What better way to enjoy fall’s beauty than apple picking, the quintessential autumnal activity (just check your Insta feed). You get to enjoy the season’s crisp breeze, colorful landscapes, and most importantly, the darn good apples. Crunchy yet juicy, fall’s star fruit checks all the boxes of the perfect crispy snack. No wonder last year’s apple-picking frenzy went a little too far, leaving you with a few too many apples rotting in the kitchen. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us (trust us, we’ve gone a little overboard at the orchard before, too). So in hopes of avoiding that post-apple-picking-guilt (yes, it’s a thing) and enjoying your favorite fall fruit a while longer, employ this simple trick to keep your apples looking and tasting fresh long after you’ve picked them.
You’ve probably noticed that grocery stores regularly mist their fruit with water, and for good reason. The water keeps produce fresh for longer periods of time, significantly reducing the amount of food that has to be thrown out. With that in mind, the key to keeping apples fresh for months is –– drum roll, please –– humidity! The moist atmosphere keeps apples hydrated, avoiding shrinkage and, ultimately, rottenness.
Obviously, it’s hard to recreate your farmer’s market’s water-sprinkling system at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a little DIY hack to get the job done. Here’s what to do: wrap each apple in a damp paper towel, place it in the fridge, and then…wait, no, that’s it. Simple as that! The cool temperature (aim for 30-35 degrees) and high humidity (90-95%) combined, create the perfect atmosphere for conserving freshly-picked apples.
Alternatively, you can also increase your fruits’ shelf life by sticking a bunch of apples in a large plastic bag with a few holes punched into it to let the ethylene gas –– a natural plant hormone that triggers cell degradation (a.k.a. rotting)–– out. For added humidity, store your apples in the crisper fridge drawer. Storing your apples separately will also keep the ethylene gas from spoiling other fresh produce.
Now that you know how to conserve your apples, pick as many apples as you’d like without feeling guilty for wasting half your harvest! And who knows, when making your make your signature apple pie next year, you may be using your October-picked honey crisps!