Many people are now taking the step of growing their own organic fruit and vegetables. Storing such products to maximize their life span is highly important as you will not be able to, or want to eat everything you grow straight away. Even if you don’t grow your own organic food, but buy it instead, you will still need to think about storage. You will need to store your produce safely and at the same time, you will want to reduce the chance of rotting.
Step 1 – Know Your Apples
Knowing a little about fruit in general is the first step towards actually knowing how to store them best for long lasting freshness. Not all apples are the same and some will exude more ethylene gas than others. Ethylene gas is not at all dangerous to the atmosphere or the fruit, but it is a natural process of fruit which affects the ripening process. However, once an apple is ripe, you need to consider reducing the ethylene gas output and slowing down the rotting process.
Step 2 – Store Apart
The main cause of rotting in an apple will be either a bruise or a rot spot in another apple that is placed next to it. To avoid this potential problem, always store only the freshest apples and keep them slightly apart from each other. You can separate them using brown paper or newspaper.
Step 3 - Refrigeration
Apples are actually one of the more durable and tougher fruits and can last as long as ten weeks if stored correctly. Apples last much longer if they are placed loosely in the bin of your refrigerator. Wrapping them in brown paper from grocery sacks will also help to keep in the moisture of the apple. Do not store them in plastic, as this does not let the apple breathe and any ethylene gas produced by the apple will only circulate inside the plastic bag and quicken the rotting process.
Step 4 – Cold Storage
If you have either grown too many apples to eat at once or bought a whole bushel, you may not have enough space in your refrigerator to put them all. The next best thing is to store them anywhere cool. Your basement, garage or another cold spot is ideal. When apples are harvested in the fall, they are kept in cold storage for long periods of time before they reach the supermarket fruit stand. Knowing they have been kept in a state of freshness for two or possibly three months means that they have a very long shelf life if they are stored correctly.
Step 5 – Assisting Other Fruits
If you want to increase the ripening process of other fruits, such as peaches, nectarines and plums, you can actually place them in a paper bag with an apple and it will help the softer fruit to ripen faster. Do not store apples with onions or celery. Both of these will absorb alien flavors and pass these on to other fruits. Once an apple starts to shrivel, it may be past its use-by date in terms of eating it raw, but it will still be great for making apple pie, apple sauce or anything other type of cooked apple dish.