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, pretty tricky for home gardeners, and the perfect long term storage (consistently cool, 90% humidity and rodent proof) eludes me still.
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
Keep cool. That’s how you want to roll. Pick in the morning on a dry day and get them sorted and stored away before the day heats up.
Sort Them First – One Bad Apple Spoils The Lot
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.
So sort your fruits before storing
- Use the badly damaged for cooking/ preserving. My two go to’s are dried apples and apple sauce.
- Those with minor damage (small bird pecks and no stalks) eat right away
- Only store those that are perfectly formed
Apple Storage: 2 ways
Fridges work well. Cool temperatures slow ripening down, because yes, your apples keep ripening once picked! You need a fridge thermometer so you can be sure of a consistent 4 degrees, and holey bags for the humidity factor. Either poke heaps of holes in plastic shopping bags or use these groovy NZ made produce pouches.
Sadly our secondhand apple fridge has died and gone to heaven, so this year I’m back to old school ways of individually wrapped apples in crates. I’m lucky to have a big pantry. When Matt built it, he put a metal grill in the floor for cool air to flow through, genius! It works well, and I love the electricity free moment here, but the truth is storage is shorter than in the fridge by 2 – 3 months due to O²/ CO² (the more of this exchange the shorter the life), not to mention the whole humidity business.
I’m looking around for a small cool store. I know this wont be for everyone, but with 5 apple trees, 5 pears + all of our vege to store, I’ve decided it’s well worth it.
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
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.