Have you got a friend who swears that keeping apples in the refrigerator is the best way to store them?
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You may have thought that they are completely wrong as apples should require warmer temperatures when stored. However, your friend is right (Don’t tell them though!)
Apples are a wonderfully healthy snack and can be added to a wide range of meals for extra flavor and texture.
Some of us just like the look of apples stored in a bowl but whatever the reason you use apples, you want them to last as long as possible and stay fresh.
If you have thought that keeping apples at room temperature is the best way to prevent them from spoiling, we’re afraid this simply isn’t true.
To continue benefiting from the antioxidants, fibers, and potassium apples offer, you should ignore the fruit basket on your kitchen countertop and move your apples to the refrigerator.
That’s right! A refrigerated apple a day keeps the fungus away!
Today, we are going to discuss why keeping apples in the refrigerator is the best way to keep them fresh and how long you should expect them to last compared to being in a warmer environment.
Should I store apples in the refrigerator?
Simply put, yes. The fridge is the best place to keep your apples. Ever noticed how apples are sometimes stored in refrigerators in stores? There is a reason for this. It keeps them fresher for much longer.
A team of experts from the New York Apple Association, which sounds like a fun place to work, agree that refrigerators hold the perfect conditions to store apples in.
Surprisingly, apples love cold temperatures. It has been found that apples that are kept in the fridge tend to stay fresher for up to 10 times longer than when they are stored at room temperature.
Apples stored at room temperature usually begin to spoil within a week whereas apples in the refrigerator can stay fresh for up to 2 or 3 months.
Apples are best suited to frigid temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The maximum humidity shouldn’t exceed 90% to 95%.
Therefore, the bottom drawer of your refrigerator, which is typically the coldest part, is where your apples will be the most content. You can even adjust this drawer’s humidity with some fridges. If so, adjust it to the highest possible setting for the best environment for your apples.
As soon as you arrive home from the grocery store, you should place the apples in the fridge. If you’re planning on using and eating the apples within the first week, refrigeration storage isn’t always necessary.
How long will apples stay fresh?
Although storing apples in the refrigerator is the best method of keeping them fresh, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a few out in a fruit bowl for decorative purposes or a quick-to-reach snack.
However, you should keep in mind when you store apples at room temperature, they will only stay at their best quality for around seven days. If you live in hotter climates, you could see the apples start to rot within the first three or four days.
On the other hand, if you keep your apples in the fridge, the apples can stay fresh for three weeks to a whopping three months. This is why it’s best to buy or pick apples in bulk as it can save you money in the long run and you will have a plentiful supply when needed.
How to Store Apples in the Refrigerator
So, now you know that storing apples in the refrigerator is the best way of keeping them healthy, you should also become aware of the best way to store them.
You shouldn’t just chuck apples in the fridge and hope they stay fresh. Although you can do this, there are some useful tips and tricks in order for your apples to get the longest shelf life possible.
The following tips and factors to consider will ensure your apples stay fresh for much longer.
- Even after they are picked, apples continue to ripen. At room temperature, this ripening accelerates and soon the apples begin to spoil. For longer-lasting apples, look for some that are not fully ripened. You can tell this by the apple’s firmness. If there are no soft spots or waxiness, the apple is probably not fully ripened yet.
- Be gentle when handling apples. If one apple in a bunch becomes bruised and begins to spoil, it can rot the rest of the apples due to a faster transmission of ethylene gas.
- Don’t store apples with vegetables. The ethylene gas, which apples produce, can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen before they are supposed to. This can lead to all your fruits and veggies becoming spoiled very early and this is especially true of ethylene-sensitive vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
- Keep away from fragrant foods. Apples are more likely to absorb odors from some foods according to the New York Apple Association. This includes foods such as smelly cheeses.
- Pick apples that last longer such as smaller ones with a thicker skin. Furthermore, tart apples are believed to last longer than sweet apples so these should be considered if you’re looking for long-term apples.
- Wrap each apple separately. This may be a little time-consuming but this is a sure-fire way of elongating your apple’s lifespan. As we mentioned, bruised apples can spoil quicker so wrapping each one can prevent them all from spoiling if one becomes rotten. You can wrap each apple in a damp paper towel or a plastic produce bag.
- Keep your apples, and other fruit, away from moisture. While humidity is good, moisture can impede your apple’s lifespan. Only rinse an apple just before you eat it.
- And, of course, store your apples in the refrigerator. We just wanted to mention it again! It’s recommended that you keep your apples in the crisper drawer of your fridge as this will maintain a constant temperature for your apples when compared to the rest of your fridge when the door is opened and shut regularly.
Temperature and Humidity
As we have mentioned, the best temperature to store your apples is around 31 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Apples adore freezing cold temperatures so the colder, the better!
Some experts even recommend you keep your apples in another fridge that isn’t opened very often. This is because it will maintain a low temperature at all times and keep your apples fresh for a very long time.
You may be surprised to know that most grocery stores regularly mist apples. This is to add humidity to keep them fresher for longer. Of course, you probably don’t have a misting device lying around in your home but there are other ways that can add humidity to your stored apples.
One example is to get a damp towel and cover the apples with it. Although apples shouldn’t be moistened too much, this will give them a little access to moisture without them becoming drenched.
Another example is to put apples in a plastic produce bag. This will then trap the humidity inside. However, as apples emit ethylene gas, it’s critical you poke a few holes in the bag so this gas doesn’t become trapped. If the gas is kept within, the apples will spoil much quicker.
What fruits and vegetables should not be refrigerated?
Just because you can store apples safely in the refrigerator doesn’t mean you can store all fruits and vegetables.
Below is a list of fruits that don’t need to be refrigerated and are better left at room temperature.
- Tomatoes - Tomatoes should never be stored in the fridge. Once in the refrigerator, tomatoes tend to lose their texture and flavor before becoming mealy and soft. It’s best to leave these on your kitchen counter.
- Potatoes/sweet potatoes - Potatoes indeed need a cool, dark place when stored but the fridge is not what is required. The refrigerator is far too cold for potatoes as low temperatures damage the natural starches in these vegetables ruining their flavor and texture. Store in a paper bag instead.
- Pears - Like apples, you can refrigerate these but it isn’t necessary. The cold air can break down a pear’s texture but if you prefer a cold fruit, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Oranges, limes, lemons, clementines - Citrus fruit should be stored on the counter. Try to keep them from touching each other as one moldy fruit can infect all the others.
- Peaches and plums - All stone fruits shouldn’t be refrigerated, especially if they are unripe. Once in the fridge, they cannot ripen. Instead, store them on your counter and eat them as soon as they are ripe.
- Berries - Fresh berries don’t stay fresh for long and this is how nature intended it. Keep these at room temperature and enjoy within a few days after being rinsed first.
- Bananas - If you place a banana in the fridge, its peel will become brown, prematurely resulting in a changed texture. Store on your kitchen counter for the best results.
- Melons - These should be stored on your countertop. Refrigerators tend to turn a melon’s flesh quite mealy. However, once it has been cut, you can store melon pieces in the fridge.
- Avocados - Whole avocados would be stored at room temperature. Once they become soft, you can place them in the fridge for a few extra days but this will dampen their flavor.
- Onions and garlic - Other foods, such as apples, can absorb these pungent allium’s odors and even become softer over some time. It’s best to store onions and garlic in a paper bag. Nonetheless, you can store a cut onion in the fridge as long as it’s very well-wrapped.
- Winter squash - Acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash should be stored out on the counter for long-lasting use.
- Peppers - These should be stored in a paper bag at room temperature but can be kept in the fridge in a suitable bag. Be warned, however, as fridges tend to soften a pepper’s crisp texture.
These are just some of the fruits and veggies that don’t need refrigeration. Although some can be kept in the fridge, it’s best to keep them at room temperature to keep them edible for longer.
Storing Sliced Apples in the Refrigerator
Ever cut an apple and witnessed it turn brown in front of your very own eyes? This can be frustrating but there is a remedy. You guessed it! Keep them in the fridge!
The reason apples begin to turn brown once cut is because oxygen reaches the apple’s inner core. This releases an enzyme that oxidizes the apple, turning it brown.
To prevent this, brush the slices with lemon juice. The oxidation process is slowed down so the browning process takes a lot longer.
Once they have been brushed with lemon juice, tightly wrap the slices in a plastic produce bag or aluminum foil. Then, place the slices in an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag before storing them in the fridge. Voila! A handy snack is waiting for you!
Now you know! To keep your apples fresher and crisper for longer, just store them in the refrigerator and not at room temperature. Your apples could last for weeks or even months in this colder environment.
However, you should always pick fresh apples that are free from spots or bruises that are not fully ripe yet.
Once picked, store your apples in the crisper drawer of your fridge and maintain some humidity with a plastic bag or damp towel. You’ll have fresh apples forever!