In today’s informative guide, I will show you the best way to store apples inside the fridge so they don’t lose their crispy texture and juicy flavor. Several techniques can be used, all of which we will discuss in depth today.
Why Do Apples Lose Their Crispness?
There are few things worse than a mushy or mealy apple. But why exactly do they lose their crispy, juicy texture in the first place? To understand this, I need to get into a bit of science today.
Like all things, apples deteriorate as they age. While they have a much longer shelf life than, for example, strawberries, they are not immune to eventual spoilage.
As the apple ages, the cytoplasm and vacuoles inside the cell walls lose moisture. This makes the cell walls more fragile and less rigid (unable to hold the moisture inside).
After a while, this leads to the dry texture and mushy consistency we all loath.
With most fresh produce, you mainly worry about bacterial growth. It’s what causes the item to spoil before “age” does. That’s why you always store the ingredients inside a fridge.
However, apples have waxy/rubbery skin, protecting the juicy flesh from bacteria. The main thing that causes mushy apples is age, sped up in a hot, humid environment.
How To Store Apples So They Stay Crisp And Fresh
There are a couple of ways you can use for storing apples. And like with all storage guides for fresh produce, some methods work better than others.
Arguably the best way to store apples is inside the fridge. Again, this isn’t necessary to help prevent bacterial growth and rot (but it does still help). The fridge helps slow the aging process and keeps the cell walls intact for a little longer.
That being said, if you want to put your apples on display, you can. But they won’t last nearly as long, especially not in a humid environment.
How To Store Apples In The Fridge
- To start, wrap each apple in a damp piece of paper towel. This helps prevent the surface of the apple from drying out inside the fridge.
- Next, place all of the apples inside a plastic bag. Tie the top of the bag and poke a couple of holes throughout the surface. This technique also helps trap moisture but leaves room for ventilation so the bag doesn’t become too humid.
- Finally, place the bag of fresh apples inside the crisper drawer where it is coldest. DO NOT store apples next to other fruits and vegetables. They release ethylene gas which will cause that produce to ripen (and spoil) more quickly.
Storing Apples In Room Temperature
Apples can be left at room temperature, but as mentioned before, their shelf life will be significantly shorter.
So, to extend it, you can follow these rules.
- Never store apples in direct sunlight.
- Do not store apples at room temperature if it is very humid. This accelerates bacterial growth AND natural aging.
- Keep apples away from heat sources like the top or side of the fridge or microwave, a heating panel, a lamp, or the stove.
- Never store apples with other fruits in a basket or bowl. Again, apples will make them ripen more quickly and ultimately spoil within a day or two.
How To Store Cut Apples
As you may know or have experienced firsthand, cut apples spoil almost instantly. And let’s be honest, even if they aren’t spoiled completely, and nobody likes eating brown apples.
So, if you are left with some cut pieces of apples, here’s the best way to store them.
- Place the cut apples inside a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle the slices with fresh lemon or lime juice. This step helps prevent the slices from turning brown.
- Give the apples a good toss to ensure all sides are coated well.
- Place the lemon-coated slices inside an airtight container or resealable bag.
- Keep the cut apples inside the crisper drawer for a couple of days.
Don’t worry about the lemon juice flavor. It’s hardly noticeable. Even a slight lemony flavor is worth NOT eating browned apple slices.
How To Store Cooked Apples
It’s also possible to store cooked apples. Usually, they are used in fillings, to make jams or as a pre-step for spreads and smears. Cooked apples are also popular in coulies, a topping for many desserts.
When storing cooked apples, you must place them in an airtight container. Then, keep them in the middle of the fridge.
The top (where cooked ingredients are usually stored) is too hot and will cause them to become mushy and bland quickly. But the bottom (where it is the coldest inside the fridge) is reserved for other fresh produce.
How Long Do Fresh Apples Last?
It depends on many factors. First, how old the apples were when you bought them from the store? Usually, apples are already 1-3 months old when you buy them in grocery stores. And even then, they are technically considered to be fresh!
So, that’s one of the biggest determining factors. But, on average, here’s what you are looking at:
- Whole fresh apples will last about one week at room temperature, but ONLY if kept under prime conditions.
- Whole fresh apples will last almost six weeks inside the fridge, but only if you use the abovementioned technique.
- If you store apples in the fridge without the paper towel or bag, they will only last 2-3 weeks.
- Cut apple slices without lemon juice can last a day inside the fridge.
- If you drizzle some lemon juice over the slices, they can last 3-5 days.
- Cooked apples last 2-7 days, depending on what you made. Remember, this does not apply to heavily processed cooked apples (like when making jams).
Can You Freeze Apples?
Yes, but this will instantly take away their crispy texture.
I don’t recommend doing this unless you know you will cook the apples into mush.