If you want to store apples so they last all winter, you must do more than just put them in a fridge. If you want them to last that long, you must take extra steps to preserve them.
Here is everything you need to know about how best to store apples so they last all winter.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Storing Raw Apples
To store raw apples to keep them for as long as possible, they need to be kept in an ideal environment where they won’t rot.
The best place to do this is in a cool, dry, dark place like a basement or root cellar.
Ways to Store Fresh Apples
1. Choose the right apples. Some types of apples are better for storage than others. For example, crisper varieties like Granny Smith apples will last longer than softer varieties like Red Delicious.
2. Store them in the right place. Apples should be stored in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. They also need to be kept dry, so the best way to keep apples is to choose a place with an environment that isn't too damp.
3. Keep them away from other fruits and vegetables. Apples give off a gas called ethylene, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to spoil faster. So it's best to store apples by themselves.
4. Inspect them regularly. Apples can spoil quickly, so it's important to check on them regularly and remove any that are starting to go bad.
Preserving Apples to Store All Winter Long
There are also a few ways to preserve apples to last even longer. Here are some ideas.
Freeze Fresh Apples
However, preparing fruit and vegetables for freezing varies depending on the type.
To freeze apples, wash and slice them first. Then, place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put them in the freezer.
Once they're frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. You can rub them with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Dehydrating is one of our favorite food preservation methods. However, don't dehydrate everything! Luckily, apples work well in the dehydrator. We do this regularly.
I like dehydrated apple slices for a snack. We also add them to our oatmeal.
Dehydrating apples extends their shelf life. To do this, wash and slice the apples, then place them on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at a low temperature until they're dried out but still pliable.
Make Apple Sauce or Apple Butter
Another way to preserve apples is to learn how to make applesauce or butter. This is a great way to use apples starting to go bad.
Simply cook the apples down into a sauce or apple butter. Then store applesauce and butter in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. You could also make homemade apple cider. Or if you have just a few apples on hand, try them in a favorite recipe, like this old-fashioned easy apple cake.
Learn How to Can Apples
Canning is another great way to preserve apples.
There are a few different ways to do this, but the general process is to cook the apples down into a sauce or jelly and then can them using a water bath canner.
And by the way, if you're new to canning, here's the best canning book to start with.
And here's a list of a few other canning and preserving books for beginners.
Make Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another way to use up extra apples.
To make apple cider vinegar, simply chop up your apples. Then put them in a sterile jar with water and a little sugar.
Cover the jar and let it sit for a few weeks, then strain out the apple pieces and enjoy your homemade apple cider vinegar.
Make Apple Wine
Apple wine is an old-fashioned way to enjoy apples long after the season ends.
Use a fermenting crock and ferment apple juice with wine yeast. You can find more detailed instructions online or in a home brewing book.
Turn Fresh Apples Intro Dried Apples
You can also dry apples to extend their shelf life.
To do this, wash and slice the apples, then place them on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at a low temperature until they're dried out but still pliable.
Bake Apple Pies, Cakes, and Turnovers
If you love baking with apples, another way to extend their shelf life is to bake pies or turnovers and freeze them. In fact, if you ask any of my kids, they will tell you this is hands-down the best way to keep apples for the long-term.
Bake the pies or turnovers as you normally would. Then let them cool completely.
Once they've cooled, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then place them in the freezer.
They'll last for several months, and you can reheat them as needed for an easy dessert. Try my recipe for apple sour cream coffee cake - it's a keeper and freezes really well.
Another way to use apples is to create infusions. This is a great way to use up apples that are starting to go bad.
Chop up the apples and put them in a jar with your infusion liquid (such as vodka or cider). Then, let the infusion sit for a few weeks before straining out the apple pieces, and enjoy your homemade infusion.
Apple infusion flavor combinations to try include apple cinnamon, apple cranberry, and apple peppermint.
Make Apple Cider
Apple cider is another family favorite way to use up extra apples.
To make it, chop up some apples and put them in a pot with water and some sugar. Cook the mixture until the apples are soft, strain out the solids, and enjoy your homemade cider.
One of the best ways to keep your family's homestead pantry well-stocked through the year is to buy, pick or grow fruit and vegetables in season. And then save them for later by canning, preserving or dehydrating them.
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