Apples are common staple in most people’s diets, and we rely a lot on local grocer to provide them. They can be expensive when they're not in the season. Even for people who do grow apples, we can't eat apples when it's not the season.
But then how can you enjoy apples whenever you’d like?
Well, there are multiple ways you can store apple long-term. That way you can purchase or harvest them in season and make them last for a long term. And, if you are someone that prefers to shop weekly, there are also ways you can do to preserve your apples for a shorter period.
So let’s discuss how you can preserve your apples, eat fresh, and save some money along the way.
If you shop at your grocery store on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you are probably interested in how you can save some money on your grocery budget. The best way to save money is to not waste food.
So how do you not waste? You learn proper storage techniques so food doesn’t spoil too fast. For apples the storage techniques are pretty simple.
Here is how you properly store apples in order to prolong their life:
1. Don’t Cut Them
If you’ve ever packed apples in a bag for a lunch on the go, then you probably know that they turn brown and yucky very quickly unless you soak them in lemon juice first.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that if you are trying to store apples for the week that cutting them would produce the same effect. Which is why it is important to keep your apples whole as you store them.
Then when you are ready to eat them or pack them for lunch, you can slice them and take the proper steps to keep them from browning on you over the few hours between slicing and eating them.
2. Keep Them Cool
Apples do not like a lot of warmth. With the juices and warmer temperatures, you are basically asking for rot to happen. This is why it is important for you to store them in some place cool.
Now, this location could be a refrigerator, a root cellar, a cool corner in your pantry. Whatever space you have available that is cool.
However, it is not a good idea to try and store them in a freezer. This could damage the quality of the taste of the apple.
So keep these suggestions in mind as you hunt for a cooler location to store your apples for the wek.
3. Keep Them Apart
Apples are not a social fruit. That is kind of a joke, but seriously, they don’t like touching one another. The reason is that it can cause certain spots on the apples to go soft.
Then the softness leads to rot which leads to mold. Before you know it, your apples are ruined for the week.
So when storing apples keep this in mind so you can separate them. This could be as simple as storing them in a Crisper drawer in your fridge and making sure that they aren’t stacked.
Or you could even go so far as to wrap them in brown paper bags individually and stack them in your fridge. It is really up to you, but do try to keep them from laying right on top of one another.
Storing Larger Amounts of Apples
What if you are someone that likes to buy apples in bulk when they are in season? Or if you actually have a few apple trees? How do you go about storing that large amount?
Well, I’m glad you asked because there are ample amount of ways to store and preserve large quantities of apples at a time.
Here is how:
1. Pick the Right Kind
Did you know that some apples are better for storing than others? It is true! Crazy, right?
So when you decide to grow apples (which takes a few years, FYI) or if you are purchasing apples in bulk, you need to keep this in mind. You’ll want to pick an apple that is more tart and has a thicker skin. An example of this would like a Granny Smith apple. I love those!
But you would not want to choose an apple like a Golden Delicious because they are sweeter and have a thinner skin.
Obviously, the thicker skin is going to protect the apple more thoroughly. Also, the less sweet the apple is then the less sugars you have to break down the apple leading to rot and mold.
2. Don’t Rub Elbows
Just like with storing apples on a short-term basis, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t allow the apple to touch when storing for longer a term. You can do this by storing them in wooden crates or boxes and using a layer of straw in between the apples.
Or you could wrap each apple individually in newspaper. The only thing to be aware if you use this method is to be sure that you don’t use paper with colored ink. Some of the colored inks still contain poisonous metals in the ink. This could be toxic to you.
3. No Beating Them Up
Apples bruise just like we do. If you hit them, it’ll leave a mark. So when handling your apples be sure to be easy on them. Whenever you bruise the apple, it causes an indention and the skin becomes closer to the flesh of the fruit.
Well, the skin then sits there and sugars begin to break it down. Once the protective layer is gone, then organisms can begin to deteriorate the apple. This leads to rot and mold in your apples. Keep in mind that if you have fruits (or vegetables) that have mold on them and they touch other produce, the mold will spread and spoil your entire harvest.
So this is a big deal when it comes to storing your apples.
4. Cool and Dry is Key
I might as well go ahead and drop my huge bomb of news right in the middle of a blog post. We are actually putting our homestead up for sale and upgrading to a larger homestead. This is great news for you guys because the more land we have the more homesteading experiments I can do and share with you all!
But I said all of that to introduce my next point. You need a cool, dry location to store your apples. This can be found in the corner of a cool, dark pantry.
However, I found something this week when searching for our future homestead, that was amazing to me. If you are lucky enough to have a basement (which I’m hoping to in the near future) you can find a cool, dry corner in it and store your apples in boxes right there.
Now, you’ll need to wrap the apples individually, but you don’t get much easier than wrap them, place them in a box, and set the box in a corner!
But if you are like I am (currently), then you might want to consider creating a root cellar to store them in. What I’ve actually been known to do until we built our new bed, was store the apples under my old bed. It was dark and cool under there so it worked well.
However, you can store your apples in your attic over the cooler months. If you have a closed in porch, you could store them there as well over the colder months. Even if you don’t have a root cellar, you could dig a hole in the ground and store them there. We listed a few options for the hole in the ground in this article. See what you think!
You’ll get creative and find a spot. The important part is to make sure that you store them where it is cool and dry. You don’t want heat or moisture effecting your harvest.
5. Potatoes and Apples are NOT Friends
It needs to be mentioned, that where ever you store your apples that they need not be near potatoes. The reason is that as you store potatoes, they emit a gas. This gas is harmless for us to breathe, but it will spoil your apple harvest.
So when storing your apples, be sure to keep this in mind.
Now, some people say that you can’t even store them in the same root cellar. Then others say that you just need to store them with ample space in the same root cellar. I say, it is an experiment. There are many variables that could give these different results.
So depending upon the size of your root cellar, it could go either way. Either remain on the safe side and don’t store them in the same root cellar, or try it out and see what your own personal results are.
6. Preserve Them
Finally, if you just don’t want to put all of this effort into storing these apples for fear that they might spoil anyway then preserve them.
Now, there are multiple options for preservation. You can begin by canning the apples. This is pretty simple, and there are multiple different ways you can preserve them. You could make red-hot candied apples, apple pie filling, or even applesauce.
Next, you could freeze the apples. I do this every year when I get tired of canning. They are great to keep so when I want a quick side dish for dinner, I just throw them in the skillet add a little sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Then you have fried apples in no time flat.
If you're into canning, read our 60 favorite canning recipes.
Finally, you can dehydrate them. I do this every year too. They make wonderful Christmas gifts, and you can use them to make wonderful apple butter.
Plus, dehydrated apples are a really fun way to decorate your Christmas tree. It makes it smell wonderful too. Then you don’t have to worry about storing pricey ornaments each year, and you can make it a tradition of making apple ornaments every year. Creating memories and having fun too, you can’t beat that!
So as you can tell, preserving them may require a little more work upfront, but it makes the apples fast to use whenever you are ready, and you lessen your chances of spoilage.
Well, now you have a bunch of different options for storing your apples. Whether you are just trying to store them on a weekly basis to spend less time at the grocery store, or if you are looking to save a yearly harvest, hopefully one of these options will work for your situation.
But I’d like to know, how do you store your apples? Which method have you found to work the best? Do you have any special advice for those that might be new to storing apples in bulk? If you are preserving them, what is your favorite recipe or method to use?