How to Store and Use Your Freshly Picked Apples — For Weeks!

There's no such thing as taking too many apples from the orchard — here's your strategy for eating them all as the weeks pass.

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Photo by: Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

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You’ve just gone apple picking and the rush of being outdoors was intoxicating. Perhaps you picked your own weight in apples because you wanted to bring home the most flavorful varieties.

Now your refrigerator is filled with so many different types to choose from: Gala, Red Delicious, Macoun, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Mutsu, Empire — the list goes on. Before you start baking with your apples willy-nilly, it’s important to remember that apples vary greatly in flavor, texture, sweetness and skin thickness, making some well-suited to snacking and others to baking or juicing.

Consider the following a plan for how to best use up all of those apples so you don’t have to give away half of them or send some to the compost heap.

How to Store Apples

Here’s the good news: apples are one of the most durable fruits out there. Under the right conditions, they can be stored for months. When you return from your day at the orchard, pick out the apples that are bruised or have soft spots and set them aside for eating (or the first round of baking.) For the rest, select a cool, dark and humid storage place like the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. The colder the apples are without freezing, the longer they will keep. If you store the apples in warmer locations, such as a pantry or that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, they will spoil faster. For some perspective, properly chilled apples will last a month or two in good condition, while their fruit bowl shelf-life is as little as a few days. In general, tarter, firmer apples with thicker skins like Granny Smith, Braeburn and Mutsu tend to have longer storage lives. Softer, sweeter, thinner-skinned apples like Macintosh, Red and Golden Delicious have shorter shelf lives.

How to Enjoy Your Apples

First Two Weeks After Picking: Eat Your Apples Raw

Now that you know how hardy apples can be, there is less pressure to eat them all at once. You can eat them casually over the next few weeks. Definitely take advantage of the just-plucked-from-the-tree juicy crispness by adding slices to salads, eating them slathered with peanut butter or even dipping them into fondue. You can also start baking with them, using them in recipes where you’d like them to hold their shape.

ArcticCharSalad_122.tif

ArcticCharSalad_122.tif

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Arctic char is just as easy to cook as salmon, and when it’s tossed into this salad with creamy lemon-horseradish dressing and green apples the results are light but satisfying.

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06_CurditeSalad_189.tif

Weekend Curdite Salad on a light green plate

©Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

For this vibrant red salad, you don’t even have to cook beets. Simply peel them, slice into matchsticks and marinate in homemade dressing. Then toss the beets with any apple of your choice (we like firmer, crisp varieties here) and serve your creation on a bed of endive.

Sunny Anderson makes Easy Apple Slaw with Apple-Jalapeno Dressing, as seen on The Kitchen, Season 17.

Presenting a new take on slaw that’s lightly tangy and spicy and full of crunch. It calls for two red-skinned apples for sweetness, along with golden raisins.

This pretty-as-can-be dessert leans on fanned out Granny Smith apple slices for its wow factor. Make sure you carefully slice the apples so they’re even in thickness.

Weeks Two to Four After Picking: Bake with Apples

Although you can start baking from day one, waiting a couple weeks won’t affect the quality much at all. So go ahead and fire up the oven! It’s time for apple muffins, crisps and turnovers. Note that some apples are considered to be better baking apples, like Granny Smith and Honeycrisp.

Apple Muffins; Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

These fan-favorite muffins get their moisture in part from a chopped golden delicious apple and a whole cup of natural applesauce.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRISPFood Network KitchensApples, Rolled Oats, Flour, Brown Sugar, Salt, Butter, Pecans,HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRISP Food Network Kitchens Apples, Rolled Oats, Flour, Brown Sugar, Salt, Butter, Pecans

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

For when you don’t feel like making pie, this perfectly spiced and buttery dessert takes Braeburn, Rome or Golden Delicious apples.

Close-up of Deep Fried Apple Pies with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce, as seen on The Pionner Woman, Season 22.

Photo by: MATT BALL

MATT BALL

Granny Smith apples are a tart counterpoint to these otherwise melt-in-your-mouth-sweet hand pies that get drenched in homemade cinnamon-caramel sauce.

One to Two Months After Picking: Puree the Apples

Once your apples begin to soften, use them in recipes where you want smooth or soft apple texture. Use their sweet-tart flavors to brighten soups, make applesauce or puree them into apple butter. You can also chop them up and use them in stuffing or place them in a turkey roasting pan to add another layer of flavor to your gravy. Finally, beverages like cider and sangria are also good uses for soon-to-expire fruit.

Food Network Kitchen Step by Steps

Photo by: Lucy Schaeffer

Lucy Schaeffer

This low-lift recipe uses just a little sugar, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon. The results? An apple sauce with balanced flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness that might just convince you to never go back to the store-bought kind again.

Here, the perfect way to use up four pounds of mixed leftover apples. Spread your creation on pancakes, waffles, yogurt, oatmeal or grilled cheese.

This smooth, pureed soup combines butternut squash and a half pound of sweet apples like McIntosh. A bit of curry powder ties the ingredients together.

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