Should Apples Be Refrigerated? Hear Us Out on This One
While the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ might not be completely accurate, but there’s no contesting the fact that this fruit boasts plenty of health benefits (they’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber and potassium, after all) and delicious flavor to boot. That’s why we reliably keep our fruit bowl stocked with these crisp, sweet gems. Or at least we did...until we heard some whisperings about putting apples in the fridge, and now, we just don’t know what to do. Could this rumor really be good advice? After all, every still life of an apple we’ve ever encountered features them casually hanging out on a counter or kitchen table, so that must mean something. So, should apples be refrigerated? We did a little research to get to the core of the matter, and it turns out we haven’t been doing right by our apples. (Who knew?)
Should Apples Be Refrigerated?
Yep, the fridge is the best place to store apples. Experts at the New York Apple Association, as well as the folks behind PickYourOwn.Org, agree that the fridge provides ideal conditions for apples because these guys really like the cold. In fact, apples stored in the fridge will stay fresh for up to 10 times longer than fruit stored at room temperature. Apples prefer a surprisingly frigid environment—somewhere in the 30- to 40-degree range is best—and maximum humidity (ideally between 90 and 95 percent). For this reason, the crisper drawer is the happiest home for your favorite crunchy fruit snack. If your fridge has an option to adjust the humidity in the crisper drawer, crank it up as high as it can go, and your apples will be sitting pretty.
How Long Will Apples Stay Fresh?
Don’t get us wrong, you can still put a few apples in the fruit bowl for both aesthetic and snacking purposes—especially if you actually do eat an apple a day. Just keep in mind that apples stored at room temperature will only stay at peak quality for roughly seven days. The fridge, on the other hand, keeps apples fresh for anywhere from three weeks to three months—making it the better choice by far if you plan to buy (or pick) in bulk.
Do All Apples Keep Well?Glad you asked! No. You might’ve noticed the three-week to three-month freshness window is pretty large—that’s because late-harvest apples like Fuji are thicker-skinned, and thus survive better, while softer summer apples (think Gala and Delicious) don’t keep nearly as long. So next time you’re browsing the rather overwhelming apple selection in the produce aisle, opt for the fruit that feels firmer (unless, of course, you are shopping for an eat-me-now snack).
There are a few other things you can do to ensure your apples have the longest lifespan possible:
- Keep your fruit away from moisture, the pros at PickYourOwn advise. Humidity is good but actual wetness is not, so don’t rinse your apples until you’re ready to eat them.
- Make your apples practice social distancing. The experts also advise against storing apples in such a way that they are actually touching each other: “Those points of contact will spread mold!” Avoid unwanted intimacy by wrapping each apple in a page of newspaper before storing them in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.
- Don’t bother chilling a bruised apple longterm. Make short work of any apple that has suffered rough handling because, even in the fridge, it won’t fare well.
- Keep them away from fragrant foods. The New York Apple Association cautions that apples are likely to “absorb odors” from other foods (we’re looking at you, stinky cheese) and can also “speed ripening of some other vegetables and fruits.”
Now that you have the scoop, you’re ready to stock up at the grocery store, or better yet, plan a local apple-picking excursion. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy a tasty, healthy (and never mealy) nosh.