When you want to know how to store apples correctly, you should look at several factors.
Certain of these factors include the apple variety you’re looking at keeping for extended periods. Other aspects involve the harvest time and method of picking the apples.
Similarly, you need to know how to store apples properly by accounting for storage methods, humidity, and temperatures. It is also vital to separate damaged apples from those without blemishes if you want to enjoy the harvest for up to six months.
Further issues to be aware of when you need to know how to store apples include keeping them apart from other produce.
However, once you arm yourself with vital knowledge about the storage process of apples, you can enjoy multiple benefits of this delicious, crisp deciduous fruit.
Types Of Apples
Apples are delicious, crisp, deciduous fruits that are available in a diverse range of varieties.
People have been using apples for centuries to eat fresh, bake pies, make sauces, and many more reasons. They are full of juicy goodness, which is why it is essential to know how to store apples to eat out of season.
Choosing the correct apples for storage is vital if you want to preserve their fresh crispy texture. Once you know which varieties store the best, you can choose which apples to grow or buy for this purpose.
Mostly, apple varieties that ripen in August are not as suitable for winter storage as those that mature in October. For apples that ripen later in the growing season, the better they store, giving you a rich supply of fresh deciduous fruit through the winter months.
Here is a list of the best winter varieties that store well:
Cox’s Orange Pippin
Rome Beauty (Red Rome)
There are many more apple varieties. But this selection represents those that are readily available.
If you’re still learning how to store apples, you’ll need to know more about how harvesting impacts their storage life and which varieties are better suited to short and long storage periods.
Does Harvesting Method Matter?
To determine the proper harvesting methods for apples, you must check the growing phases of the apple type. Apple varieties mature at various times, so it is essential to research this issue to ensure that you increase their storage life by picking them at the correct time.
Even after researching growing phases, you will still need to get up to speed about maturation dates as these alter depending on various weather and soil conditions. Once you have all this knowledge, you can explore the harvesting methods to learn how to store apples for extended shelf life.
In the interim, summer apple varieties like Jonagold and Honeycrisp mature in August and September. Once the apples are crisp and firm, they are ready for harvesting.
An obvious way to check whether apples are ready to harvest is to taste them. If they have the flavor they are known for (sweet or tart), they’re ripe for picking. But pick them too soon, and they will be too sour or unpalatable. In contrast, pick them late, and they may have an unpleasant mealy texture.
If the apples freeze due to the sudden onset of chilly weather, allow them to thaw naturally on the tree before harvesting. If they are still crisp, you can eat or store them immediately, but if they’re soft and brown, they are not fit for consumption.
To harvest the apples, pick them cautiously from the tree. Their skins and fruit should be firm, and both should have good color. Pick the apples and include the stem when harvesting. Sift through the collection and separate the healthiest apples from those with marks or indications of disease.
Also, separate the large and small apples because the smaller ones store better. You can eat the large apples or use them in cooking and baking to prevent waste.
When learning how to store apples for long shelf life, ensure that you remove the bad apples or those with marks. Keeping those with marks will affect the others because apples produce an ethylene gas which ripens them quicker. Bad apples will cause the others to ripen sooner and spoil the whole bunch.
It doesn’t particularly matter how you harvest apples for storage, as long as you pick and handle them delicately once they’re ripe. Any damage done in the harvesting process will hasten their ripening and decrease or negate long storage.
The best way to avoid damage to apples is to harvest them with caution. Once you’ve picked the apples, then correctly storing them will also limit the damage.
You can choose how to store apples by exploring diverse options. You can either keep them in boxes or baskets that have good airflow between the fruits and line these containers with foil to ensure moisture retention or store them in plastic bags.
If you choose to keep the apples in plastic bags, make holes in the bags to allow the ethylene gas to escape.
Ideally, you should store the apples in a cool place such as a pantry, climate-controlled area in the home, or the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. Inserting packaging between the apples will also help prevent bruising and rotting while in storage.
If you simply have too many apples to eat, then share them with friends or donate them to anyone in need. Alternatively, you can also donate excess produce to organizations or farms where the animals will enjoy them. Another way to store apples is to can them for future use.
How to store apples for a long shelf life of up to six months requires the ideal temperature. After harvesting the apples, rinse them, allow them to dry, and separate them by size, ensuring that you do not store damaged ones with the ripe fruit.
Store the apples at a temperature of 30 to 32°F. If you store them at a warmer temperature of around 50°F, they will ripen at least four times quicker. If you wish to consume some apples sooner, you can store them at both temperatures, but cooler temperatures extend their lifespan.
If possible, keep some space between the apples and check them regularly to see whether any are developing bad spots. If apples are rubbing together in storage, this can hasten ripening due to the ethylene gas they emit, which will spoil the entire batch.
Another factor that you should consider is that the temperature should remain constant when you store apples. If you repeatedly open and close doors, you allow warmer air to enter the storage area, impacting how quickly they ripen.
Too much interference with the storage temperature will also influence the quality of the fruit, resulting in an unpleasant floury texture.
You must store apples at a specific relative humidity level if you want them to enjoy a long shelf life.
Ideally, how to store apples correctly requires humidity levels of 90 to 95 percent. At these levels of humidity, your apples continue to receive sufficient moisture to preserve their crisp, delicious flavor.
Other than storing apples in the refrigerator, cold storage, or pantries, they also store well in basements and cellars that have good ventilation. Similarly, if your car garage fits the specs on how to store apples appropriately, then use this option.
If you don’t use heating in the garage and meet the other storage needs of apples to ensure long shelf life, the garage is definitely an option if you don’t have additional suitable space.
Apples and Other Fruits
Finding out everything you need about how to store apples includes storing them separately from other fruits. The ethylene gas in apples causes them to ripen quicker, and if you keep apples near other fruits or vegetables, the same thing will happen.
You’ll end up with rapidly ripening produce that will be far too much to consume. Unfortunately, this rapid ripening factor will also negate the entire reason for learning how to store apples.
What’s the point of having a regular supply of apples for six months if they and other stored produce ripen simultaneously?
There isn’t a good reason, so you must store apples away from other fresh produce if your goal is to have fresh produce stores for months to come.
Now that you appreciate how to store apples, you can get cracking with your new project. Store this fruit well, and you will have a massive supply of fresh produce for up to half a year.
For anyone who enjoys gardening and baking, you can also preserve and stew this fruit. You can make pies, delicious apple sauces, and chutneys as just some idea of the benefits of storing apples for the long term.
However, if you’re enthusiastic about storing and preserving other fruits and vegetables, always keep apples separate as the ethylene gas they produce will spoil other produce.
Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.