According to the New York Apple Association, it takes about 8 to 10 years for a standard-sized apple tree to bear fruit. According to my friends, it takes me about 15 seconds to pick so many pounds of said fruit off of an apple tree, they're concerned for any given orchard's longevity. (Quickest way to drown 'em out? Feed them apple pies.)
Consequently, I end up with a lot of apple varieties every fall, all at once, which turns my kitchen counter and crisper drawer into something of a ticking time bomb. This year, I was determined to extend the lives of this innocent fruit from peak apple season through the winter months. So, I did some research about the best way to store apples for maximum freshness. Here are three long-term storage tips for freshly picked apples (or those that you've just picked up from the grocery store).
1. Refrigerate your apples
For the longest possible lifespan — we're talking weeks — it's a good idea to keep your apples cold! The fruit ripens between 6 and 10 times faster if left out on the counter than it would in a refrigerator.
The ideal temperature for apple storage, says The Spruce Eats, is 30 to 32°F — they suggest making use of a cool basement, garage, or shed.
2. Separate your apples
According to Backwoods Home Magazine, it's best to wrap each apple in sheets of newspaper (ideally ones without much colored ink on their pages). Taste of Home writes that this serves as insurance against one apple going rotten and ripening the others being stored.
3. Pick your apples wisely
Choose the best apples for storage if you're hoping to keep them fresh for many weeks.
"The best keepers are the more tart and thick-skinned varieties, such as McIntosh, Fuji, Rome, and Granny Smith. The apple varieties harvested late in the season tend to be good keepers," reports Gardener's Supply Company.
In essence, you'll want to avoid rotten apples (obviously) or apples with bruises, cuts, or soft spots, if you can.
Our favorite apple recipes
Now that you've learned how to safely store apples for months to come, whip up one of our favorite apple recipes whenever you're craving something sweet (or savory!). Fortunately for you, you're now guaranteed to have some on hand, thanks to these brilliant storage tips.
Cut back on the sweetness of an autumnal apple galette by adding ½ cup of tahini to the crust and a floral glaze made with dried hibiscus flowers, which you can find at a spice shop or even on Amazon.
For a simple fall dessert, bake fresh apples in cider with a little bit of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The fruit will soften and the cider will reduce to a thickened, luxurious glaze. The only thing that's missing is a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Pineapple is the most popular variety of fruit to appear in an upside-down cake, but that doesn't mean that it's the only option. For an autumnal spin, use honeycrisp apples, a trio of warm spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), and apple cider caramel sauce.
We're going to shout it from the rooftops — apples can be savory too! Featuring a cheddar cheese crust and a warm, earthy pie filling made from pork sausage, apples, and herbs, this dish will keep you cozy on chilly fall nights.
Spread it on toast or scones or just eat it by the spoonful: This soft and creamy butter made from a duo of both apples and apple cider is so good that you may as well make two batches.
"One of the easiest, most comforting, most delicious, and fall-iest desserts out there: whole apples, lightly sweetened and spiced, then wrapped in dough," writes recipe developer Erin Jeanne McDowell. We couldn't agree more.
So you just went apple picking and picked oh, I don't know, 32 lbs of apples and now you don't know what to do with them all, right? Make applesauce, snack on 'em, and make a cake! You can do it all! The recipe only calls for four cups of apples, but hey, it's a start.
Remember how I said that apples can be used for savory recipes, too? This colorful protein-packed salad is another delicious example.