Apples are easy to grow, providing huge crops from a relatively short growing space. Apple trees can be grown as standards or trained against a fence or wall. They can even be grown in pots.
Make the most of your crop by carefully storing your apples so you can eat them for many weeks after harvesting. Depending on the variety of apple you grow and how much storage space you have, you can store apples in the fridge for a few weeks or store them long term in apple crates in a cool but humid spot.
Best way to store apples
The main consideration when storing apples is to keep them cool, either in the fridge or in a cool but humid room such as a cellar or unheated garage. But there are other considerations, too: harvest your apples with care and try to keep the apple stalk intact, as this can help prevent the fruit from rotting. Always store unblemished apples – those with bruises or cuts, or any holes made by codling moth or other insects, should be eaten immediately as they won’t keep. Simply cut around the blemishes or bruises and eat or juice accordingly. Store home-grown apples only, as supermarket apples have already been in storage for several weeks.
Bear in mind that sweeter varieties store for only a few weeks, while more tart varieties can be stored all winter long if kept in the right conditions. Also early apple varieties, harvested between September and October – such as ‘Beauty of Bath’ and ‘Worcester Pearmain’ – don’t tend to keep well and are best eaten within a fortnight of harvesting. Late apple varieties, harvested in November – such as ‘Newton Wonder’, ‘Bramley’s Seedling’ and ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ need to ripen in storage over four or five weeks and will then last throughout the winter months if they’re stored correctly.
If you need help choosing an apple variety to grow or want to know whether the apples you have will store well see our guide to the best apple varieties to grow.
Find out how to freeze apples at BBC Good Food.
How to store apples
Monty Don shows you how to store apples, explaining which fruits will store well, where to put them so they don’t deteriorate or rot, and how long they will keep. Watch this short video guide from Gardeners’ World for full details:
How to store apples short term
Place a few apples in a clear freezer bag (biodegradable options are available online) – or even better, paper bags – and store in the fridge for up to a week. Use pre-used bags where possible. Don’t let the apples freeze, as this can damage the flesh, which hastens their decline.
How to store apples long term
To store apples over winter, wrap each one in a single sheet of newspaper and place them in single layers on a tray.
If you have the space and a large apple tree, you may want to invest in an apple rack. Apple racks can store a large quantity of fruit and enable air to circulate between the layers, so you don’t need to wrap each fruit individually.
Store your apples in a cold and humid spot such as an unheated basement, cellar, unheated garage or even a cool room with the radiator turned off. Check them regularly to ensure there are no rotten apples among them – it’s true that one rotten apple can spoil the whole crop.
For a cheap alternative to apple racks, use an old filing tray, adding more layers as you need them.