Storing apples for the winter requires you to know which apples store best long-term. To enjoy the apple harvest one must know the best keeping apple varieties to plant or pick from the local orchard.
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One of the most memorable times of my life was fall in New England. The changing of the seasons was incredible, and I can still see the leaves change before my eyes. Not to mention, the weekend drives we took as a family through the countryside.
However, it was not collecting the memories of collecting leaves of various colors or sizes. Nor was it about the pumpkin patch and bringing home pumpkins of various shapes. The most fond memories of my youth were the weekends spent apple picking.
The small family farm right outside of the military base we resided on allowed the children to climb the branches to harvest the most perfect apples. As a family we came home with bushels of MacIntosh, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious apples which were stored in the crisper draw of our refrigerator and in the shed which was close to the back door.
More importantly, we brought home apples to the soldiers assigned to my father’s battalion. The ones with no families other than the brothers and sisters on base. I cannot say it enough, apple season is one of the best memories of my youth.
Which Apples Store Best
Living a sustainable life requires us to be able to store and keep fresh foods long-term. This includes storing fruit such as apples well into the winter months.
How apples are stored is essential to keeping them from rotting, but first, you need to know which varieties will keep the longest. And trust me when I say this, not all varieties will last long-term.
The most important tip I can give you is this, stay away from trying to store softer apple varieties long-term. Soft apple varieties tend to bruise easily, which in turn can cause rot to spread quickly, especially if the apples are not stored properly.
A soft apple is classified as having a thinner skin and soft in texture. Here are a few common varieties (there are many more not listed) which do not store well –
- Golden Delicious
With that said, let’s talk about which apples store best throughout the winter.
Best Keeping Apple Varieties
The following varieties are commonly found in many grocery stores and orchards. For individuals who seek to add the following varieties to your orchard take a look at local plant nurseries. Depending on your growing zone, some varieties will do better than others.
Also, online nurseries such as Stark Brothers carry a large variety of apple trees for you to choose from. Look for apple varieties which have a thick skin and are firm in texture.
- Golden Delicious
- Granny Smith
- Ida Red
- Red Delicious
The following apples are not generally found at your local market but ones which you must grow yourself or find in through a local orchard.
- Arkansas Black
- Bald Mountain
- Belle de Boskoop
- Bentley’s Sweet
- Blushing Golden
- Bryson’s Seedling Cannon Pearmain
- Chiver’s Delight
- Clearwater Gold
- Cox’s Orange Pippin
- Dixie Red Delight
- Egremont Russet
- Erwin Baur
- Gloria Mundi
- Gold Rush
- Golden Russet
- Golden Supreme
- Holstein Cox
- Honey Crisp
- Hudson’s Golden Gem
- Kidds Orange Red
- Northern Spy
- Northwestern Greening
- Oxheart Pippin
- Pitmaston Pineapple
- Prairie Spy
- Red Pippin
- Sir Prize
- Virginia Gold
- Winesap (turley, stayman)
- Winter Banana
How to determine which apples store best long-term is based on preference. When growing apples select varieties which your family will enjoy fresh as well as the final outcome when they have been cooked.
Storing Apples for Winter – long-term storing tips
A root cellar is ideal for keeping fresh fruits and vegetables long-term, however, it is not necessary. A cold storage space within the home or garage also works well. In addition to this, an extra refrigerator (if you have the space) is ideal for storing apples.
In addition to establishing a cool environment for keeping apples make sure –
- The apples are not bruised prior to storing them. Apples which are bruised will rot quickly, often causing apples stored next to them to rot as well.
- Apples should not be stored touching.
- The best temperature for storing apples is between 30 – 32 degrees Fahrenheit with 90 percent humidity.
Other Methods for Preserving the Apple Harvest
Aside from storing apples fresh for eating, cooking, or baking, consider preserving apples by canning or dehydrating them. Take a look at the following methods for preserving apples, making them shelf stable for up to 18 months.
- Canning apple salsa
- Crockpot apple butter for canning
- Homemade apple juice concentrate for canning
- Canning apple slices for baking or eating
- Easy applesauce recipe for canning
- Dehydrated cinnamon apple rings
- Apple pie moonshine
- Homemade apple pectin for canning purposes
- DIY apple cider vinegar made with apple scraps
- Apple cinnamon fruit leather
- Spiced apple shrub
Baking with Apples
Storing apples long-term additionally allows for endless baking and cooking opportunities. Not to mention, home canned apples can also be used to create exceptional dishes or baked goods.