How To Keep And Store Apples
Not so very long ago storing apples for winter was an essential fall activity. Anyone with an apple tree with fruit that would keep for longer than a couple of weeks would be picking, storing, bottling and perhaps freezing cooked apple for winter use.
The year round availability of produce has reduced our enthusiasm for these activities. Now our interest in where our food comes from, it' quality and flavour has re-instated old values. Even the less enthusiastic homesteaders are valuing and preserving their home grown produce.
Varieties like Worcester Pearmain and Discovery fall into this category. If you inherit an established apple tree you may have to experiment to find out what its keeping properties are like. Try keeping a few sound fruits in a cool, airy place and see how they perform after a week or two.
Try one each week and see what it's texture and flavour are like. If they start to shrivel they won't keep.
Apples that have fallen onto the ground are unlikely to store. They will have sustained damage and are best cooked and bottled or frozen, or used immediately. A fruit picker is a handy tool to reach the fruit growing out of reach. It takes time and patience to use if you have a lot of fruit to pick but it is worth the effort.
As they ripen fruit gives off ethylene. This will stimulate ripening of neighbouring fruit, especially if they are touching.
Avoiding a build-up of the gases which accelerate ripening prevent the fruit from over ripening and going bad. So keep fruit apart and keep the air moving around the individual fruits.
The open slatted construction allows air circulation and easy access and inspection of the fruits.
Stack them so that access is easy and you can inspect the fruit and remove any that are deteriorating.
The saying "one bad apple" is so true. As soon as one goes off fungal infection will quickly spread to neighbouring fruits. That is why regular inspection during storage is so important. Few of us have the temperature controlled conditions that are used commercially.
If you have fruit that you know stores well and is in great condition this will give excellent results. However it makes inspection to check how well your fruit is faring very difficult.
hat is the cardboard apple storage tray. When I first worked in garden shops and garden centres we sold thousands in late summer every year.
These handy trays with apple-sized depressions just stack on top of each other as they are filled with sound fruits.
A mistake often made is to store more fruit than you are ever likely to use. If you have masses of apples and use very few investigate the possibilities of juicing, give them away or even compost them rather than wasting time storing them only to dispose of them at a later date.
A great way to store just a few sound apples is in an old pair of tights. Knot the tights between each apple as you pop them in. This keeps the apples apart and you just snip them off as you want to use them. They are easy to hang up too and well-protected.