Wash Apples Before Storage?

I am about to put some of my apple harvest into long term storage (between 4-5 months) in a temperature controlled chest freezer.

I plan to store at 36-38 degrees f.

I was wondering if we need to wash the apples in any way before long term storage? And if so… How?


We don’t. But we do give them a good rinse when we use them.

I like to use lower temperatures- down to 30 F seems fine; I’ve had apples come out of storage with ice crystals forming in the bag with no ill effects that we could tell.

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I wash the earwig poop off the bagged apples

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Is 30’s the best temp for Apple storage? I thought they’d last 4-5 months in a fridge?

Seems to me to depend on the variety- some apples are just lousy keepers!.

This might be a good place to get a little discussion going; I’m thinking of ranking by variety, method of storage, and time of harvest’s affect on storage life.

For example:

  1. Variety Transparent, keeping very poor, keeping must be frozen, time of harvest very narrow for all uses

  2. Variety Arkansas Black, keeping excellent, may be packed in sawdust packed kegs w/o freezing, time of harvest affecting storage time (?)

And so on.

Anybody else have thoughts here?

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I agree, it would be nice to have a good source for this information. I have learned a lot from storing various apples but am not writing it down consistently. Some books have good information, I think Burford’s book for example does and many of the old apple books have both a harvest date and an eating window - you pick at the harvest date, put in cold storage, and eat in the eating window.

PS here is an illustration of how much good information is in old books - here is Apples of New York (1904) on Golden Russet. I have boldfaced the bits on storage.

Among the russets which are grown in Central and Western New
York the Golden Russet ranks second only to Roxbury in com-
mercial importance. In other portions of the state it has been less
extensively planted. In recent years the season of good red winter
apples has been extended by means of cold storage with the result
that long keeping russet apples are less profitable than they were
formerly. This is undoubtedly one reason why Golden Russet is
now grown less extensively than it formerly was. It is an excellent
storage variety, sells well in the general market and is particularly
in demand for shipment to Northwestern and Southern markets and
for export. The fruit is not large but is pretty smooth and uniform.
When grown in favorable locations and properly treated for the
control of injurious insects and diseases there is comparatively little
loss from culls. The fruit hangs well to the tree till loosened by
frost. It is borne on the ends of the branches making it hard to pick.
This habit and the smallness of the fruit make the picking and pack-
ing comparatively expensive.
The fruit is particularly desirable for home use during the spring
months before small fruits ripen, being then excellent for dessert and
culinary uses. It makes good evaporated stock and is excellent for
cider and stock food. The tree is hardy. In favorable locations it
is a reliable cropper, bearing regularly after it reaches maturity. It
is usually classed as a biennial bearer, but in some cases it is nearly
an annual bearer.

Season December to April or later.



Frost free refrigerator/freezers will dehydrate the fruit. That is one reason that fruits stored on the fridge get “wrinkly”.

A chest freezer is not frost free so the fruit are stored in a cold but higher moisture level environment.

Some people even keep a small bowl of water in the freezer to keep moisture level up.


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Ziplocking helps a great deal with this

New, unperforated plastic bread bags, tightly sealed with a twist tie.


I can see using these, but, for a very short time only. I find that moisture condenses on the inside surface of the bag and the fruit getting wet and sitting there. That is too much moisture.

When I have to use these i leave at least 1/2 of the sealing seam open and even then for a short time.


Well, it may be. But I have had Liberties stored in air tight bags for four or even five months and had them hold well. Condensation formed, it is true, and sometimes even froze, but I couldn’t see that it caused any damage.

I leave the bags partly open to let excess moisture out


Good to hear that it works fine. I was avoiding doing it only based on what seemed to make sense to me and not based on any specific demonstrated reason.

Learned something new today — Good day !


So far, anyhow …

And a good day to you, too!

Most apple varieties probably keep best at the low temp (slightly below freezing). Honeycrisp is a very uncooperative storage apple that the experts say is best stored slightly above freezing.

I doubt you need to have a wet towel in a no frost freezer.

Nowadays I think Goldrush will make a much better culinary apple than Golden Russet in the following spring, but by then neither one will have a whole lot of acid zing. Russet never does. Guess you can add some lemon.


Not that I don’t wish you a good day but,the way I meant it was >…

“Any day you learn something new … is a god day”

:slight_smile: Mike

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I will knock the temps down closer to freezing. I am using the Jonson control I got from you.


And I’m using my huge chest freezer for storing frozen peppers, nectarines, blueberries… keeping it as close to zero as possible. I just keep apples in a defrost refrig because the temp fluctuated too much using that system.

You are right. There is an issue of temperature fluctuations. I am working on dialing in the range.

I think I can even out the swings by adding some insulation to the freezer chest. I have access to some 2 inch rigid styrofoam insulation.

Adding a layer of this stuff on the outside and top should help.

I think that if I can keep it between 30 and 34f it won’t have a negative effect on the fruit.


I wrestled with managing a freezer turned down for apple storage. It was a small, cheap chest freezer and I found that it chilled very unevenly, sometimes freezing one corner while leaving another not really cold enough. So I used a little styrofoam, and added slats inside the keep the fruit from touching the sides, and also, I think, to improve circulation.

Then the freezer died and is now in recycling heaven; we went and bought a small fridge. But I think I was on the right track. I almost think a person needs fans to circulate in those things if you don’t want to just freeze everything solid, which is what it’s expected to do!