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How to Use Bruised and Shriveled Apples

Guest post by Jackie at Mom on a Mission

Several years ago, I would have thrown away these mushy looking, bruised, shriveled apples, thinking they were unedible. Today, I’m always thinking creatively in the kitchen. What can I do with this unappetizing food to make it more appealing? In this economy, this is beneficial to my pocketbook.

I have a handy dandy slicer/corer, peeler for apples. I can’t live without this kitchen tool. I use it everyday during apple season. I can’t tell you the number of hours it has saved me in the kitchen. They suction to your counter, they peel, core and slice at the same time. I love it.

You can usually find these for less than twenty dollars at Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon. I found this one at an outlet store for ten dollars, no coupon. I snatched two and gave one away as a gift.

I started with this tool on my poor apples. Most made it through the process, but the mushier ones I had to hand peel to get the rest of the skin off. Then I diced these into cubes.

I brought the apples to a boil with a lid on my stove. I didn’t want to overcook them so I kept a close eye on them while they cooked. I reduced the heat once they boiled. I cooked them until they were fork tender (about five minutes). I didn’t want them to be mushy so I kept them somewhat firm.

I then shocked them with cold water and rinsed in the colander.

After they were fully cooled, I spooned (with a 1/2-cup measuring cup) into a pint-size labeled freezer bag and laid them flat in the freezer.

Ways to Use Frozen and Cubed Apples:

* Add cinnamon, sugar or honey, and mash for chunky applesauce.
* Toss frozen apples in a smoothie.
* Drain well and sandwich between crescent dough and bake for homemade apple pies.
* Pile a bunch in a pie crust or make a mini-apple pie.
* Toss some in hot oatmeal.
* Make apple cinnamon muffins.
* Make apple cake.
* Puree and use as a substitute for oil in your next recipe.

Jackie Brown, is a Mom on a Mission, freezer cooking meals for her family while opening her arms to the poor and needy. She daily blogs how to save money, time and energy through freezer cooking.

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  • Great ideas!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Jessica says:

    I used up a bunch and made two yummy apple crisps for my family. They were icky for eating but super yummy in my apple crisp. I used splenda and splenda brown instead of sugar to make it slightly healthier.

  • I used ours to make applesauce in the crockpot. The house smelled absolutely amazing!!!
    Then I boiled the peels and cores, using the juice to make apple jelly 🙂
    Did I mention that the house smelled amazing!

    Here are links to both:

  • Chelsea says:

    they would be amazing in crepes as well for a tasty breakfast or dessert!

  • Charlotte says:

    Is there anything you don’t know how to do?…Love it!! =0)

  • Gina says:

    This is really helpful!

  • Wendi S says:

    Would this, made into an apple pie, turn out OK with apples that are not normally baking apples? I usually keep red delicious or gala on hand for snacking and don’t know if they are good for baking.

    • You can use just about any type of apple for pie – in fact, a mix of different apples makes a great pie. We have a small orchard out back, about 40 different apple varieites, and I’ve yet to make a pie with any type of apple that we didn’t like. 🙂 Just…NOT crabapples! 😉

    • Amanda says:

      I didn’t know there was a specific baking apple, interesting.

      • Heather says:

        Some apples are very sour, and therefore most people prefer them baked in a dish so sugar can be added. Also, some varieties hold their shape better when cooked – ie., you don’t end up with an applesauce pie. But those rules are made to be broken!

  • theresa says:

    How do you make the crescent dough apple pie? Are they individual like a calzone?

  • Patty says:

    I had a box of apples that looked like that. I cored them, left the peel on, and rough chopped them. I tossed them into a stockpot with a couple of splashes of apple juice and a shake of cinnamon. I let them cook down and then mashed them with a potato masher. The result was a chunky, full-bodied, “rustic” applesauce.

  • Angie D says:

    Hey! There’s our answer to the Morning Glory muffins! They must not get gross in the freezer! With grated carrots and apple chunks in the freezer, there is no prep work. I am doing this for sure and bringing some over. =) I usually have trouble getting the mushy apples to work with the apple peeler/corer/slicer. She must know something I don’t or have more patience.

  • Mandy says:

    Such great ideas. My kids aren’t big fruit eaters, and I’m always trying to figure out what to do with leftover, over-ripe fruit and ALWAYS trying to come up with creative ideas to get my picky kiddos to eat MORE fruit, thanks for the ideas! 2 questions: When are apples considered in season, and would that slicer/peeler/corer tool work on pears? Thanks!

    • Rachel says:

      Apples are in season in the fall (end of August through early October around here in Iowa). When it freezes, then the apples are done being able to be picked, however, they do make good apple cider after they freeze.

      Check to see if there’s someone in your area has apple trees that they want picked. Orchards are usually more expensive to get apples from versus individuals and most people with apple trees end up giving their extras away or you don’t have to pay very much.

      Fallen apples (those that fall off of the tree and hit the ground) can be made into applesauce as long as you cut out the bruised portion and then peel, core, cut up,cook, and mash into sauce. You can freeze or can apple sauce and it will last a long time – at least a year.

      I have an apple peeler, corer, slicer, and you need to have hard fruit like apples for it to work. I think ripe pears might be too mushy to use.

      • Christi says:

        What is the best way you have found to clean your apple peeler, corer, slicer? ( If you have the same one that was shown in the picture).

        Thanks for your response!


    • Andrea says:

      I don’t think the peeler will work on ripe pears. They would just turn to mush.

  • Marianne says:

    I’ve thrown away more apples recently then I want to admit.

    My nan used to make the best apple sauce ever (seriously). She used to make it special every time I came over, it was served ice cold. I used to watch her do it and the apples that she used were, well — not the cream of the crop. She’s been gone now for over 10 years now, I really should start fiddling around with apple sauce in the kitchen to see if I can get something at least somewhat comparable to her apple masterpeices.

  • Rachel says:

    This also works just to peel, core and slice into pieces with out the cooking portion. Just pop into freezer bags and freeze until you are ready to use. Can be used for any type of cooking or baking, just thaw and drain off any excess juice. My mom has done this for years and so do I. I’ve made muffins, cakes, breads, pies, crisps, sauce…mmm! It’s almost apple season here and I can’t wait. I have one bag of frozen apples left from last fall. Time to restock my freezer for the next year!

    • Rachel, do you put any sort of “preservative” on them, or just freeze them completely fresh? I think that’s the route I’d rather go. I can’t think of what that stuff is called- “FruitAll” or something like that.

      • amy says:

        If you’re worried about discoloration, just soak them in some lemon juice water. (You really only need a little bit of juice.). This will keep them white in the freezer. No extra product needed. Its probably just citric acid anyway.

  • Every morning, I have oatmeal w chopped apples and a drizzle of honey. I think these would work well for that.

  • jacki says:

    u can use them by coring &i slicing tthen frying w/ a bit of butter cinnamon &brown sugar til soft at last min add (optional) caramel ice craem topping. daughters fave way to use older apples!

  • Katie says:

    I just canned 7 quarts of applesauce and put up 9 pies’ worth of filling today! All from my less-than-perfect homegrown apples! 🙂

  • Ruth James says:

    I am like alot of you…not wanting to waste a penny that I have invested in food….like the apples here.

    Such good ideas, the little list really helps…….we could use a little helpful hint idea for any other old fruit! Thanks in advance!

  • marcie says:

    Did this same thing today with some bruised pears that I purchased on the reduced rack at the market. Love homemade pear sauce!

  • lindsey says:

    I save all cores, peels and shrivelled apples in the freezer and about twice ayear I use them to make apple jelly. Since pectin is made from apples, this recipe requires no pectin to firm up; if it does not firm up to your liking, use for apple syrup.


    Apple cores and peels
    Lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon of butter (this quells the foaming action).

    Put the cores and peels in a large non-reactive pot, adding enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, until the apple remains are soft.

    Put the fruit and cooked juice into a jelly strainer. If you don’t have that piece of equipment, use a piece of doubled cheese cloth that is large enough that after it is filled the sides can be gathered together and suspended from your kitchen sink spigot and the juices can fall into a bowl below. (I have tied the filled cheesecloth bag to the thick handle of a wooden spoon, balancing each end of the spoon on a 24 pack of soda. Crude, but effective.) You may be tempted to use a strainer, but don’t: what helps the draining is the weight of the suspended bag, which will be absent with a colander. Also, the holes are so large that a lot of pulp will pass through, destroying the clarity of the jelly. Squeezing the cheesecloth or jelly strainer will also cloud the jelly.

    Leave things to drip for at least five hours, or as long as overnight. Discard the peels and cores, and measure how much juice you have. You will want 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and one cup of sugar for every cup of juice—but hold off on adding the sugar.

    For each cup of juice, add two tablespoons of lemon juice and bring the mixture to a boil. Then rapidly add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves; at this point add any spices or Red Hots. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring frequently, until the jelly reaches its set point. Periodically skim off and discard any foam that has formed.

    Check to see if the set point has been reached (which should take about 10 minutes). The easiest is to use a candy thermometer—when it reaches 218 degrees, the set point has been reached. (Normally set point happens at 220 degrees, but fruits that are naturally pectin rich set sooner.)

    When the set point has been reached and you are ready to can, pack the hot jelly into warm half pint jars; in the meantime, the flat lids and screw tops should be simmering in water. Fill jars to 1/2 inch from the top the new rule is that if you are going to boil the contents for 10 minutes or more, you don’t need to sterilize the jars first. Remove air bubbles by running a thin spatula all around the inside of the jars. Wipe the rims of a jar with a clean damp cloth, and put on the flat and screw lids; repeat until you have closed all the jars. Submerge them in a boiling water canner that has enough boiling water in it that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the jars once you have them all in there. Cover. When the water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. When it rings, take off the lid and leave the jars in the water for 5 more minutes. Then remove the jars. Place them on a towel, so they are not in direct contact with a counter top or table, and leave for 24 hours. I usually count as the sucking sound that signals a vacuum occurs, but you can simply wait until the 24 hours are over and run your finger lightly over each lid—there should be no bubble in the middle, but, rather, an indentation.

    If something happens and your jelly doesn’t jell, you can re-boil to the set temperature and re-can—just be sure to use new lids. Or, simply re-label it as apple garbage syrup and use in that form.

  • Yummy! I can’t wait to try this, although with our big eaters here, apples don’t usually get to the shriveled point. 🙂 I wash all of my apples in a natural, homemade (and frugal) rinse before using them. Here is the link.

  • Mandy says:

    Thanks for sharing! This is a great idea!!!! 🙂

  • Heather says:

    I make a lot of applesauce from very old, organic (neglected) apple trees in a farmer’s fence row. These apples are not at all pretty, but we eat a ton of applesauce (I think I did about 75-80 quarts of sauce) each year and I love that none of it has any pesticides on it! Apples are always high on the dirty dozen list and those ‘not perfect’ apples are perfectly safe for my babies!

    I just cut the apples in quarters, take off the stem and some of the seeds. Cut out any really terrible spots and worms (yes, that organic!) and throw it all in big pots with a bit of lemon juice and a bit of water. They cook until soft and then I run through an old canning colander. Sauce is jarred and water bathed and I do this for many, many nights until they are all gone. And we eat a ton of apple crisp and other yummy apple things during those times too! And if it is a big year we also turn the ‘extra’ sauce into apple butter and can that up.

    We are picking next Sat and I can. not. wait! We are eating the last jar right now and are anxious to let the canning of sauce begin!

  • I LOVE the mix in oatmeal idea. And for my favorite apple spice cake recipe. Thanks for sharing. I have an entire bag of organic apples I was given right before we left for Labor Day Camping so I am absolutely going to do something of this sort with them this week.

  • Nancy says:

    We have 2 apple trees that were full of apples until the squirrels ate them all this summer. 🙁 I make apple butter in a large crock pot using similar directions. After cooking the apples until soft, I puree them and fill the crock pot 3/4’s full. After cooking on low all night, I add spices, sugar and vinegar, remove the top, cook on high until desired thickness. The house smells divine! The mixture can be canned or frozen, but I normally give away most of it!

  • Jane says:

    We make applesauce every year this time of year from apples we pick by the side of the road. You can do it with them as mushy and bruised as you want – the mushy ones are actually sweeter.

    If you have a food mill it’s ridiculously easy. Cut the apples in fourths. No need to even take out the seeds, because the mill will do it. Fill a pot with apples and a few cups of water, cook on high until water boils, then put down to medium and cook until everything is mushy (about an hour). Run it through the foodmill and you have AMAZING applesauce, no sugar needed (but a little cinnamon helps).

    • Heather says:

      Amen on the food mill! Worth every penny. No need to peel, core, or even chop much. I just cut mine in half. Take out bad spots first, of course. It is an amazing time saver – I would never make applesauce with out it; I just don’t have the patience to sit there and do all that peeling and chopping.

  • Thanks for the ideas! I often have apples with one bite eaten (thanks 2 year old) and I end up tossing it. I’m sure I could cut out the yucky part and freeze the leftover.

  • Carole says:

    I remember my late stepfather saying that his mother seemed to like the challenge of doing something with a bunch of wormy , dried up looking apples. The worse they looked, the more she liked doing something tasty with them!

  • This is a neat idea. I usually use bruised apples in pies. Nobody is going to see the apples, lol. 🙂

  • mentalutopia says:

    I sautee shriveled apple with diced onion and some curry powder, add drained kidney beans or cooked lentils, a dollop of honey, maybe some raisins or fresh spinach, and serve over rice. Fast, cheap, and healthy!

  • Jess says:

    I don’t usually have more than one or two apples make it to the ‘old and mushy’ state, and then I toss them into the freezer for the next time I roast a whole chicken. Apple quaters stuffed up in the cavity make for the juiciest bird- the leg bones’ll twist right out of the meat if you aren’t careful carving. Works wonderful to keep a turkey moist and delicious too. I admit, I don’t know if the apple tastes any good when you do this because I add it in when I make stock from the bones later.

  • Jodi says:

    The other day I peeled and grated some apples and added to pancake mix with bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, quick cook oats and made apple-cinnamon pancakes. Yum! (I used the large holes on the grater)

  • Mandy says:

    If you are on the East Coast, I just noticed that “Christmas Tree Shops” has an apple peeler/corer like the one pictured for $7.99 =) Totally going to buy one tomorrow lol. Thanks for all the great tips! Apple season has already begun here and apples are so cheap right now!

  • Aberline says:

    I save my cores and peels (anything with flesh on it) and make a big batch of “cider.” I guess it is more of a tea. I throw in all the apple waste I’ve saved (I usually do this after peeling several apples for a pie, but I also keep a bag of waste in the freezer year round) into a pot of water and simmer until it tastes full strength. Then throw in some nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, and strain out the debris.

  • I haven’t read the other comments so maybe someone said this but I recently discovered the BEST applesauce recipe. Throw apples into your vitamix. The end.

    That’s it. A perfect raw food. My children love it. Once I threw in some blueberries and we had blueberry applesauce. Simple. Perfect.

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