How to Make Apples Last (Almost) Forever

Public Domain. Unsplash / Annie Spratt

No more excuses for soft, moldy apples in your fruit bowl!

Apple season is here, one of the best times of the year. After months of making do with slightly soft, disappointing apples, the fresh crop comes as such a treat, crunchy and juicy and tart. Stocking up is only logical; apples keep for a long time, especially if stored at a cool temperature, and are perfect for snacking and cooking.

I have always refrigerated apples and they seem to keep almost indefinitely, but recently I learned a few clever tricks for prolonging their lifespan, should you ever find yourself with too many. As Backwoods Home explains, "The main causes of apple spoilage are time, bruises, and contact with a rotten spot on another apple."

Apparently, if you wrap individual unwashed apples in newspaper or kraft paper – preferably without coloured ink – they keep longer. The paper prevents the skins from rubbing and, if one spoils, it doesn't spoil the others. Only wrap perfect apples and eat any that have blemishes. Gardener's Supply Company says it's better to store them with the stems on, if you have that option. Pack the paper-wrapped apples into a cardboard box and place in a cold room that doesn't drop below freezing but can get close to it.

Eat apples in order from biggest to smallest, as bigger ones are more prone to spoilage; and you should not store them in the fridge with any other vegetables or fruits, as they release ethylene gas, which speeds up decay. Even storing them in the same room as potatoes can cause them to rot faster.

If you have bought so many apples that you cannot eat, bake, or preserve all of them before they go bad, then you can freeze them. You can freeze whole apples or peeled slices, always starting on a baking sheet and then transferring to a container or bag so they don't stick together in one giant apple lump.

Another option is to make apple pie filling. Basically, you make a filling, then dump it into a pie plate lined with plastic wrap. (You could probably use wax paper or parchment paper.) Once frozen, you transfer to a container or bag. Then, when you're ready to bake:

"Simply drop the frozen apples into a pie crust, cover them with dough and cook (remember to ventilate your top crust!). There's no need to thaw the apples first. You'll probably need to bake your pie about 20 minutes longer if using frozen apples, but it won't take any longer to bake than a frozen pie from the grocery store."

Happy apple-eating!