Apples are quite possibly the world’s most famous fruit. An apple is anecdotally responsible for the theory of gravity. One is even the symbol of one of the world’s most successful tech companies. They’re as well-known as they are tasty. In the USA, 2,500 apple varieties are grown. It’s no wonder apple pie is considered “the” American desert. Whilst they’re delicious and full of vitamin C, fiber, and even boron, do you know how to store apples to get the most out of their shelf life?
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How to Store Apples
Can apples be kept on the countertop?
Whole apples – they certainly can. But this is only best if you plan on eating your apples within 2-3 days of buying them.
To store, make sure the countertop area is cool and dry. However, you absolutely must not store them close to other fruit and vegetables, especially oranges, bananas, avocados, and potatoes. The ethylene gas produced by these quickens the ripening process and will make them go bad very quickly.
You’ll also want to make sure other apples you store nearby are in good condition. The phrase, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” is true in both people and apples. This is because the riper something is, the more ethylene it produces. A bad or overripe apple will quicken the ripening process of other produce around it.
Also, try to make sure the apples don’t touch each other. In places where apples have touched each other, the area develops a soft spot, which can make them go bad quicker.
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Another thing to be aware of is that apples tend to take on the flavor and aroma of any strong smelling produce nearby. So, if you don’t like your apples tasting like onions, keep them as far away from these as possible.
Sliced apples – these are best stored in the fridge or freezer (see below)
Pulped apples – these are best stored in the fridge or freezer (see below)
Can apples be kept in the refrigerator?
Whole apples – apples keep perfectly fine in the fridge. Indeed, they keep quite well here for longer than they do on the countertop. This is great if you’ve bought a few more than you can eat in 2-3 days. They can be stored inside or outside a plastic bag. If you’re putting them in a bag, puncture some holes in it to ensure decent air circulation.
Like storing on the countertop, keep them away from other ethylene producing fruit and vegetables. To prevent the skins from touching each other, you can wrap them individually in newspaper or baking parchment. But, as putting them in the fridge slows down any ripening and rotting, this isn’t as imperative.
Furthermore, make sure your fridge is clean. Just like apples can pick up the taste of nearby onions, you definitely don’t want your apples tasting of unclean fridge!
Sliced apples – the trickiest thing about storing apples once they’ve been sliced is to stop them turning brown. The most tried and tested trick is to soak them in lemon juice for 2-3 minutes. Then, put them in a ziplock bag and place inside the fridge. Some people say that salt water, or even citrus-flavored soda, works even better.
However, you should remember that once you start to prepare any fruit or vegetables, their nutrient levels start to decrease rapidly. So, if you’re not going to eat your apples as soon as possible after you’ve sliced them, they’re not going to be as full of nutrients as they would be if you eat them immediately.
Pulped apples – once pulped, these should be placed in a zip-lock bag or a plastic container before being placed in the fridge. You can combine the pulp with some lemon juice to prevent it from going brown.
Can apples be kept in the freezer?
Whole apples – whilst this is possible, it isn’t advised. This is because the freezing process destroys a lot of the apple’s cells. This means it’ll be quite soft once thawed. This will make it unsuitable for eating, and also difficult to chop or prepare. You’re better off slicing or pulping apples before freezing them.
Sliced apples – arrange the slices on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and then place in the freezer. You can brush some lemon juice over the slices to prevent them from going brown. Make sure your freezer is on a high setting so that smaller ice crystals form within the apples, keeping their structural integrity as much as possible. Once frozen, remove them from the baking sheet and place them inside a plastic container or zip-lock bag to store in the freezer.
Pulped apples – place inside a plastic container or zip-lock bag and then place in the freezer.
Can apples be kept in the pantry?
Whole apples – putting apples in the pantry is more of a long-term storage solution. It’s mainly for those who might have quite a few apple trees in their garden and therefore will be harvesting a lot of apples.
The amount of time you can keep apples in the pantry varies between apple varieties. Thick-skinned apples, such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious, are far more suitable for long-term storage.
First, make sure you pick the best apples to store long-term. Avoid storing apples that are bruised or are a little soft. Not only will these individual apples not last as long, but they may also cause other apples around them to rot quicker. Next, to ensure they don’t touch each other. Wrap them individually in newspaper or baking parchment.
The best way to store them in the pantry is in a shelving unit. Also, you need to make sure the pantry is cool enough (between 0-2c/30-35f) to ensure they last the longest. Make sure the pantry temperature doesn’t dip below freezing as this will significantly damage your apples.
How Long Do Apples last?
|Whole apples expire in…||2-3 days||1-2 months||–||3-4 months|
|Sliced apples expire in…||–||24 hours||3-6 months||–|
|Pulped apples expire in…||–||24 hours||3-6 months||–|
How to Tell When Apples Have Gone Bad
Look – an apple has gone bad is that if there is visible mold on it. Another thing you should look for is small holes that are either caused by burrowing insects. Because the hole exposes the flesh inside, it is likely that the inside of the apple has started to go bad, even though the appearance otherwise looks fine.
The skin should also be smooth. If it is crinkly and dull, it means the apple has gone bad.
Make sure you don’t mistake a bruise for a bad apple. Bruises will make the skin in a certain area dark in color, and it will also look like a dent in the apple.
Feel – feel is probably the best signifier of a bad apple. Apples should be firm when squeezed. If it is soft, then it has definitely gone bad.
The apple flesh underneath a bruise will also feel soft. Check to see if it looks like a bruise (see above). If the apple is merely bruised, the flesh should only be soft in the affected area.
Bruised apples are still good to eat. The area around the bruise is still perfectly healthy. Simply cut out the bruised part of the apple, and consume the rest. Some people don’t mind eating the bruised area. If you’ve got a lot of bruised apples that you can’t eat immediately, simply pulp and store them in the fridge or freezer to make an apple pie, crumble, or sauce at a later date.
Do you eat the bruised bits on apples? What’s the longest you’ve managed to store apples in the pantry for? What apple variety do you think is best for long-term storage? Let us know in the comments.
Don’t forget to check out other articles in our “How to Store” section.