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storage

Posted 10/13/2011 11:30am by Ben Wenk.

So I'm mixing my Alton Brown references with "The Tick", and no, I don't expect anyone to keep up with this nonsense.  I'm just be preparing you the reader for my own level of acute, scientific detail I've come to love from Alton Brown as the blog moves along.

On to our question!  This one is a very common question, most recently posed via our twitter account by New York-based food blogger NutmegNanny via our good friend Michelle at eatniks:

"@NutmegNanny Can you store apples in the fridge?"


bulk bins full of freshly harvested apples 25 bu wooden bins and 23 bu plasticNot only can you store apples in your refrigerator, it is my recommendation that you do!  Unlike other edibles - onions, potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes come to mind, that will endure internal cellular damage and flavor alteration when stored at refrigerator temps, apples thrive and endure in your chilly frigidaire (as do peaches, but that's another blog for another time).

While I endorse refrigeration as the preferred method of apple preservation, it does come with a caveat or two.  As the aforementioned Alton Brown frequently reminds his audience, refrigerators are often victims of cross contamination and "flavor blending" and apples are no different.  The best spot for your apples is in the crisper with other veggies and fruits such as greens or carrots, geographically separated from proteins, dairy etc.  Apples are not spoiled by moist environments the way other fruit and veg might be so no extra effort is required to remove your fruits from moisture.  Truthfully, a little moisture will help keep your apples fresh as dry atmospheric conditions in your fridge can cause moisture to be pulled from the fruit - you'll discover this in the form of wrinkled apple skin after prolonged fridge time.  Cut apples are not to be reinstated back into your fridge - seems obvious, but worth mentioning.  

apples - stored much better in modern fridges, than in 1940's mounds under corn stalksHow long is too long?  It's the perfect follow up question, so let's have a look.  A good answer is two weeks but it's not a "catch all" answer.  Trutfully, so many environmental and cultural factors go in to the longevity (or lack thereof) in apples, that it's hard to pin down in a neat and tidy way.  Each apple variety (and there are over 4,000) has its own quirks in regards to storage life.  Fuji, for example, have a history of success in long term storage - maintaining crispness for months in your refrigerator.  Some heirloom or heritage apples, Smokehouse for example, while delicious, do not keep well.  The amount of moisture and rainfall during the growing season and the distribution of rainfall over time plays a huge factor in certain apple varieties keeping better in some years than others.  Jonagold, one of my favorites, is a notoriously inconsistent keeper.  Some years, they are great keepers, others not so much.  Honeycrisp (everyone's favorite) is so finicky a keeper that the way we store ours is just about the only thing our farm values as a "trade secret" that you can't get out of me.  Suffice it to say we go to great lengths to store Honeycrisp differently to preserve their awesome eating qualities.  As chronicled in an earlier blog, apples stored in controlled atmosphere can maintain crispness for nearly a year without any sort of bizarre witchcraft (thanks to land grant ag research, of course).  And while "storage apples" are representative of the fine work we do on this farm and I'll happily put our good name on them, I think we all agree - the closer to harvest the better.  As it is with apples, so should it be with all of our eating.


Historically "Good Keepers"

Fuji
Arkansas Black
York Imperial
Cameo
Golden Delicious
Rome Beauty


Historically "Inconsistent Keepers"

Gala
Jonagold
Macintosh
Smokehouse
Jonathan
Red Delicious

 

see also,

Ask a Grower I, Roots and Scions - Apple Tree Anatomy

Ask a Grower II, Granny Smith Apple Seeds - Apple Tree Propagation

Ask a Grower III, Clingstone vs. Freestone Peaches

Ask a Grower IV, The Cider Blog - What's Cider, What's Juice?

Ask a Grower VI, Grafting - Part Historic, Part Horticultural Wizardry

Ask a Grower VII, Why Are Peaches Fuzzy?