Food Storage: Apples

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red apples
red apples
Apples are a fruit that almost everyone loves. Apples are relatively inexpensive, versatile in their uses and store quite well. They’re also good for you!

Apples won’t supply a hefty bulk of a daily caloric intake but they can satisfy a sweet tooth and help fill the tummy.

Fall is Apple Season

If you’re tending your own apple trees you probably already know when it’s time to harvest. It’s autumn. You can tell if the tree is ready to be harvested by picking one and cutting it open or biting into it. Color both outside and inside helps determine maturity dependent upon the apple variety. Green skinned apples stay green on the outside. Yellow skinned apples will turn from green to yellow on the outside. Reds can be harder to determine ripeness as they stay red! You can tell also by the apple seeds. The seeds turn brown when the fruit is ripen (in general).

Mature healthy looking apples on the ground also indicate ripeness. Did you know apples ripen from the outer branches of the tree inward?


Now that you’ve filled baskets and boxes with apples you’ll need to determine your favorite method of storing this fruit. Our grandparents kept apples in the root cellar.

Check each apple for bad spots. One bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch. Any bruised or over-ripe apple can be used now in the kitchen.

If you’ve sourced your apples from more than one tree you’ll want to sort your apples by variety, and then by size. Each variety will have a different storage life and you want to keep like with like. Larger apples will go bad faster too. Use the bigger apples first.

Apples naturally emit a gas called ethylene that helps to ripen them. You’ll want to store your apples where air can flow between and around them. A cool dark storage spot is optimal, much like our grandparents root cellar. A dry basement or storm shelter should suffice. A dark pantry will work too although conditions won’t be ideal. Keep your apples separate from onions and potatoes.

Upcycle Bruised Apples

So you ended up with a bushel of bruised apples and don’t know what to do with them? You can make your own applesauce and apple butter. There are a world of apple recipes. Everything from applesauce and apple cider to canned apple pie filling.

All in all, apples make a great addition to any pantry and are perfect for long term food storage.