Follow us on Twitter!

Categories
2008
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
Adams County
ADHD
advocacy
Africa
ag
ag policy
apple
apple art
Apple Blossom Festival
apple juice
apple tree
apples
art
Ask A Grower
award
bad humor
Baltimore
baseball
beer
bees
Ben
berries
Biglerville
biology
blog
bloom
blossoms
Brick and Mortar
brix
bulk
buyer's club
CA storage
Camp Hill
canned goods
canning
Carlisle
CCD
Central PA
certification
charity
cheese
Chef
Chefs
cherry juice
chilies
choosing
Chuck Darwin & The Knuckle Draggers
cider
Cider Town
clingstone
cocktails
colorblind
Columbia Heights
concentrate
conservation
contest
cooking
craft beverages
crop diversity
customer survey
damage
Dave
DC
dining
dinner
discounts
Donald G. Wenk
drought
Dust Bowl
education
events
Fair Food Farmstand
Family History
FAQ
FAQ market
farm
Farm Dinner
farm history
farm labor
Farm Show
farm visit
farm workers
farmers
farmers markets
Farmers on the Square
Farmers on Walnut
food
Food Alliance
Food in Jars
food policy
Food Safety
food soverignity
food system
Food Tank
Food Tank Summit
Food Trust
FOTS
FREC
freestone
freeze
freezing
frost
fruit
fun
Future Harvest
FutureHarvest
fuzz
Gettysburg
Gift Baskets
Gift Boxes
Gifts
grafting
Granny Smith
Greenbelt
Grocery Store
growing
Growing Greener
Growing Practices
guide
guster
Harbor East
hard cider
harvest
Hawkeye
Headhouse
heirloom
heirloom apples
heirloom tomatoes
HHS
history
homebrew
homewine
Honeycrisp
hot
hot peppers
humor
IFTA
instagram
Intermarche
internship
IPM
John
juice
Ken Burns
Kenilworth
Kosher
Kosher Certified
lancaster
land access
LEAF
lightning
local
lysteria
Madam Fromage
Mark Bittman
market
marketing
markets
Maryland
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Farm to Chef
Master Farmer
mating disruption
maturity
MD
meetings
Muscle Bound Lummox
music
nectarines
Nerdy ag
NRCS
nursery
NYFC
Obama
oddity
offseason
One Straw Farm
online
online orders
online store
orchards
orders
organic
Organophosphates
Orioles
PA Apples
PA Cider Fest
pantry items
PASA
peaches
penetrometer
Penn State
Phillies
Philly
photos
pictures
planting
Ploughman
pollination
preserving
President
press
pro food
produce
profood
PSU
Reading Terminal Market
recall
recipes
Red Delicious
refractometer
restaurant
restaurants
ripe
rootstock
Roy Orbison
science
scion
scouting
seconds
seedlings
Shane
SHAP
shipping
silly
Silver Spring
social networking
South Africa
starch iodine
STEM
storage
subsidies
survey
sustainability
sustainable
Tasting Menu
testimonials
The Atlantic
tomato
Tony Danza
tour
Towson
travel
tree
trees
Trini food
Trinidad
trivia
twitter
value added
varieties
video
visit
weather
White House
white peaches
wildlife
winter
winter markets
World Series
Year in Review
yellow peaches
YGA
ZA
zagat
Mailing list sign-up
<< Back

CA storage

Posted 10/13/2011 11:30am by Ben Wenk.

So I'm mixing my Alton Brown references with "The Tick", and no, I don't expect anyone to keep up with this nonsense.  I'm just be preparing you the reader for my own level of acute, scientific detail I've come to love from Alton Brown as the blog moves along.

On to our question!  This one is a very common question, most recently posed via our twitter account by New York-based food blogger NutmegNanny via our good friend Michelle at eatniks:

"@NutmegNanny Can you store apples in the fridge?"


bulk bins full of freshly harvested apples 25 bu wooden bins and 23 bu plasticNot only can you store apples in your refrigerator, it is my recommendation that you do!  Unlike other edibles - onions, potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes come to mind, that will endure internal cellular damage and flavor alteration when stored at refrigerator temps, apples thrive and endure in your chilly frigidaire (as do peaches, but that's another blog for another time).

While I endorse refrigeration as the preferred method of apple preservation, it does come with a caveat or two.  As the aforementioned Alton Brown frequently reminds his audience, refrigerators are often victims of cross contamination and "flavor blending" and apples are no different.  The best spot for your apples is in the crisper with other veggies and fruits such as greens or carrots, geographically separated from proteins, dairy etc.  Apples are not spoiled by moist environments the way other fruit and veg might be so no extra effort is required to remove your fruits from moisture.  Truthfully, a little moisture will help keep your apples fresh as dry atmospheric conditions in your fridge can cause moisture to be pulled from the fruit - you'll discover this in the form of wrinkled apple skin after prolonged fridge time.  Cut apples are not to be reinstated back into your fridge - seems obvious, but worth mentioning.  

apples - stored much better in modern fridges, than in 1940's mounds under corn stalksHow long is too long?  It's the perfect follow up question, so let's have a look.  A good answer is two weeks but it's not a "catch all" answer.  Trutfully, so many environmental and cultural factors go in to the longevity (or lack thereof) in apples, that it's hard to pin down in a neat and tidy way.  Each apple variety (and there are over 4,000) has its own quirks in regards to storage life.  Fuji, for example, have a history of success in long term storage - maintaining crispness for months in your refrigerator.  Some heirloom or heritage apples, Smokehouse for example, while delicious, do not keep well.  The amount of moisture and rainfall during the growing season and the distribution of rainfall over time plays a huge factor in certain apple varieties keeping better in some years than others.  Jonagold, one of my favorites, is a notoriously inconsistent keeper.  Some years, they are great keepers, others not so much.  Honeycrisp (everyone's favorite) is so finicky a keeper that the way we store ours is just about the only thing our farm values as a "trade secret" that you can't get out of me.  Suffice it to say we go to great lengths to store Honeycrisp differently to preserve their awesome eating qualities.  As chronicled in an earlier blog, apples stored in controlled atmosphere can maintain crispness for nearly a year without any sort of bizarre witchcraft (thanks to land grant ag research, of course).  And while "storage apples" are representative of the fine work we do on this farm and I'll happily put our good name on them, I think we all agree - the closer to harvest the better.  As it is with apples, so should it be with all of our eating.


Historically "Good Keepers"

Fuji
Arkansas Black
York Imperial
Cameo
Golden Delicious
Rome Beauty


Historically "Inconsistent Keepers"

Gala
Jonagold
Macintosh
Smokehouse
Jonathan
Red Delicious

 

see also,

Ask a Grower I, Roots and Scions - Apple Tree Anatomy

Ask a Grower II, Granny Smith Apple Seeds - Apple Tree Propagation

Ask a Grower III, Clingstone vs. Freestone Peaches

Ask a Grower IV, The Cider Blog - What's Cider, What's Juice?

Ask a Grower VI, Grafting - Part Historic, Part Horticultural Wizardry

Ask a Grower VII, Why Are Peaches Fuzzy?

Posted 5/14/2009 8:58am by Ben Wenk.

Jonagold applesIt's no secret.  The best apples you'll ever have will be eaten in season, picked just before their arrival at your favorite farmers market.  While your appetite and enthusiasm for apples might not be as seasonal as the crop itself, don't worry!  Research has led us to a great discovery in Post Harvest Technology that will maintain a respectable level of crispness nearly the whole year round!  This crispness is achieved through Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.

Controlled Atmosphere, or CA storage is used all over the country to improve the shelf life of fresh apples.  Apples, as you know, can continue ripening after they're picked from the tree.  They absorb oxygen through their lenticils (little dots on their skin) and release carbon dioxide as they convert their starches to sugars.  "Natural Air" cold storages are kept at 33-35 degrees Fahrenheit with approximately the same atmosphere as the air we breathe.  CA storages are kept at a similar temperature but the atmosphere is altered to remove all but 1 to 2 percent Oxygen when it would normally be 21%.  This keeps the fruits from respirating and maintains crispness.

Apple Supplies, Headhouse MarketSo if respiration is converting startches to sugars, maybe I want a sweeter apple?  Let it go - don't mess with it!  To the contrary, you want those sugars to be put there by the tree!  When the apple loses starch, that's when you end up with those dreaded mushy, mealy apples that, much to our chagrin, commonly end up on grocery store shelves.  The answer to this problem is simple (and you know it already): Buy Local!  You may not always find Three Springs Fruit Farm apples in the cold winter months, but you can always find Eastern apples!  I'm betting you'll taste the difference!

Some Historical Perspective

For your own amusement, below are a few pictures of how apples used to be stored before they were processed into juices and sauces.  We have no dates for these photos, but our estimates would be the late 1930's and early 1940's.

 

The fruit would be picked into crates, stacked, and heaped up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apples stacked behind walls

 

The fruit was piled up between the makeshift walls you see above.

 

Covering the Apples with Corn Stalks

 

 

 

Corn stalks were added as insulation.   They would trap the cool evening air underneath and keep the apples cool... "back in the day"

 

Corn Stalks on Top

 

 

 

 

And when you were done, this is what a cold storage looked like at the start of the 1940's!

Car and finished storage

And when you have all of the apples stored, you jump into your dandy automobile and head home for supper (as opposed to dinner).  This picture added to give an indication of what year we're looking at.