Use this method to extend apple season well into the winter. 

By Melanie Fincher
October 05, 2020
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Apples are the unofficial signal that fall is here. Every year as the temperature drops, people flock to the orchard in droves to pick crisp, juicy apples straight from the tree. But don't you wish you could hold onto them just a little bit longer? 

Here you'll get tips on how and where to store your apples so they last as long as possible. This way you can enjoy all your fall favorites like apple desserts, appetizers, and more well into the winter.

The Best Apples to Store 

Storing apples for winter starts in the grocery store or market. Of course, any variety will do for short-term storage. But if you're looking to store apples well into the winter months, you'll find that some types are better than others. 

In general, you'll want to look for more tart, thick-skinned varieties. These include Granny Smith, McIntosh, Fuji, Rome, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Crispin, Gold Rush, Winesap, and Jonathan. Some of these varieties will get even sweeter and more flavorful with time. As delicious as a classic Golden Delicious may be, it's not the best for storage due to its thin skin and sweetness. 

And while store-bought apples are convenient, they've likely been stored for quite a while before hitting the produce aisle. For long-term storage, you're better off going to the orchard or farmers' market to get the freshest apples possible. 

Make sure to handle apples carefully, as you would peaches, or any other fruit that bruises easily. A rotting apple can affect those around it, so save only the best for long-term storage. 

How to Store Apples 

Unlike many other fruits, apples love the cold. The ideal temperature for storing apples is somewhere between 30 and 35 degrees F, with about 90 percent humidity. That's why they should be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge, separate from other produce that may emit gases that can speed up ripening. Apples will last anywhere from six to eight weeks in the fridge. 

All that being said, we know the crisper drawer of your fridge is precious real estate. The good news is apples will store for months even with less than ideal conditions. If you want to save space in your refrigerator, or if you have large quantities of apples to store, here's how to make them last well into the winter. 

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Apples
  • Newspaper, paper bags, paper towels, or butcher paper
  • Boxes, baskets, or crates
  • A cool, dark space (like an unheated basement, garage, or closet)

Instructions:

  1. Start with tart or semi-tart apples with thick skins. Inspect the apples for bruising, cuts, or any other damage that might inhibit them from keeping. Go ahead and use apples with imperfections and save the rest for storage.
  2. To keep the apples from touching, wrap each one in newspaper. You may also use paper bags, paper towels, or butcher paper. Avoid glossy advertisements or prints. 
  3. Layer the apples in a box or boxes of some type, sorting them by variety. You can also order the apples by size, with the smallest on the bottom and the largest on top. This will ensure that the larger apples, which ripen faster, will be used first.
  4. Store the boxes in a cool spot in your home. This could be an unheated basement, garage, or even an enclosed porch (if you live in a moderate climate). If you don't have any of these, you can typically find a room that stays cooler than others, such as a closet or pantry.
  5. When you're ready to enjoy, move the apples to the fridge in batches — about as many as you'll need for the week. Be sure to throw out any apples that have gone bad to keep them from affecting the others. And don't forget to wash them before eating! 

How to Store Cut Apples 

If you've already cut into your apple but can't finish it, you can still preserve them for another day or two. Simply drizzle it with a bit of lemon juice to prevent from browning, and refrigerate in an airtight container. 

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