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 carriageway 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 effective removal of dodgy apples, you should be able to enjoy crumble and other treats well into the New Year.