When to Buy/In Season:
Early crops of organic apples are available in August, but the majority are harvested in late fall. Organic apples are not widely available during June-August.
How to Select:
Look for firm, crisp, well-colored fruit, the color depending upon the variety. Avoid any apples which have brown spots or any fruit which is shriveled or soft.
Select apples according to their use:
- Eating: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonathan, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Red Delicious, Stayman, Winesap
- Baking: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winesap, York Imperial
- Cooking: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonathan, McIntosh, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winesap, York Imperial
- Sauces: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonathan, McIntosh, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winesap, York Imperial
- Pies: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonathan, McIntosh, Newtown Pippin, Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winesap, York Imperial
Organic growers select varieties that are resistant to apple scab and other diseases, avoiding fungicidal sprays. Organic apples may be protected from pests such as fruit flies using natural methods:
- Tangle food – a tar-like substance which catches insects near the base of trees
- Tillage – put under trees to disrupt the lifecycle of insects
- Red balls coated with stickum to lure and capture fruit flies
- Cover crops are also used to attract beneficial insects
EWG 2009 Dirty Dozen, #2 highest levels of pesticide residues
How to Store:
Apples do not keep well at room temperature, they become mealy within a few days.
Apples release ethylene, which can spoil some produce. Store apples away from:
Lettuce and other leafy greens
Apples keep well in the refrigerator. Most varieties remain fresh for up to three weeks. The later harvest varieties (October – November) keep very well, up to three months in the refrigerator.
To Freeze Fresh Apples:
- Select full-flavored apples that are crisp and firm, not mealy in texture. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium apples into twelfths, large ones into sixteenths.
- Choose a style of freezing with sugar or without:
- Freeze apples in moisture and vapor-proof container. Store freshly frozen apples at (0F) for 8 – 12 months
Sugar Pack: A sugar pack is good for pie making. To prevent darkening, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle over the fruit. Or, apple slices can be steam blanched for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 quart (1 1/4 pounds) of fruit. Pack apples into containers and press fruit down, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
Dry Pack: A dry pack is good for pie making. Follow the directions for Sugar Pack, omitting the sugar. Treated apple slices can also be frozen first on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen.
Syrup Pack: preferred for apples to be used for uncooked desserts or fruit cocktail. Use cold 40 percent syrup. To prevent browning, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup
Slice apples directly into syrup in container starting with 1/2 cup syrup to a pint container. Press fruit down in containers and add enough syrup to cover. Leave space to allow for expansion. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal and freeze.
See our Basics of Canning Fruit at Home
Home Canned fruits can be stored for up to 1 year; they may lose quality after that point. Commercially canned fruit can be stored up to 3 years.
To dry applies, choose any tart, firm textured apple. Wash, peel, and core. Cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch clies or rings. Pretreat by dipping. Dry at 130 – 135F until pliable. Water content is 84%.
Dried fruit may be stored 6 – 12 months at room temperature, or indefinetly in the freezer.
Photo Sources: S & C’s