With us just celebrating the first day of Fall last week for me it’s a bitter sweet celebration. Bitter sweet that it means no longer can I go to work without a jacket and soon I’ll need to break out the heavy coat, boots and gloves BUT I get to celebrate Fall all those glorious foods that come with it. Here in Pittsburgh Fall is all about apples and pumpkin farms. Since the world has gone pumpkin-spice crazy (why? I don’t get that.) I’m still an apple girl at heart. I love picking fresh apples and enjoying the 9 bajillion ways to eat them. But let’s step back and talk about how to pick apples, storing them and just general tips.
So how do you tell an apple is ripe to pick?
Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples out the outside of the tree will ripen first. Do you know why? The ones that get the most sun will ripen more quickly. Since the apple gets it Once picked from the tree, the apple stops ripening. Next, look at the color. Depending on the variety, apples may be yellow, red, green or combinations of these colors at harvest. When the green has almost completely given way to yellow, a yellow variety is mature. With red blush or striped apples, the area where there is no red color usually changes from green to yellowish at maturity.
First is don’t wash them when you go to store them. This can induce quicker rotting. Next you need to keep the apples cool to extend their shelf life. Almost all apples should be kept cool. For every 10 degrees above 30°F, the apples’ lifespan decreases dramatically. However conversely you don’t want them kept too cold. When the apples’ temperature to fall below 30°F as that’ll make them freeze and turn to mush when they’re thawed. Their cell walls will all collapse. Therefore, apples are best stored somewhere around 30-35°F, in a humid environment. If storing apples in the fridge, place them inside a crisper drawer and lay a slightly dampened paper towel on top of the apples.
Lastly, apples and potatoes should never be stored in the same room because, as they age, potatoes release an otherwise ethylene gas, which makes apples spoil faster. If you can keep the gas away from your apples, they will keep just fine.