Saturday, March 18, 2017

Eating old apples

It'll be many months before I eat anything fresh-picked from an orchard, so the topic of keepers, and of the long-lived varieties that do well in controlled atmosphere storage, has been much on my mind.

Keepers, sometimes called winter apples, are varieties that will stay good for months in a root cellar or refrigerator.

Many of these are late season apples that improve after picking, reaching their qualitative peak only after some time in a cool place.

Typically this "aging" involves the conversion of starches to sugars.

Blushing Golden, which is terrific when it peaks in December, is a good example. (It is merely good fresh off the tree in October.)

It's not hard to enjoy these apples, though patience is required. You just wait until they are ready to eat.

Meanwhile, the apples at the supermarket can also be good, and require no hoarding or husbanding.

But behind this convenience several processes are both complex and fraught—a subject, perhaps, for another post. Update: Here it is.


  1. Just recently found your blog and am enjoying it very much. Thanks.

    Something I hadn't considered in the past was allowing the apple to age and develop the flavor. I was always of the understanding they couldn't be better than right off the tree. I'll have to consider allowing some to age for a while.

    1. @CopperKnight: Not every variety has this quality. One modern apple that does, Lady Alice, is really not ready to eat until it has been outside of controlled atmosphere for a while, typically not until March.

    2. I definitely noticed that. When I tried a Mollies Delicious and a Chenago Strawberry from a local orchard it was still then end of summer and they were both quite soft, but had great flavor. Yep, those wouldn't be hanging around for long.

    3. @Copper: Most early apples have short shelf lives, I find.


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