Apple-storage report

I’ve been reporting from time to time about how well some of my apples have kept (Liberty apples keeping better than expected) and decided to give an update.

The only apples I have left are my Liberties, a few Prairie Spy, and some Cameos. All three are still pretty edible. The Prairie Spy has been a huge disappointment flavorwise, but the last one I ate was at least tolerable, if not great. The Cameos have held up best, and are almost as good as they were in the fall. And the Liberties are still quite good, mellowing a bit too much for my taste, it’s true, but still firm, juicy and with good crunch- most of the time. Some are going mealy and a very few are browning from the core out. Winesaps were failing faster than some of the others; Karmijn de Sonneville went bad by Valentines. (I have to wonder whether my Winesaps, which I bought from Nick Botner, might have actually been something else.)

The surprise was from a friend’s Wealthy- they are still really good in every way, if not as excellent as “brand new” and they taste great. Wealthy is, I believe, pretty susceptible to fire blight, but my friend’s tree looks to be ancient and it’s still hanging in there, if obviously in decline. So it has managed to survive a lot, including my attempts to help him prune it. Before it goes I’d like to graft from it, so I might figure something out this summer or next spring.

Of course that’s just this year, and last summer was unusual, but around here they’re all unusual, it seems.


Thanks for the update

I still have Pink Lady, Red Fuji and Granny Smith.

Granny Smith is the hardest/crunchiest and the skin is in the best condition.

Red Fuji and Pink Lady are starting to get a little soft and the skin is getting a little wrinkly, but they still taste great. There are still some prefect looking apples of both, but the majority is getting soft and wrinkly.

These were stored in a regular 'fridge in plastic bags with a few small holes in them.

Surprising about the Liberty.

I’m interested in the liberty, too, since I have one. Just curious, John, were you surprised with the negative parts of Mark’s review of the Liberty [quote=“marknmt, post:1, topic:5284”]
Some are going mealy and a very few are browning from the core out.
[/quote] or were you surprised that it did so well : [quote=“marknmt, post:1, topic:5284”]
Liberties are still quite good, mellowing a bit too much for my taste, it’s true, but still firm, juicy and with good crunch-

What is your experience with storing Liberty Apples? Better or worse than Marks? Thanks.

The ripeness level at harvest plays a very big factor in storage - I normally harvest at peak ripeness but for storage you want them a bit earlier. Has anyone done experiments with this dimension? I have informal results where the less ripe ones from one picking lasted longer than the more ripe ones, but not much more than that. For really long storage how much earlier should they be picked? Also, at some point you may get very long storage but you will stop caring because the apple flavor if picked far too early early is poor.

One reason why I bring this up is in the above and in my own results I’m not sure how much can be inferred about storability without also knowing the ripeness at picking. Pros use starch gauges to help quantify this.

Thanks Scott!

That’s interesting. I would have figured it was the other way around…the longer they stayed on the tree, the longer they stored. I was thinking specifically of my Red Fuji which if I remember correctly, I picked them for over a month. I just assumed that the last ones I picked would last a month longer than the first ones I picked! D’oh!

Your theory explains why I’m finding 1 or 2 apples out of a bag 10 (that were all picked at the same time), are in much better shape than the rest of them. They must have been less ripe than the others.

I like Liberty, but have never tried to store.

I think this really depends on the apple. Goldrush and Fuji can be picked quite ripe and still keep extremely well- at least those grown in my conditions. I don’t know about Pink Lady because we don’t get them that ripe but I tried one that had been carelessly stored in my basement yesterday and was surprised that it still had good texture and flavor.

Certainly Jonagold only keeps well when picked pretty green, and then by January it’s a good apple that’s not as sweet as a tree ripe one but with good texture and flavor.

We’ve had uneven results with our informal experience, but right now we’re leaning towards picking early for better storage, and anything that’s fully ripe gets eaten first.

This is tricky with Liberties because they ripen very unevenly. This fall I went over the entire tree daily, gently lifting apples above the tree limb level. If they came off in my hand I considered them ready, and actually I wanted them off the day before -but couldn’t tell for sure then. Windfalls were saved (and I’m still eating a few of those) but obviously were on the ripe side. Color’s not the best indicator because they vary a lot according to the sunlight they receive.

Storage notes once again: three to five pounds in a 1.5 mil plastic bread back (bought by the thousand from the bakery where I work) and tightly tied with a twist tie, no ventilation holes, kept in a fridge at as close to 32 as possible, but not close enough. Best results to date- a bag stored in a cold corner of the fridge actually had ice in it, but without the apples freezing.


This is great information.

Mark -
Regarding your bags and lack of ventilation holed…do you ever get condensation inside the bags? How do you deal with it and/or how do you prevent it?

I’ve had that problem in the past and I’m not sure why. Did I pick on a 70 degree day and stick them in a 37 degree 'fridge? Did I pick on a 30 degree morning and stick them in a 37 degree fridge? Did I pick early in the morning and the apples were still covered in dew?

Whatever the cause, I’ve always been scared and worried when I see moisture inside the bags and I usually untie them and open them up for a while to try to dry them out (in the 'fridge)

Bart, It has worried me. But I embraced my inner indolent and lazy side and neglected to do anything, and got away with it.

I think the moisture is apple-water, probably migrating during temperature fluctuations, which I imagine could be several degrees.

Someone else on the old Garden Web forum described it years ago and I started doing it too. That thread included the use of converted freezers with added temperature controls.

I think that next year I’ll try dropping apples directly into ice water as soon as I pick them. (Note to self: freeze a few jugs of water in old vinegar bottles to provide cheap ice.)

I don’t close my bags all the way for some time (a month or more). Since I started doing that I don’t get condensation.

Are you using solid bags too (no ventilation holes)?

I use those thin grocery bags, they don’t have holes but are not super airtight.