How to Store Apples for Long-Lasting Freshness

How do you keep apples fresh longer? By choosing the right varieties and using best storage practices, apples can stay fresh for months. These tried-and-true tips for how to store apples will guarantee you have fresh-tasting apples all year long.

When apple season is in full swing, this collection of apple recipes is perfect for cooking with your abundance.

red rome apples

Best Tips for How to Store Apples

Before we dig into choosing the best apple varieties for storage, here are the most important tips and tricks for how to store apples properly when the harvest has been abundant.

Choose Slightly Underripe Apples

Apples will continue to ripen after they’re picked, so slightly underripe apples are the best choice if you need them to stay fresh. Look for firm apples without any soft spots.

Inspect Apples Carefully

Separate any apples that have bruises, soft spots, broken skin, or brown spots. Use these right away instead of storing or you risk spoiling your entire apple supply.

red apple in a nest of brown paper

Wrap Apples Separately

The old saying that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch is accurate! If one apple begins to overripen, it can cause the apples around it to ripen more rapidly (this is due to the release of ethylene gas). The solution for this is to wrap your apples individually for longer storage. You can use paper bags, newspaper, or kraft paper.

Apples readily absorb the flavor of other foods, so avoid storing them near onions or potatoes. And bananas can hasten ripening, so avoid storing apples near those.

Choose a Cool, Dark Place

While you can use your fridge to store apples (more on that later), you can only fit so many apples in your crisper drawer! If you have a lot of apples to store, pick the coolest, darkest place in your home. This might be a basement, garage, root cellar, or simply the coolest room or closet in your house.

red apples on a tree

Apples Like Humidity

Apples are one of the fruits that benefit from a humid storage environment. High humidity prevents fluid loss and skin wrinkling. This is why cool, damp cellars are the ideal storage place for apples.

Place a damp paper towel or dish towel over your apples to keep the humidity high during storage. (Don’t mist your apples, as too much water can cause spoilage.)

The Handcrafted Pantry

Ready to DIY your pantry with healthier ingredients? Check out my ebook, The Handcrafted Pantry! Filled with delicious recipes for some of your favorite condiments, snacks, and toppings, it’s the guide you need to start skipping packaged products and embrace homemade.

Long-Lasting Apple Varieties that Stay Fresh

Apple varieties that store best will be firm with a thick skin. Tart varieties also tend to keep longer. Softer varieties with thin skin (like my beloved Gravenstein) tend to bruise more easily, which can cause apples to spoil.

Here is a list of common varieties that work well for long-term apple storage:

  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • McIntosh
  • Rome (aka Roman Beauty)
  • Pink Lady

Late Season Apple Varieties

Late season apples come into season in mid-October or later. You’ll notice a lot of similarities between this list and the long-lasting apples list. That’s no coincidence! These apples are also known as winter apples because they tend to be cold hardy and last all winter long. Some varieties, like Braeburn, can last up to a year if stored properly.

  • Braeburn
  • Cortland
  • Rome (aka Roman Beauty)
  • Baldwin
  • Winesap
  • Fuji
  • Granny Smith
granny smith apples in a pile with a price sign

Can You Store Apples in the Refrigerator or Freezer?

The best apple storage temperatures range between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the crisper drawer in your fridge really is the best place to store apples. Store apples alone in the crisper drawer (away from other fruits and veggies), wrapped individually, and with a slightly damp towel to keep them fresh.

You can store whole apples in the freezer, but you may get mixed results. Frozen apples tend be mushy and will brown easily when thawed. For the most part, it’s best to peel and slice apples before freezing. Frozen apples work best in recipes like applesauce, pies, and cobblers, where you don’t need a firm texture. They don’t taste great to eat out of hand after being frozen!

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About the author: Kris Bordessa Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She’s a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.