November 20, 2018
How to Choose the Best Apples

How to Choose the Best Apples

by Berkeley Wellness  

Never buy apples that have not been kept cold. They can become overripe and mealy in as little as two to three days, and will also turn brown near the core.

Apples should be firm to hard—if you can dent one with your fingers, it will make disappointing eating. Large apples are more likely to be overripe than smaller ones, so pay extra attention to firmness when buying them.

Apples should also be well colored for their variety. The skins should be tight, unbroken, and unblemished, although brown freckles or streaks (russeting) are characteristic of some varieties, such as Golden Delicious, and do not affect taste.

After January, almost any apple you buy will probably have been stored in controlled atmosphere (CA) after harvesting. The controlled atmosphere requires a temperature at or just above freezing, high humidity, and a specific mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other gases. Some varieties, such as Delicious, McIntosh, and Rome Beauty, fare better than others in CA storage.

Although CA storage slows aging, it does not stop it; once removed from their controlled environment, CA-stored apples begin to deteriorate just as quickly as fresh apples do.

How to store apples at home

Cold temperatures keep apples in “suspended animation,” preventing them from ripening further after they are picked. Because most apples are picked at the peak of ripeness, additional ripening actually means the apple is decaying—and this process is speeded up tenfold when the fruit is not refrigerated. Whether an apple is freshly picked or has emerged from months of cold storage, it must be kept cold or its flesh will turn mushy.