Apples are not only an enjoyable snack but is also packed with numerous nutrients. Picking or buying an apple is easy, but storing it to keep an apple crisp and fresh for a long time can be tricky. Is the fridge a good option? If so, how long do apples last in the fridge?
Properly storing apples allows you to enjoy this fruit for months. However, proper handling is necessary to maximize its shelf life.
After picking, mass-produced apples are cleaned and given a waxy yet edible outer coating. This process locks in moisture and prevents the apples from spoiling quickly.
Then, they are kept in strictly controlled conditions that intervene with the spoiling process, so they stay fresh for up to 12 months before landing on your countertop.
Once commercial apples leave the controlled environment, they can last for 5-7 days at room temperature.
On the other hand, organic apples harvested from your garden can last about 2-3 weeks without refrigeration.
Refrigeration has long been proven to extend the shelf life of food, but how long do apples last in the fridge?
Whole apples can last for up to 8 weeks in the fridge when properly stored.
Sliced or cooked apples, such as stewed apples and apple pie, have a shorter shelf life of 3-5 days, even when refrigerated.
Whether you eat them as a snack or add them to your dishes, no one will argue that apples are delicious.
But do you know there is some truth to the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?”
Apples are nutrient-dense fruits. A medium-sized apple (100 grams) contains these nutrients (Healthline):
They are rich in Vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, and fiber aids in healthy digestion. In addition, they are also good sources of polyphenols, Vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Its skin contains most polyphenols and half of the fiber content you need daily. So it is best if you eat the fruit with its skin on.
Apples will continue to ripen even when off the tree. When they do, they will not get sweeter. Instead, they will get softer.
Apple releases ethylene, a natural gas that triggers the ripening process. Due to the cooler temperature, the ethylene emission slows down once the apples are refrigerated, so they will not ripen as fast.
However, it is not just a matter of tossing apples in the refrigerator. There are helpful techniques that can help your fruits last longer.
Here are some general tips on how to store apples in the fridge:
Whole apples last longer than sliced or cooked ones, but you must store them properly to ensure optimum freshness.
Here’s how to properly store your whole apples in the fridge:
Inspect your bunch of apples and separate those that have soft spots or bruises from the undamaged ones.
You can keep the damaged apples in a fruit basket or fruit bowl at room temperature and eat them within a short amount of time because they will now spoil faster. Consider throwing away apples that are too damaged.
Pile apples in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. If your fridge does not have a crisper drawer, pile them in an uncovered plastic container and place the container near the back of the fridge where it is the coldest.
Apples will also need a small amount of moisture to stay fresh. A damp paper towel over them will provide them with enough moisture. If you drape them with a damp paper towel, ensure you do not seal the fruits in an airtight container.
If your refrigerator has a crisper drawer, set the control dial between 30°F and 35°F. Avoid storing apples in colder temperatures because their cells will break down, and they’ll turn mushy.
Conversely, storing them at 40°F or higher will cause them to ripen twice as fast.
You can place a thermometer in the crisper drawer and adjust the settings accordingly if there is no temperature dial.
Sliced apples have a shorter shelf life than whole ones, but storing them in the fridge makes them last longer.
Here are the steps to store sliced apples in the fridge:
Exposing your sliced or cut apple to air causes the release of an enzyme that will make your apple oxidize and turn brown.
Your goal is to reduce your apple’s exposure to air to prevent browning, and here are a few ways:
Dip the sliced apples in lemon juice. Submerge the open sides of the sliced apples in a bowl of one part lemon juice and three parts water. Store them in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag and place the container or bag in the refrigerator.
Soak sliced apples in lemon-lime soda. Many food stylists love this technique. Soak your sliced apples in lemon-lime soda such as Sprite or 7 Up for 10 minutes.
Give them a salt water bath. Prepare a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon salt for every 2 cups of water. Soak your apple slices in the mix for about five minutes. Rinse apples before storing them.
Dip apple slices in honey. Add two tablespoons of honey to every cup of water. Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds, then dip the apple slices.
Submerge apple slices in water. Place the apple slices in a bowl with water and put a clean paper towel on top.
Store the container or bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Storing sliced apples in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag or container protects them from contaminants and excess moisture.
If you want to store apples for an extended period, refrigerating them is still the best way. However, you need to take extra precautions and store them a little differently to ensure that you will get the most of their shelf life.
Here are the steps to store apple long-term in the fridge:
Even apples that are in good condition emit a little ethylene gas. That said, bare apples in storage rub against each other; they can rot faster. Besides, when any of the apples start to get rotten, it can contaminate the whole bunch.
Individually wrapping the apples in a newspaper can prevent all these. It is indeed true that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.
Check the apples after a few weeks or months for any signs of spoilage. If you notice any rotten apples, remove them before they can spoil the rest of the apples.
Fruits, apples included, do not come with expiration dates. So, it would be best to trust your senses when checking if apples feel and look different than usual.
For instance, fresh apples have bright shiny skin, firm flesh, and a fruity aroma. They are also juicy and crispy when bitten. They might have gone bad if they do not possess these qualities.
It is important to note that when you notice some signs of apples going bad, it does not automatically mean that they are no longer edible. Although no longer that delicious, they can still be good for a day or two but only for baking and cooking.
You can grate and use apples past their prime for your salads. They can also be used in making applesauce, pies, and smoothies.
Here are some signs that apples are going bad:
The most apparent sign that apples have already gone bad is their appearance.
Check them for brown flecks, bruises, and wrinkled skin. They are no longer fresh if they have any of these visual signs.
Insects are often the culprits for the holes in apples.
Throw away apples with holes because molds can get into them, and there are probably worms or insects that have taken shelter inside them.
Molds on the bottom of apples appear only in extreme situations, but molds are the worst things you can find in apples because they can harm your body and make you sick.
When you see molds, it is not enough that you cut off the affected part and consume the rest.
Apples with molds are inedible, so throw them away.
Rotten apples have several patches or mushy spots. They have ruptured skin, and juices are oozing out.
Although they are still edible, apples do not taste good when they have wrinkled skin and a grainy texture.
Watch out for discolored spots in apples. You can still eat them if the discoloration is not too deep into the flesh, slice the affected part and eat the rest.
However, discard the apples if most of the flesh is already discolored.
If apples do not have any of the signs above, then that is the only time you should taste them.
Take a small bite and discard apples that taste bland. An apple with no juice and tastes mealy is already spoiled.
A bag of apples in grocery stores does not typically display an expiry date. The only dates you may see are the “best before date” or “date of harvest.” However, that does not mean that they do not expire.
Apples do expire, so you need to be conscious of the signs that show your apples are rotten and not safe to consume anymore.
Apples on your kitchen counter will remain fresh and crisp for about 7 days.
That said, your kitchen counter is a good enough storage for your apples if you plan to consume them within a week and you do not have enough space in the fridge.
The shelf life of apples can vary from a few days to a few weeks or months. After all, how long apples can stay fresh and crisp depends on the temperature of your storage place.
So, how long do apples last in the fridge? The answer is it depends. If they are whole, they can last up to 8 weeks. However, if they are already sliced and cooked, they will only last up to 5 days.