Now, apple lovers can enjoy these red delights in off season as well. All you have to do is preserve them well until spring. So if you’re worried about the loads of apples you have at home, here are some simple ways to preserve them without letting them go to waste.
Commercially, apples are stored in a sort of controlled chamber with more of carbon dioxide to delay the process of ripening. If you are storing the apples at home, then you can leave them in the coolest part of the refrigerator for about two weeks. Some varieties like the Orange Pippin and Granny Smith stay longer. The best thing about apples is that the varieties that ripen slowly can be stored for a longer time compared to other varieties. Sweet apples that are thick skinned should be picked from the tree if you want to store them well, otherwise the damage from transit prevents successful storage.
If you have surplus fruit, it can be stored in a number of ways. Use a juice press to make juice and store. It stays fresh for a few days. The juice can also be frozen and stored for using later. It should be kept in plastic bottles or juice cartons by leaving a few centimeters empty for expansion. You can also make apple brandy or vinegar.
In order to freeze, the apples have to be cored, peeled and stewed with lemon juice to prevent browning. They can also be pureed and sieved for freezing. Apple jelly can be made using rosemary, mint, chopped sage and jam with blackberries. You can also use other vegetables like tomatoes with apples to make chutney. To make the chutney, chop about 1.5 kg of apples and one onion. Place the pieces in a large pan. Add 200g sultanas, four cans of tomatoes, 750g of sugar, two teaspoons of curry powder, ground ginger, salt, 3 large chilies and 575 ml of malt vinegar. Heat the pan and stir occasionally till the contents become sticky. When done, ladle into jars. You can use the chutney right away.
Make apple rings that are 5mm thick and leave them for a few minutes in a mixture of water, lemon juice and sugar. Dry the rings using a food dehydrator and store them. You can also make apple butter, a kind of thick jam that can be applied on thick slices of bread or toast. Chop about 2kg of apples and put the pieces into a thick bottomed pan. Add one liter of cider and water. Simmer the mixture till it becomes soft. Sieve the contents and cook again by stirring well. Add ground cloves, cinnamon and sugar (750g for 1kg). Spoon the jam into sterilized containers and store them.
Always remember to handle apples carefully. If you bruise them, you will not be able to store them along with the perfect ones. Perfect apples are the best keepers. Even small damages can speed up spoilage. If you want to store them individually, then wrap each apple with sheets of newspaper. Avoid using papers that have colored ink because they contain poisonous metals. The paper prevents the apples from coming into contact with each other when you store them in a box. The box, meanwhile, has to be kept in a dark and cool spot where the apples won’t freeze as freezing can rupture cells which turns into bruises in just one day. The best place to store them is in the root cellar. If you happen to store potatoes in the cellar too, then do not keep apples with them as they can get spoiled quickly.