It was October, 2011 when I last picked some sweet apples and I just ate the last fresh apple from this pick at the beginning of August, 2012.
Have I been eating fresh apples from this pick for the entire 10 months? No, but I did save a handful, fifteen to be exact, to keep in my refrigerator crisper just to see how long they would last. My initial intention was to see if I could keep fresh apples in my refrigerator until the new apples were ready to pick next season. Considering the 2012 apple harvest is now well underway, I must say “mission accomplice”!
I was also curious, if it was necessary to can, freeze, or otherwise process all my apples within a short period of time or could I enjoy fresh apples over the winter months without having to resort to grocery store imports.
So then I wondered, “just how old are the apples that we purchase at the supermarket?” A quick Google led me to several articles that state that the apples on supermarket shelves may have been harvested up to 10 or twelve months prior. These apples, however, have generally been coated with fungicides and wax to maintain their freshness. My apples were just tossed into a bag and placed in my crisper.
Each month I inspected the apples for freshness, threw out any bad apples and then cut one open to eat. I did notice a reduction in quality as the months wore on but was surprised that they maintained adequate flavour and crispness throughout the 10 months. Certainly more flavour than some of the woody off season apples I have purchased.
Will I try to keep fresh apples in my refrigerator over winter again this year? I think I will. This year though, I will be more diligent in my inspection and keep only prime apples that show no sign of bruising, infestation, etc.
Post written by Fruit Share volunteer and Advisory Team member Chris Mackinnon
Please Note: this might not work for all apple varieties. Usually fall apples – those harvested in late September will store better and longer than summer apples. Summer apples tend to be a little softer.