How To Store Apples

Captain Kidd apples being sorted and harvested Edible backyard NZ

A store of eating apples to draw on through Autumn and Winter is deeply satisfying, and the best kai of all – an apple as nature intended! Storing is, however, really tricky for home gardeners. The perfect long term storage (consistently cool, 90% humidity, off grid and rodent proof) is still lurking on my to do list.

Though I haven’t reached the holy grail of apple storage yet – I have learned plenty of tricks along the way.

Pick In The Morning

10kg Hetlina apples at Ediblebackyard

Keep cool. That’s how you want to roll. Pick in the morning on a dry day and get them sorted and stored before the day heats up.

Sort Them

sorting apples

A stalk to an apple, is as a cork to a wine bottle – a seal.  And this my friends, is the key to long storage – perfectly sealed fruits ie unblemished skin and a stalk.

Damaged apples, rot first and as we all know – one bad apple spoils the lot, so before storing, sort the apples into the perfectly formed and the not so perfect.

  • Use the damaged ones right away. My go to’s are dried apples, apple cider vinegar and the ever useful, unsweetened apple sauce which we bottle or freeze.
  • Those with minor damage (small bird pecks and no stalks) I pop into the fruit bowl or the crisper draw of the fridge for eating first.
  • Store away the perfectly formed

Apple Storage: 3 ways


Individually wrapped apples in crates stored somewhere dark, cool and rodent proof are old school and its how we roll for the bulk of the crop. I love the electricity free moment here, but the truth is storage is shorter than were they in a cool store/ fridge by about 2 – 3 months due to O²/ CO². The more of this exchange the shorter their life.

Fridges are great but you need a whole fridge dedicated to fruit – there’s such alot from one tree, let alone 5! Cool temperatures slow ripening down, because yes, your apples keep ripening once picked. Should the fridge be too cold you’ll freeze the cells and the apple will turn to mush. Buy a good fridge thermometer, you need it to be about 4°C. Pack apples into holey bags for the humidity factor, something like these groovy NZ made produce pouches. Don’t mix varieties in one bag as they all ripen differently.

Sharing the harvest with food banks and those in need makes sense. I’d rather the fruit was eaten in its prime and peak nutrition and as apple trees are so beneficient – 40 – 50 kgs of fruit per tree, there’s plenty to go around.

Keep An Eye On Your Supply

Have a rummage around every now and then and should you hit a apple with spongy bits, get that apple out of there! The future of the others depends on it.

Redefine Your Beautiful

wrinkly apple!

In the good old days before advertising, and our weirdly (or perhaps I meant sadly), beauty obsessed culture – people would happily eat a wrinkled apple without missing a beat. Sure, when first picked, apples are shiny and bright but then oxygen kicks in, time happens and texture changes, reflected in the skin which puckers and sags a bit.

So let me suggest that this is part of your storage plan – to start loving wrinkles and spots. It’s the way forward.

Another Good Apple-y Read

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