Alderwood Apple RackUnfortunately early apple varieties will not store well and should be eaten or used almost immediately.

Mid-season maturing types might keep for a while but don’t expect to be eating them in the depths or winter which leaves the late season varieties as the ideal candidates for storage. Leave them on the tree as long as possible – right up to the first frost if possible – bit of course if the birds begin to show an interest then you’ll need to get picking!

There are a few other key considerations to bear in mind when storing apples and the guide below should prove to be of help...

Pick your apples very carefully to avoid bruising and damage, both of which will provide an entry point for rots and fungal diseases. An apple is ready for harvest if it comes away – complete with stalk – from the tree when twisted slightly. Discard any fruit you feel is likely to go off because of damage or if you can see evidence of pests and diseases. One bad apple will ruin the whole crop in this context!

Wrap the apples in newspaper to protect skins and keep them from touching as any rots which develop can quickly spread through points of contact. The moulded paper fruit containers you find in greengrocers are ideal and the shelf system you have is equally adept at storing the fruit.

To successfully store apples, you need to provide them with cool (typically 3-5°C) conditions which remain frost free and don’t exceed around 7°C. Fluctuations in temperature are decidedly unhelpful, your chosen location should also be dark with some air circulation and watch out for rats and mice! These kind of conditions are often provided by garages, sheds and even a cellar if you have one but the house (including lofts and attics) is often too warm. Store away from strong smelling substances (such as paint) along with vegetables like garlic and onions.

You’ll need to visit your stored crop of apples almost daily to check on any problems. Any overripe fruit or apples showing any sign of rotting should be removed immediately or the potential is there for ruining the whole crop!

Following these guidelines should result in the successful storage of suitable cultivars and hopefully you’ll be eating home grown apples for months to come!