If you find yourself with more apples than you can eat in a season, you might be wondering how to store apples long term. The truth is that learning how to keep apples fresh for as long as possible is an important skill if you want to enjoy the delicious fruit past the regular picking season—especially if, for example, there’s another lock down and making trips to the grocery store becomes dangerous.
Apples are, in fact, a great fruit to store long term, because some varieties can even last up to six months! Keep reading to learn all about how to store apples long term.
Choosing the Best Apples for Storage
Remember how I said that some varieties of apples can last up to six months? That’s right—not all varieties can, and if you’re packing the fruit away to eat in a long time, it’s important to pick the right kind of apples to meet your storage expectation.
In general, crisp and tart apples with thick skin are the best kinds of varieties when learning how to store apples long term. That includes Fuji, Granny Smith, Fuji, McIntosh, Winesap, Rome, Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, Bramley’s Seedling, Newton Wonder, and Ashmead’s Kernel.
Another general rule to help you decide which varieties will keep well longest is that apples harvested later in the season are usually the ones that store best. That means don’t pick sweet apples that are harvested in August through October!
Chances are that if you’re reading about how to store apples long term now it means that you already have a bunch of extra apples that you don’t want to go to waste. But if you still need to acquire the apples you intend to store, then I suggest you buy them from the freshest source possible.
That’s because apples you buy from grocery store have probably already been in storage for a while before they end up in your hands. So your best bet is buying them from a farmer’s market, or even picking them yourself if you can!
Another thing you should keep in mind when learning how to store apples long term is to pick the apples and leaving a part of the stem attached. This is because apples with stems last longer than those without. Same thing if you’re buying apples at the grocery store—look through the barrels to see if any of them still have stems!
Last but not least, you’re going to want to only store apples that are perfectly intact. That means no bruises, blemishes, or knicks. Why? That’s because damaged apples produce ethylene gas, which speeds up the maturity of the surrounding apples, too.
How to Store Apples Long Term
Next in the process of learning how to store apples long term is the final storage part!
Long-Term Storing Fresh Apples
Here are the tips you should follow in order to store your apples fresh:
- Wrap each apple individually with paper, and then put all the wrapped apples into a small or medium-sized box. Take this opportunity to check your apples for blemishes one last time.
- If you choose to wrap the apples with old newspaper, take a second to quickly research what kind of ink that newspaper prints with. Some newspapers still use toxic inks that you absolutely shouldn’t put in contact with your food.
- Because of this same reason, don’t use any glossy paper. Instead, you could use ripped brown paper bags, or paper towels.
- Find a dark, cool, and possibly humid location. This could be an unfinished basement, an unfinished garage, or anywhere as close as you can get to these places. Perhaps you could dedicate a room in your basement to the storage of apples, block of heaters, and keep a humidifier there.
- Another option is storing your apples on an enclosed porch. This should only be done, however, if you live in a mild climate. You shouldn’t store your apples anywhere that gets direct sunlight, or runs the risk of freezing overnight.
- If the only location where you can store apples is dry, you can also mist the paper-wrapped apples with water once a week, or whenever they look very dry.
- Even if the storage room is humid, you should still check the apples once a week, and remove any that seem to be maturing faster than the others. Remember when I mentioned packing them in a small or medium sized box? This is why: all your apples are more easily reachable in a small box!
- If you’re learning how to store apples long term because you want it to become a yearly tradition, I suggest you invest in an apple storage rack. With an apple storage rack, it is infinitely easier to check on your apples.
Long-Term Storing Frozen Apples
Another option for learning how to store apples long term is freezing them.
Of course, this won’t preserve their taste and texture as well as storing them fresh, but it’s a good option if you absolutely don’t have any cool, dark, and moist place in your house to dedicate to apple storage.
Even if you do have a good non-refrigerated space for your apples, freezing them is a simpler process for apples that you plan on cooking into recipes instead of eating fresh.
Plus, if you freeze apples, you also have less limitations on the apple varieties you store. You can even store them in slices!
To freeze apples, either cut them into slices and toss them in lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown) or keep them whole. You’ll then have to flash-freeze your apples overnight, and finally stick them into a freezer bag.
And then, voila! They can last in your freezer for up to six months.
Now You’ve Learned How to Store Apples Long Term!
I hope this post has given you the confidence to store your apples long term, and enjoy their delicious taste well after apple season is over. Never again do you have to worry about what to do with all the extra apples from the harvest! Long-term storage is a sustainable way to avoid waste, and also a good practice to prepare for the worst.
If you enjoyed learning how to store apples long term and would like to learn more about food preservation, check out our Food Preservation Section.