Are you lucky enough to have an apple tree or access to inexpensive apples? One way of storing them for year-round use is by freezing them. If you prepare them properly, your apples should keep well frozen for several months and not taste dried-out or bitter when thawed.
Here are a few different ways to successfully freeze apples.
Freeze Whole Apples
Wash the apples thoroughly. Then, freeze them whole and unpeeled on a cookie sheet. Transfer the apples to freezer bags once they're completely frozen. Don't put them in the bag before freezing them or you'll end up with a giant frozen apple clump that will be difficult to store and to thaw.
Freeze Apple Slices
Peel, core, and slice the apples to your preferred size. Then, freeze them on a cookie sheet and transfer them to freezer bags once they're frozen. This will keep the pieces from sticking together, so you'll be able to pull out just the pieces you need later.
Freeze Apple Pie Filling
Peel, core and slice apples to whatever size you prefer. Then, sweeten with sugar and spices to use as pie filling. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar all work well, as does vanilla extract. Place the apples into pie plates that have been lined with plastic wrap. Then transfer them to freezer bags once frozen.
To use your frozen apple pie filling, simply drop the frozen apples into a pie crust, cover them with dough, and cook (remember to ventilate your top crust!). There's no need to thaw the apples first.
You'll probably need to bake your pie about 20 minutes longer if using frozen apples, but it won't take any longer to bake than a frozen pie from the grocery store.
To avoid browning, dip the apple slices in lemon juice, saltwater or an ascorbic acid solution prior to freezing. You can also pack them in sugar syrup or blanch them for a minute or two to stop the enzyme action that causes browning.
Uses for Frozen Apples
Any type of apple can be frozen. Frozen apples can be used to make apple butter, applesauce, jam, jelly, pies, cakes, cobblers, baked apples, and other baked or cooked dishes. If you're too busy to do a bunch of canning and preserving now, just get your apples in the freezer, so they'll be there when you have more time to work with them.
Since freezing changes the texture of apples, they aren't really suited for eating raw.
Some spices lose their potency when frozen, so you may find that it works best to add your pie spices just prior to baking, instead of before freezing them.
If you're not big on canning, you can freeze your homemade apple butter and applesauce until you're ready to use it. Just be sure to pack it in freezer-safe jars or containers, so they don't crack.