Friday, April 1, 2011

“A” is for Apples

I am engaging in a writing challenge that kicks off today known as the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, which you can sign up for here. So today’s blog post is about apples and how to store them.

Apples won’t be ready to harvest for many months but now is a good time to start thinking about what you want to do with them when they are ready. Apples are one of the fruits that can be stored as is, for a long time. However, not everyone has the right environment or space to pull that off. They can be frozen, dehydrated or canned as well. It really depends on how you plan to use your apples and the space and equipment you have at your disposal.
Cold Storage

In years gone by, many homes had a root cellar, a place that saw no light and little change in the desired temperature of about 32 degrees. This is an ideal place to store apples, if you have access to such a place. Here are a few pointers before just tossing your apples in for the winter, though. You should always remove any fruit that has bruises, damage or shows signs of decay. Store the smaller apples of any variety you choose because the larger apples tend to break down first. Most apples freeze at 29 degrees or lower. Once they thaw, they will break down quickly so keeping the temperature constant at 30 to 32 degrees is ideal. The location needs to have a relative humidity of 90 to 95% otherwise the apples will dry out. Cellars and outbuildings that meet these conditions will work. You can also use Styrofoam coolers or pack them in hay or other materials to protect them from freezing. Most apples store for a minimum of 3 months and many will last for 6 months under the right circumstances.

Other Storage Considerations

Freezing, drying or canning all require processing time and some type of equipment. I will discuss these options under another post as it gets closer to harvest time. The thing you should be thinking about so you can start to shop for supplies you may not have is how you plan to use your apples. Does your family like applesauce? What about apple pie filling which can be used in a variety of ways. Would you eat more trail mix if you had dried apple bits to add to the mix? Your family’s tastes and needs will dictate the methods and the supplies you should be considering.


Marie Anne said...

Apples - yum! I don't have a root cellar, but my kitchen stays pretty cold in winter so I just leave them on the counter in a corner. In summer I resort to the fridge, though.

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