I love it when we have apples, pears, and plums to process for winter food. But even better than having a good store of apple sauce, dried apples, and “pear candy” put by are the health benefits of apples and pears. This is a great time to add apples, pears, plums, and other fall fruit to your pantry or even longer term storage
You’ve heard the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?
Many studies have linked the consumption of apples with lower risk of mortality. Several studies have specifically linked apple consumption with a reduced risk for cancer, especially lung cancer. Another study found that women who ate 1 apple a day had a 35% decrease in risk for heart disease and stroke.
It is the antioxidants in apples that are attributed with this benefit. The catechins, a polyphenol, in apples seem to be more bioavailable than catechins in tea, red wine, and other sources. In another study eating at least 2 apples or pears a week decreased the risk of asthma and lung disease in both men and women. In another study eating apples or pears 3 times a day contributed to weightloss and a reduction in blood sugar levels in overweight, middle aged women. Learn more here.
5 tips to help you get the most from fall apples
Only plan to store apples that are unblemished and of a storing variety. Many long term storage apples will be sold in wrapping, or with packing to help keep apples from touching. You can leaves apples in these set boxes in a cold room, and just check each box and tray of apples each week to remove any that are beginning to show signs of spoil, softening, bruising, or browning.
Apples, unlike pears, are picked ripe enough to consume immediately and don’t need to ripen in storage. Avoid storing apples and pears next to each other, as the apples will make the pears ripen too fast.
A good space to store apples can be an unheated basement room, or a semi-heated garage that won’t freeze and will have relatively stable humidity. A steady, 40% humidity or a bit higher, is a good thing for apples. Whatever you do, don’t store apples for winter on an unheated deck, or sunroom. Frozen apples are not fun to deal with.
If you just have a few apples, the crisper drawers of your refrigerator are always a good bet. The fridge won’t be convenient for multiple boxes and bushels of apples though. Store apples in a room, on their own, and away from root vegetables like potatoes as the apples can cause those to soften too. Check out this article on root cellaring for even more long term storage options for fresh apples, pears, squash, potatoes, and even carrots.
1) Pick the right apple for your purpose
I water bath can my applesauce – 20 minutes for both pints or quarts. (25 minutes for my elevation of 2700 ft.)
2) Choose winter keeper varieties to store apples for winter
Apples like Granny Smith and Northern Spy are tart, firm apples and will keep into January and February if kept in a cool, dry, place. These are the best apples to store in a root cellar, for fresh eating and for winter pies.
3) Dry apples with the skins on
4) Don’t store apples that are soft varieties
5) Apples are rich in pectin and make awesome fruit leather
Once you have the apple sauce made, use some to dry for fruit leather. Add in your favorite fruits and berries and use at least 50% apple sauce for the ideal fruit roll-up texture. Even less than perfect fruit can make awesome dried apples and fruit leather. Learn how to make fruit leather here.