Spring Apples-Storage Secrets
How do we have such crunchy, fresh-tasting apples in April?
It’s all about how they’re stored! As soon as they’re picked, our apples are chilled down as soon as possible to around 33 degrees and kept at that temperature (Studies have shown that for every hour after that an apple is not chilled after being picked, its storage life can be reduced by up to a week!). Cold temperatures slow the respiration rate of the fruit and the production of ethylene, a natural gas that accelerates ripening. Because of their skin and cell structure, some apples store better than others. Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Fuji and Liberty are good keepers. Some varieties like our Goldrush even improve in storage as the harsh acids mellow over time.
But even the best-keeping varieties can only stay crisp for a few months in regular refrigeration. This is why we set aside a few dozen bins of apples every year for controlled atmosphere or “CA” storage. CA coolers are hermetically sealed and the oxygen in the room is replaced with carbon dioxide. Without oxygen, the fruit’s respiration is slowed even further, preventing softening of the fruit. Biting into an apple from CA storage, you’d find it is still crispy, crunchy and delicious like it was still the height of apple season.
Know that when you are purchasing apples from us mid-winter, you’re selecting fruit that has been carefully and thoughtfully stored to maintain freshness. Each fruit has its time to shine–we won’t store our apples much past May. By the time June rolls around, we’ll press any remaining apples for cider. And when you start seeing apples begin to fill up our farm store and markets in mid August, you can be assured they’re the new crop of early season varieties like Pristine, Earligold and Paula Red.