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Storing home-grown apples

Ripening apples on my old (probably a Cox's) apple tree
Ripening apples on my old (probably a Cox's) apple tree

Overwhelmed by apples on two remaining trees

It seems the stars have aligned and I’m getting a bumper crop of apples this year from my old tree and Red Falstaff.

Actually, it’s probably a case of the old tree finally recovering from restorative pruning, followed by a mass of non-fruit-bearing water shoots, which have taken four years to get rid of (note: never remove more than a quarter of the canopy in one go).

Maybe they’re relished the cold winter followed by a hot summer, and now we are getting steady rainfall to swell and ripen the fruit.

Anyhow, I’m inclined not to question why too much and just be thankful for them!

If you’re in any doubt about what to do with lots of apples, see my apple glut page here.

Prep the apples outside if you like…

Waste not, want not

There’s also a recipe for lazy cook’s apple puree, ideal for the freezer and you don’t have to peel and core them.

Apples from the old tree (probably some sort of Cox) are tart enough to make your teeth ache but I quite like that sort of thing.

Red Falstaff is a much more user-friendly eater. Here’s what to expect:

  • Parents: Golden Delicious and James Grieve.
  • Skin colour: Attractive mostly red skin with an orange/green background.
  • Taste and texture: Crisp, creamy white flesh has a good balance of sweetness and acidity, crunchy with lots of juice.
  • Storage: Two months.
  • Ready to pick: Late September to early October.
Branches weighted down on apple Red Falstaff
Branches weighed down on apple Red Falstaff

How to store apples and pears

  • Try a garage, shed or cellar, as long as it is cool (2.8°C-7°C) for apples and cooler for pears, which can be stored in the salad compartment of the fridge.
  • The storage place needs to be frost free, well-ventilated, dark, slightly humid and free from mice.
  • Suitable containers are crates, slatted shelves, polystyrene trays or shallow wooden boxes. Good air movement is crucial.
  • Choose blemish-free, medium-sized fruits, with stalk intact. Under-ripe fruit stores best.
  • Lay fruits in a single layer not touching each other. Handle carefully to avoid bruising.
  • Keep different varieties separate.
  • Keep fruit away from strong scents, such as paint, fertilisers and onions.

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