How to Store Apples (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to store apples

Whether you want to save some for pies or warm cider, apples are versatile fruits to stock up on.

As such, knowing how to store apples successfully is the only ticket to enjoying these delicious goodies.

For both apple storage novices and experts, this comprehensive guide lets you in on the basics.

Let’s dive in!

How to Store Apples (In the Fridge)

Wondering on where to store apples? They thrive in a cool, controlled humid temperature.

What does this remind you of? A refrigerator! As such, refrigerate apples to extend their shelf life. The cool temperature mitigates ripening.

Nonetheless, not just any place in the fridge works. The vegetable crisper drawer is the most ideal location in the fridge for storing apples.

The downside to this is that it works best for few apples.

If you have excess apples, use any of the other storage methods described below.

How do you refrigerate apples? It is as easy as the following:

  • Place in perforated plastic bags. This prevents condensation which softens the skin.
  • Store away from unripe vegetables and fruits. Apples give off ethylene gas which causes ripening.

Do Apples Last Longer in the Fridge Or On The Counter?

Related: How Long Do Apples Last? (In The Fridge)

Related: 7 Popular Apple Types and Their Shelf Life

Sure, they will last longer in the fridge than on the counter. Leaving them on the counter hastens ripening.

This is especially the case if you live in warm temperate climates or during summer.

During fall or winter, you can leave apples on the counter, as long as they do not freeze.

What Is The Best Way to Store Apples For Winter?

Storing apples for winter takes into account the following:

  1. Variety of apples – each variety ripens at a different rate, hence separate them when storing. Additionally, look for ones with thick skin and firm flesh.
  2. Size – generally, smaller apples keep longer.
  3. Number of apples – in case you have a full harvest, try to capitalize on them by selling or giving out. Remain with a workable number that you can easily eat, cook with or preserve.
  4. Method of storage – the best way to store apples for winter involves these methods:

Method 1

  • Use apple crates, racks or cardboard boxes
  • Sort out your apples. Remove bruised or dented ones.
  • Wipe the crates or racks, as any dirt can cause spoilage.
  • If using racks, place each apple on its own. Never stack them since this causes browning and softening.
  • Apple racks allow air-circulation which keeps the fruits fresh.
  • If using crates or boxes, avoid deep, hollow ones. Use shallow crates so that the apples are in a single layer or two at most.
  • When using any of these apple storage containers, wrap each apple in wax paper. This not only keeps the apples fresh, it prevents spread of spoilage, in case some start to decay. Wrapping is also the best way to store apples without refrigeration and keep them crisp.

With proper execution, you will enjoy fresh apples throughout winter and subsequent months.

Store in your pantry, away from traffic, moisture and strong-smelling food stuffs.

Apples in a cardboard box

Method 2 – Root cellar, garage or shed

Due to the freezing winter temperatures, cold storage comes in handy. Nonetheless, don’t leave your apples to freeze. To achieve this, do the following:

  • Select winter-friendly varieties, preferably mid or late-season varieties. These include: Honeycrisp, Fuji, Granny Smith, Cameo or Ida Red. These can last for up to 6 months.
  • Some apple varieties like McIntosh and Lodi don’t keep well during winter. Avoid such.
  • Select apples that are in perfect condition. Blemished ones facilitate rot.
  • Store each variety separately.
  • Store apples in slatted wooden trays or racks. Space them out to allow air circulation. This also prevents softening of skin.

Alternatively, wrap each apple in paper as discussed above. This allows you to store them together without skin contact.

Whether you have a root cellar, garage or shed, ensure your location is well-ventilated, dark and frost-free.

When storing apples for winter, keep checking for ripened or spoiled ones regularly.

How to Store Apples Long-term

Besides storing apples for winter, you can opt to preserve and prolong their shelf life. Apples are versatile and can be used in diverse forms.

Here are practical ways on how to store apples for a long time:

Freeze apples

Frozen apples are awesome for pies, cobblers, turnovers or smoothies.

Here is how to freeze apples:

Method 1

  • Prepare ready-to-bake frozen fillings for pies or cobblers.
  • Clean, peel, core and slice apples.
  • Pour into a pan with water.
  • Add lemon juice – about ¼ cup, thickener and spices of your choice.
  • Simmer on low heat until stewed, but not mushy.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Transfer into airtight containers. Allow some head space due to expansion in the freezer.
  • Label, date and freeze.

Method 2

  • Wash, peel and core your apples.
  • Slice evenly into medium-sized pieces – ¼ inch thick.
  • Coat and toss well with lemon juice.
  • Line a baking sheet or tray with parchment paper.
  • Spread the slices on a single layer.
  • Flash-freeze until hardened.
  • Transfer them into Ziploc bags or airtight containers.
  • Alternatively, pack the slices in individual Ziploc bags, label, date and freeze.

Freeze at 0° and below. Well frozen apple slices last up to 1 year.

Canning apples

Properly canned items can last for several years under optimal storage conditions. If you are not a food preservation enthusiast, fret not!

Canning apples is not complicated. However, familiarize yourself with the dos and don’ts before trying at home.

When canning apples, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Clean, core and peel apples well.
  • Use apple slices or cubes for optimal results.
  • Sterilize and dry your mason jars.
  • Allow the cans to seal themselves during processing, don’t interfere.
  • Poorly sealed cans pose a risk for food poisoning. In case you encounter such, refrigerate and consume the contents immediately.
  • Store unopened canned jars in a cool, dry, dark place.

Preserve apples as jam, chutney, applesauce, juice or cider

Preserved apples
Apple preserves

With abundant apple supply, don’t let them rot away. Transform and enjoy them in various forms such as juice, cider, sauce or jam.

Here is a simple applesauce recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds apples
  • ½ cup water or apple juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

Method

  • Wash, peel and core the apples.
  • Slice or chop into chunks.
  • In a pan, add apples, water and lemon juice.
  • Simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Reduce until slightly thick.
  • Blend into your desired consistency.

How to store applesauce

If preparing canned applesauce, pour into jars while still hot and can. Once canned, store unopened cans in the pantry for up to 2 years.

If you don’t intend to can, allow the sauce to cool. Spoon into glass or mason jars.

Refrigerate or freeze.

How to Keep Apples From Turning Brown

  1. For sliced, peeled or cut apples, toss well in lemon or lime juice. Lemon juice prevents exposure to oxygen – oxidization, which causes browning. Place in airtight containers or Ziploc bags and refrigerate. Alternatively, wrap each piece in cling wrap before placing in storage containers.
  2. For whole apples, space them out during storage. Avoid stacking apples.

How to Store Chocolate-Covered Apples

  1. Line a container with parchment paper.
  2. Place each chocolate-covered apple piece and space them out.
  3. Alternatively, wrap each apple with parchment paper and store all of them in a container.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Final Thoughts on How to Store Apples

Knowing how to store apples effectively can save you trips to the market for months! Try out any of the above apple storage methods. Share with us how it all turned out.

 

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