliced apples into 1 gallon of boiling water. Return the water to a boil, and boil the apple slices for 1½ minutes. Although apples do not require blanching, the University of Maine Extension recommends it to preserve flavor.
Plunge the apple slices into ice water for another 1½ minutes. Remove the apples and drain any excess water.
Place the apples in a large bowl. Add ½ cup sugar per every 1 qt. of apples and stir to evenly coat the slices with sugar.
Fill pint or quart freezer bags with apple slices. Squeeze out excess air and seal. Place on a level surface in the freezer.