Apples are – unlike many other fruits – not particularly susceptible to chilling injuries. For best longevity, you should keep them in a dark and moderately humid environment where temperatures are close to 32°F (0°C), but still slightly over it. That being said, most apples will fare just fine in a cellar, and shouldn’t expire all that soon.
As with any other fruit, though, there’s some nuance to both short and long-term storage of apples that you’ll need to take note of. For example, did you know that there are huge differences in how specific kinds of apples react to different storage options?
In the next couple of sections, you’ll learn all the important bits on how to properly store apples. Simple and abundant as this particular fruit might be, we still have few solid tricks up our proverbial sleeves on how to keep them cool and crisp for months at a time!
Table of Contents
How to Store Apples Properly?
The most important thing to keep in mind about apple storage is that apples love low temperatures. Though, as we said – not unreasonably low, as you’ll want to keep them over 32°F (0°C) at all times.
Ideally, apples should be stored in a dark, humid room that never gets particularly warm. Freezers and refrigerators will, naturally, work wonders in this regard, but depending on the number of apples you might have, stuffing half your fridge with fruit might not be the right idea.
A better choice might be to prepare a simple shelving unit in your cellar, garage, or even the pantry if it’s cool and damp enough. Then, wrap each individual piece of fruit in an old newspaper (though kraft paper will do, too), and arrange them on shelves in a single layer.
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This will net you the longest possible shelf-life for your apples, though how long that is, precisely, will depend on the specific variety you may have. As you’re about to learn, not all apples are built the same!
Which Varieties Of Apple Will Stay Fresh The Longest?
There’s a huge number of unique varieties and sub-varieties of apples on the market right now, to the point that it’s pretty difficult to keep track of them all. The best way to figure out which might be good for long-term storage, though, is to look for thick-skinned and tart fruits.
Granny Smith, for example, is a universally popular and beloved fruit, and it just so happens that it can be stored for reasonably long stretches of time, too. Honeycrisp and Northern Spy are also stellar options, though it goes without saying that the availability of these varieties will greatly depend on where you live.
If you’re still unsure what to look for, try to get in touch with your local orchardist and ask which thick-skinned, tart kinds of apple they recommend specifically for storage. Can’t go wrong with expert advice!
Which Varieties Of Apple Should I Avoid Storing Long-term?
Since some varieties are particularly good for storage, it’s simple logic that there’d be some that just can’t keep up in this regard. Sweeter, thin-skinned fruits can still be stored, but not for nearly as long as varieties such as the ones we mentioned above.
The ever-popular Delicious, for example, doesn’t handle being stored for months at a time all that well. If these are the apples you have readily available, you should probably try to use them in a shorter time frame. Note, however, that this still means you can store them for a few weeks’ time, at worst.
Apples generally keep pretty well and don’t expire easily.
How Long Can Apples be Safely Stored?
Sitting in a normal pantry that isn’t particularly cool, humid, or dark, you won’t get much mileage out of your apples. At best, you’re looking at about a week or two worth of waiting time until they spoil. A refrigerator will, however, extend the shelf-life of your apples up to two months.
Finally, if you follow our recommendations to a T and manage to fulfill all of them (or simply throw your apples into the freezer), you can get up to a full year before they start to go bad. And yes – this does mean that a well-chosen variety of apples that’s been stored properly could keep for over a year, easily.
How Do I Know If My Apples Have Gone Bad?
Apples that are about to spoil will turn brown and have soft, mushy spots all over them. Some varieties may begin to appear wrinkled and lose their initial firmness before this happens. It’s still safe to use them at that point, though.
Now, if your apples have already started growing actual mold (usually in the middle of the brown spots), you should probably avoid using them at all costs.
Apple Storage Mistakes: Don’t Make ‘Em!
The old saying ‘one bad apple spoils the bunch’ isn’t for naught. Apples produce ethylene in substantial quantities, and as soon as one of them goes bad, it’s going to spoil all the other ones in its vicinity.
Unless, of course, you come in and get rid of it ahead of time!
A particularly egregious mistake that we’ve all made – and which should really be avoided at all costs – is that we don’t always handle apples with proper care. If you’re about to immediately use the fruit, no bother! If, however, you’re getting it ready for storage, you need to be mindful of this.
Try to make sure that your apple storage only has ripe, unbruised, and completely unblemished apples. Keep the stems on, too, as this might extend their lifetime a tad bit longer.
Store Apples Correctly to Keep Them Fresh & Crisp
Somewhat surprisingly, apples aren’t as simple and easy to store for longer stretches of time as they might seem.
Not only do you need to be mindful of the specific variety you’ve been meaning to store, but you also need to treat the individual fruits carefully, so as not to risk the whole batch in one silly swoop.
It’s still a pretty straightforward setup, though, and even the tiniest bit of forethought and preparation will go a long way towards keeping your stored apples safe and sound. Good luck!