This weekend, my family and I went out to Williamson Orchards & Vineyards to get apples! We went there last year as well and had a great time. Though we would really prefer to go apple picking and collect the apples ourselves, that doesn't always fit into our schedule. This is a nice substitue. This orchard has big bins where you can sort the apples and choose what you want. We filled baskets and took home 2 bushels of Jonathan, Golden Delicious and Empire apples. We plan to sauce the first two kinds and eat the last!
With a 1/2 bushel of Empires to store for the winter, I knew I needed to research the best way to keep these as long as we could. When looking for apples to store over winter, choose apples that are 1) not bruised, 2) are smaller in size--the smaller the apple, the longer it will keep and 3) choose apples that are hardier in cooler temperatures. The Williamson Orchards website has a guide as to when the apples are available. You can tell by the date that they are ready which apples are going to do better in colder temps. Pink Ladies are ready last.
Apples are considered to be a fruit that is a "cold storage" item. There are varying degrees of temperatures that fruits and vegetables can be stored at. Apples need to be stored at 36-50oF for optimum length of storage. Apples can be kept up to 6 months if done properly. They will soften towards spring, so use the last apples for pies or sauces.
There are MANY ways to store apples using newspapers, plastic bags, boxes, sawdust, etc. We chose this process:
1) Sort apples into sizes. The larger apples need to be eaten first...so put the smallest apples on the bottom.
2) Place a plastic bag in the bottom of a box. Fill it with 2-4 inches of sawdust.
3) Place a layer of apples into the sawdust, allowing for 1-2 inches of space around the apples. If they are touching the sides of the box, they will spoil faster.
4) Cover the apples with a layer of sawdust, both between the apples and on top, about 1-inch.
5) Continue to repeat this until the box/bag is almost full. Place another 2-4 inches of sawdust on top and fold over the plastic bag.
Pretty easy and it didn't take much time! We had two boxes when we were done so we labeled them #1 and #2. The #2 box had the smaller apples and we will eat those later.
Hopefully we did it correctly and we can enjoy apples over the next few months! We will let you know how it it goes and whether or not we were able to store these apples properly!
Here are some other sites you can reference if you want to store apples in other ways:
Backwoods Home Magazine -- storing in newspaper
E how . com -- storing in newspaper and wood shavings
Garden Guides -- paper and plastic