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Apples aren’t the cheapest to buy fresh so it’s essential to store them correctly at home in order to enjoy every last bite at their best. While many people keep them in a fruit bowl among other groceries, they don’t always last as long as they could. However, according to experts, the fridge isn’t always an “ideal” alternative.
No matter what kinds of apples you add to your weekly shop, most apples can be stored either on the kitchen counter, in a fruit bowl, or in the fridge, though almost all varieties need a cool, shaded environment to stay fresh.
While it is mainly down to preference and space, Ken Wortz, the head distiller for Sauvage Distillery noted that “your own environmental conditions” can also impact the “ideal” place to store your apples.
He explained that this includes how warm or humid it is in your kitchen, how long you want to keep them and where or how you store other vegetables.
However, if prolonging the shelf life of your apples is the main goal, there is a clear winner when it comes to choosing the optimal conditions for the crunchy fruits.
Ken said: “The crisper drawer of your fridge is a great place to store apples and they can last six to eight weeks.”
Making space for apples in the fridge is particularly beneficial for kitchens where the room temperature is “on the warm side” – even for shorter periods.
Of course, leaving them out of the fridge won’t cause them to spoil immediately, though they will start to turn brown and soften in much less time than if they were in the fridge.
According to Ken, this is usually around one or two weeks on the counter and even less in a fruit bowl if stored near ethylene-rich produce like bananas.
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When it comes to keeping apples crisp and sharp in flavour for longer, Chef Laura Scheck, founder of Teaching Table noted the importance of keeping them separate from certain foods.
She said: “Apples release the gaseous hormone ethylene, which will cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster, especially if the apples themselves are bruised or overripe.
“If you don’t want to encourage ripening of other produce, store apples in a plastic tub or a bag in the fridge, or in their own produce drawer.”
If your only option is to store them on the counter, apples should be stored in their own bowl or in a paper bag.
It’s not just different fruits that can make apples go bad either. In fact, keeping one bad one among others can encourage every apple to spoil more quickly.
Laura suggested removing blemishes or consuming apples with bruises quickly to prevent others from turning brown and soft before their time.
In most cases, store-bought apples have already been stored and spent time in transit, so have a shorter shelf life than farm-picked or homegrown fruits
According to Ken, most apples “can be good for months” after the date they are picked if kept in cold storage, though they will last one week out of the fridge after buying them.
While you will get a staggering six to eight weeks of freshness from apples kept in the fridge, this only applies to whole fruits that have not been peeled or cut.
To keep sliced apples from losing their bright white colouring, Laura noted that they should be put in the fridge “as soon as possible”, preferably wrapped tightly in cling film. You should have a few extra days to consume cut or peeled apples stored this way though you can make them last even longer by soaking them in lemon juice.
Start by washing and slicing the apple then, fill a small bowl with cold water and the juice of half a fresh lemon. Dip the slices into the mixture before wrapping them up to store in the fridge.
Once apples are cut, Scheck says they should be put in the fridge as soon as possible. And to prevent browning, “wrap them tightly in plastic or beeswax wrap and consume within a few days,” she says. “Or, squeeze some lemon juice on them.”
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