It’s full swing apple season right now and if you can get your hands on some fresh local varieties in bulk, then apple storage can be great way to provide fresh fruit for most of the winter. To delay the ripening process apples do best at 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit with around 90% humidity. Unfortunately most newer homes, apartments and condos don’t usually have the appropriate type of space with these conditions. However, there are some steps you can take to creating the proper environment for storing fresh apples long term. Here are some ideas and tips:
If you don’t have a root cellar, consider an unused refrigerator or deep freeze in an unheated garage. Make sure to use shelves and leave some air space between layers to allow for air circulation.
Use crates layered and surrounded with hay or straw. This will keep them insulated and fresh even in an unheated garage, protected porch, or outbuilding.
Use a cooler. Layer strips of cardboard between the apples and store in a corner or the garage, a protected porch, or a basement. Leave the little spout that lets the water out open so that gasses can be released.
Sink an old deep freeze, refrigerator, cooler, or bucket into the ground (as pictured) so that the top opens at ground level.
Keep small quantities in plastic bags with holes in them for ventilation. These you can fit right in your refrigerator.
Dig a hole in the ground, line with straw or hay and layer apples in it. Cover the hole with a board or tarp, removing only when you need a few apples.
Only store fresh, unbruised fruit. The saying “one bad apple spoils the bunch” is true!
Apple varieties that store for 4-5 months include: Stayman, Winesap, Granny Smith, Rome, Turley, Fuji, Mutsu, Northern Spy, Chieftain, and Melrose.
Ones that store for 3-4 months include: Red and Golden Delicious, Empire, Priscilla, Idared, and Enterprise.
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