If you hit up a cheap country farmstand or went apple picking this fall, you may have come away with a bounty of apples. You may, like us, be wondering how to keep these apples fresh for as long as you can. Here's what our local apple farmer told us about storing apples for the winter.
• For every 10 degrees above 30°F, the apples' lifespan decreases dramatically.
• You do not want the apples' temperature to fall below 30°F, however, because that will make them freeze and turn to mush when they're thawed. Their cell walls will all collapse.
• Therefore, apples are best stored somewhere around 30-35°F, in a humid environment.
• If storing apples in the fridge, place them inside a crisper drawer and lay a slightly dampened paper towel on top of the apples.
A little more research also taught us that apples are one of the few fruits that really do benefit from being stored in the fridge as quickly as possible. Keep them in the crisper drawer with aforementioned damp paper towel, or else keep them in perforated plastic bags in a cold shed or cellar.
We also discovered the truth of that old adage: "One bad apple rots the whole bunch." Apples give off a lot of ethylene gas, and so just one bruised and rotting apple will give off enough to swiftly ripen (and rot) the others. If you have any bruises or soft spots on an apple, set it aside for eating. Don't store with the other apples.
Ultimately, if you're planning on storing a lot of apples for the winter, look for firm, long-lasting apples. These are usually thick-skinned, tart apples. We have had great success with Rome apples; they lasted into February one year. Melrose, Fuji and Granny Smith are other examples of winter apples that will last well into the early spring when stored properly.
Have you ever stored apples, squash, or other harvest bounty through the winter?
Related: Eat Cheap: Farmstands in the Country
(Image: Faith Durand)