Real Men Sow

How to Store Your Apples and Eat Crumble in Winter!


If apples were the currency of England, I’d be a rich man. I’ve got bags of them already, and I don’t even own a tree.

Everywhere I turn there are apples and I’ve been filling my boots at each opportunity. I picked up a bagful of freebies being given away outside a nearby house and I went for a very pleasant post-work forage to an old orchard one evening this week.

If you live in a town, there are still apples to be had in parks and bits of scrubland. My mate Simon even helps himself to apples alongside the A12 dual carriage way that runs through Essex (in hi-visibility clothing, don’t try this at home kids).

The trouble is, with so many apples freely available, eating them all at the same time is rather difficult. Therefore, efficient storing is important.

Different varieties keep for different lengths of time, and in some cases storing can improve flavour. A good example is the D’arcy Spice, a heritage variety local to me that doesn’t come into its own until a good couple of months after harvesting.

I’m more of a cooker than a dessert man, and always try to store as many cooking apples as possible so I can have a regular supply of stewed apple into winter.

Remove the Bad Ones
When I’m storing apples, I first pick through them so I can pull out the ones with bruises or damage. Never store bruised apples with your good ones, even if the blemish is small, and only store the perfect apples.

I stew up the bruised apples with some caster sugar, and use them as a compote for afters. The compote will keep in a container in the fridge for a week or so.

Wrap in Newspaper and Don’t Let Them Touch!
To store the good apples over winter, you’ll need some newspapers. Wrap each apple in a sheet of the paper, and place them on a tray or in a cardboard box.

Don’t let any apples touch each other as this will make them go bad quicker, and it’s important to keep an eye on your apples so that you can swiftly remove any that have become damaged.

The storage temperature needs to be cool but not frosty, and the atmosphere moist, so a shed or garage is a good place to keep your apples. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the house, as the temperature will be too high.

I’ve used these methods for several years now, and all my apples have always stored just fine. With a little bit of luck and an effective removal of dodgy apples, you should be able to enjoy crumble and other treats well into the New Year.

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  1. Alan @ It's Not Work, It's Gardening!September 19, 2013 at 11:37 amReply

    Ah, to live someplace where people give away apples!

    If you’ve got each one wrapped in newspaper, doesn’t that take forever to check them for spoil? How often do you check, and how long does it take?

    • Jono

      JonoSeptember 20, 2013 at 8:01 amReplyAuthor

      Hi Alan,

      I tend to be able to smell the bad ones! And then I can locate them and feel for softness, so doesn’t take too long.

      It is odd here. There are apples all over the place, but people leave them on trees and buy them instead.

      This is an interesting project:

  2. elaineSeptember 19, 2013 at 6:13 pmReply

    Thank goodness wasps don’t seem to like cooking apples ‘cos they have practically ruined the early eaters. My Bramley tree is pretty big so I can’t actually reach any of the apples and have to wait till they fall which means that mostly they have bruises so don’t keep for very long. I really must remedy this situation but not quite sure how!

  3. Jono

    JonoSeptember 20, 2013 at 8:02 amReplyAuthor

    Hey Elaine – I’d love a big old Bramley tree. My mum reckons a walking stick is useful as you can pull the high branches down.

    An old scrumping trick apparently…

  4. SparrowgrassSeptember 21, 2013 at 7:26 amReply

    Free food tastes so much better than stuff you pay for! My allotments were planted up (in 1927) with a fruit tree on each plot ; now, some are finished but the scrumping is great. I only take the fallers and it’s a right faff to process them straight away but now I have a freezer full of fruit ready for winter. Off blackberrying today and will get a bucket of elderberries as well to stop colds in their tracks. Processing the harvest has run me ragged recently and I’m looking forward to getting back to my sewing machine!

  5. SparrowgrassSeptember 21, 2013 at 7:34 amReply

    P.S. When you go blackberrying, take a bottle of water and a towel as well as buckets and containers that won’t rip on the thorns. Wear old clothes ( ask me how I learned to remember this one) and take secateurs and – of course- the walking stick. Be prepared to process them soon after you get home, as they go off quite quickly. Nothing like blackberries to go with those apples!

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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