For many summer residents, all the basins and buckets are already occupied with them, they lie in a dense carpet on the terrace. How best to store the harvested apples and what to cook from those that cannot be stored, told an experienced gardener near Moscow Natalya Egorkina.
- Is it possible to keep apples at home until spring?
- Only if you have a special refrigerator at home, where a certain temperature regime and humidity are observed.
- Most of our readers, of course, have nothing of the kind – at best, a cellar in the country. But apples were born even among the most careless summer residents this year the darkness is dark.
- A cellar, a basement, a warm garage, even a glazed balcony are also suitable for storing apples. Of course, it will not be possible to preserve them there until the next harvest, but until mid-January it is quite possible.
- How do you store apples yourself?
- For these purposes, I set aside a separate room in the basement, in winter the temperature there is about 3-5 degrees. But I always have a lot of apples – this is my favorite fruit.
- You said that apples can be stored even on a glassed-in balcony or in a garage, but in severe frosts, the temperature there can drop to -5. Can it hurt them?
- Of course, then you need to cover the boxes with apples with dense covering material. Roses are usually covered with this for the winter.
- And if the cold snap is short?
- All the same, you need to cover, and then reveal. Sudden changes in temperature have a very bad effect on the preservation of vegetables and fruits, because condensation forms, and excess moisture leads to decay of the fruits.
- What else influences?
- First, let’s define which apples are generally stored. More precisely, everything is stored, but the term is different for everyone. Summer apples will last for a maximum of 2 weeks, autumn varieties – up to 2 months, and winter ones, as I said, can be stored until the end of winter if desired.
- Perhaps one of our readers would like to buy apples on the market now. How to determine which varieties will last a long time?
- Winter varieties are not yet on sale, they will ripen at the end of September, October. They differ in the density of the peel: the denser it is, the better, the fruits seem to be covered with wax – this is the best protection against rot and other diseases. Therefore, when removing apples for long-term storage, in no case should they be washed.
You cannot break off the stalk on which they hang on the tree, but the leaves and other debris must be removed so that there is no rot. In general, all apples must be sorted very carefully before storing them. Above all, remove any damaged fruit, even the smallest.
- No matter how strong the apple may seem to you, the moment you plucked it from the tree, after two weeks, even a small scratch or wormhole will definitely rot. It will grow and eventually spread to other fruits. So one damaged apple can infect several more, with which it comes into contact in the box.
- I know that many summer residents wrap apples in paper, old newspapers.
- There is such a way of storage, you can still sprinkle it with sawdust, sand, some mix sawdust with ash. But I do not like to wrap apples, because, on the one hand, you isolate them from each other, but on the other, you cannot see what is happening to them there.
It is best to once a month, and if time permits, then more often to check the apples and sort the spoiled ones. I also advise, before packing them in boxes, sprinkle the fruits on the floor in a cool room, for example, on a terrace, and let them lie there for about a week. During this time, all hidden defects will appear, and you will be able to reject spoiled fruits.
- Do you personally have any secrets that allow you to preserve the fruits?
- Firstly, never store large apples with small ones in the same box. It is better to eat large fruits right away, they cannot be stored for a long time.
Secondly, make sure that the room is not too dry. At vegetable warehouses, in special storage facilities, a humidity regime of about 80% is maintained; at home, it is enough to put a bowl of water next to the boxes where apples are stored. Otherwise, the fruits in a couple of months will be wrinkled and tasteless, apples quickly lose moisture.
And the third secret: never store apples next to potatoes, onions and garlic. Otherwise, they will smell like potatoes, onions, or garlic. It is generally best to keep apples separately.
These fruits, even after being plucked from the tree, continue to breathe and release ethylene gas. It promotes fruit ripening. You’ve probably heard that green tomatoes and unripe persimmons are often put in a plastic bag along with apples to quickly get them into condition. Therefore, when apples are stored for a long time next to other fruits and vegetables, potatoes begin to sprout, and other fruits and vegetables also deteriorate.
The larger the apple, the more actively it breathes and releases more ethylene, therefore, next to a large apple, smaller fruits will deteriorate faster. Medium and small fruits are stored for the longest. I also always advise you to harvest a little unripe apples, they will eventually reach a condition, but they will last longer.
- You described in detail how to preserve apples that are in ideal “physical shape”. And what if there are a lot of apples, but they are all flawed? At my dacha, for example, there are a lot of apples with broken sides, some the fruits were eaten by birds, some were spoiled by worms. But all the same – it’s a pity to throw them away.
- Throwing apples is a great sin. Better take them to the stable, the horses will be very grateful to you.
In general, there are many recipes for processing substandard apples. The easiest one is to make an applesauce-pressure cooker, which can then be used to make marshmallows, marshmallows, add to cereals, pies, even for dumplings it will work.
The shelf life of such applesauce will depend on the storage conditions: for 2-3 weeks you can keep it in a glass jar in the regular compartment of the refrigerator, but if you want to prepare the apple filling for a long time, then pack it in zip bags and put it in the freezer.
By the way, the last method is suitable not only for mashed potatoes. Slightly simmer apple pieces or apple slices together with the peel, add sugar to taste, a little lemon juice (it will keep the apple color, prevent it from darkening) or cinnamon (it will add flavor). Then the mixture must be cooled and put into zip bags, put into the freezer. In winter, take it out, and you will get an excellent filling for pies, as if the apples had just been plucked from the tree.