Not prepared to store apples this year

Storing 44 pounds of Arkansas Black apples in your refrigerator is not practical for most people. I was able to squeeze one box into the frig. I plan to give part of the other one to my family and nearby friends and freeze the remainder. I might need to put a warning label on these before passing them on to others.


These apples are reported to be great for storage so I was wondering how well they would keep inside my house at room temperature. Does anyone have experience with storing none refrigerated apples?

They will store extremely well in cool temps but I doubt they will last long at room temps- even apple rocks like Ark Black. If you don’t have an unheated space otherwise protected from extreme cold like a basement or root cellar, you can create something like it by burying a metal trash can (or risk plastic that rodents can gnaw through- maybe keep a bait station nearby). Cover the top of the trash can with something insulating and expect to go through the apples every month or so when you take some out to eliminate any rotting ones.

I’ve heard of sealing off such a can to create an oxygen free environment that keeps apples fresh and crunchy well into the next growing season, but have no experience with that method.


The only place that I have is the crawl space which stays fairly cool but not freezing year round. Thanks, Bill

I wish I could say these apples came from my orchard but they didn’t. I’m adding these scions in several places and if all goes to plans I hope to duplicate these from my place. Home

I took a few pictures of the orchard yesterday.


A crawl space could be perfect- don’t forget to protect them from mice. They can make a mess of a pile of apples in no time.

For those who have space for it, an old fashioned chest freezer without auto-defrost and an independent thermostat shut-off can be the ticket.

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don’t you have a garage? anyhow, when I had a crawlspace it would sit at 38F for most of the winter, long enough that I could brew lager in there. In the garage (which does freeze, but where I do not see much mice damage) I surround the apple boxes with 5-gallons pails of water, cover with a tarp, and when water starts freezing, I pour the partially frozen cylinder out and fill with liquid water. I really only need to do that 4-5 times per winter, but the result is that apples are near freezing temps until March, and keep well. I do have a pile of cylinders made of ice near the garage door by late winter.

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My garage is not heated but it tends to stay warm to on the hot side this time of the year and then it never gets below freezing during the winter. I think my crawlspace is the best option as long as I put the apples in a metal container. In my area the temps will be pretty hot for another 4-5 weeks. It is not a big problem now but it could be as I get more fruit. Bill

then I recommend that you freeze gallon milk jugs of water (or buckets) and place them in the box (so get a big box if possible, or make one out of hardware cloth and insulation), insulate it well including preventing air flow, keep it off the ground, and see where that takes you. For reference, a 5-gallon bucket of water releases 6.3 million Joules of thermal energy when becoming ice. Ice absorbs the same for you when becoming water. you could consider buying a non working fridge on craigslist and lay it on the crawlspace floor. lots of options, and they all revolve around adding ice and insulating well.

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Wouldn’t it be adequate and less work just to cover the apples with enough insulation that temps would be stabilized and kept near freezing from the cool coming from below?

I get quite a bit of fluctuation in my well house- in fact it is too warm until fall tremps arrive and nights stay below the '60s- but it is built into a hill and good hard apples like Ark Black hold there texture into spring. It is naturally moist so apples don’t dry out- but this also inspires the growth of already established summer fungus so the fruit can get ugly if that isn’t controlled.

I store my apples and fig trees in the same place and my figs don’t get killed by the carbon-dioxide exuded by the apples. That can be a danger if you have enough apples in a tight space I have read.


Alan’s suggestions will also work. I have only experience with preserving apples in Michigan, which is cold, and so my experience is only with close-to-freezing temps. I too preserved good AB apples into late april (they ran out. not sure if they could be preserved further), that winter we were hosting a freezer from friends, and the set up was similar but different: the apples were inside the freezer, which provided insulation and was OFF. bucket of ice early and late inside the freezer, and during the cold months. buckets of water.