One of the great benefits of apples over other orchard fruits is that stored correctly they can still be enjoyed well into the New Year. Not all apples are suitable for storage, however, as we discussed in the blog When are Apples Ready to Eat. Early varieties should be eaten as soon as they have been picked. In general, it is the late season apples that will store most successfully such as Braeburn and Granny Smiths.
Here are 10 tips for successful storage.
* Pick apples for storage when they are slightly under ripe or just ripe and keep the stalk on. Store as soon after picking as possible.
* Select only the apples that are free from bruising, disease or cuts.
* Apples are best stored in shallow layers in plastic bale arm crates, traditional wooden apple crates, seed trays, cardboard boxes or the light-blue plastic mushroom boxes.
* Wrapping apples in newspaper or kitchen towel can help prevent moisture loss and avoid contact with other apples. However, unwrapping and re-wrapping each apple every time you check them can be time-consuming.
* Alternatively try putting 500g of fruit in a polythene bag turn over the top and perforate for ventilation then store in a cardboard box or other suitable container. If you use tie-handled plastic bags they can be hung from the roof out of reach of the mice. Checking fruit is much easier with this method.
* Store in a cool, dark, frost-free and rodent-free place such as a garden shed, garage or cellar.
* Good air circulation and humidity are important. If the air is too dry the apples will start to shrivel.
* Try not to mix apple varieties that ripen at different times as it can cause premature ripening in the later varieties.
* Inspect apples regularly and discard any that are going bad.
* Keep apples apart from pears, potatoes, onions and garlic.