If you’ve ever bought a bushel of apples or a bag of freshly picked fruit, you know how quickly they can start to go bad. To extend the lifespan of your apples, many people turn to refrigeration, but is that actually the best option? In this article, we will explore the truth about storing apples and whether or not refrigeration is the way to go.
How to Choose Fresh Apples
Before we dive into the best way to store apples, let’s first talk about how to choose the freshest apples at the grocery store or farmer’s market. When selecting apples, look for fruit that is firm to the touch, free of blemishes, and has a fresh aroma. The skin should be tight and dry, not wrinkled or soft. The stem should also be intact and firm.
Not all apples are created equal, and some types are better for certain uses than others. Here are some of the most popular apple varieties and their ideal uses:
- Gala: Great for eating raw or in salads, but can also be used in baking.
- Braeburn: Good for eating raw or using in baked goods.
- Granny Smith: Great for baking and in savory dishes, but can also be eaten raw.
- Honeycrisp: Best eaten raw, as it doesn’t hold up well in baking.
- Golden Delicious: Good for eating raw or cooking in sweet dishes.
The Best Way to Store Apples
Now that you know how to select the freshest apples, it’s time to talk about how to store them to maximize their lifespan. Here are a few tips:
While many people believe that apples need to be refrigerated to stay fresh, the truth is that apples can be stored at room temperature for several days without going bad. If you plan on eating your apples within a week, there’s no need to refrigerate them. Simply keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
If you aren’t planning on eating your apples within a week, or if you live in a hot, humid climate, refrigeration can be a good option to extend their lifespan. However, it’s important to note that not all apples are created equal when it comes to refrigeration. Some varieties, like Honeycrisp, don’t hold up well in the cold and can become mealy or mushy.
If you do decide to refrigerate your apples, be sure to store them in the crisper drawer away from other fruits and vegetables. Apples release ethylene gas, which can cause other produce to ripen and go bad more quickly. You can also store them in a paper bag to absorb any excess moisture and prevent them from drying out.
If you have an abundance of apples that you can’t eat or bake with before they start to go bad, freezing them is a great option. To freeze apples, peel and slice them, and then toss them with lemon juice to prevent browning. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Once frozen, transfer the slices to a freezer-safe container or bag.
Myths About Storing Apples
There are several myths about storing apples that many people believe to be true. Let’s debunk a few:
Myth #1: Apples Should Be Stored with Other Fruits and Vegetables
As we mentioned earlier, apples produce ethylene gas, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen and spoil more quickly. For this reason, apples should be stored separately from other produce to prevent contamination.
Myth #2: Washing Apples Before Refrigerating Them Can Cause Them to Rot
Some people believe that washing apples before storing them in the refrigerator can cause them to rot more quickly. This is not true. Washing your apples before storing them can actually help remove any bacteria or residue from the skin, which can prolong their lifespan.
Myth #3: Apples Should be Stored in a Sealed Container in the Refrigerator
While keeping apples in a sealed container may seem like a good idea to keep them fresh, it can actually have the opposite effect. Apples need air flow to stay fresh, so it’s best to store them in a perforated plastic bag or paper bag instead.
Common Questions About Refrigerating Apples
Here are some common questions people have about refrigerating apples:
Q: Can you refrigerate apples after cutting them?
A: Yes, you can refrigerate apples after cutting them. To prevent browning, toss the slices in lemon juice before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Q: How long do refrigerated apples last?
A: When stored properly, refrigerated apples can last up to six weeks.
Q: Can you freeze whole apples?
A: Technically, you can freeze whole apples, but it’s not recommended. When apples freeze, the water inside them expands and can cause the skin to burst, resulting in a mushy texture.
While the best way to store apples depends on a few factors, such as the variety and how quickly you plan on eating them, the bottom line is that apples can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you do decide to refrigerate them, be sure to store them away from other produce and in a perforated bag. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy fresh, crisp apples all season long.