Apples are healthy and delightful snacks for everybody, especially your kids. Picking out your favorite apples is not the problem, but you need to think about storing them during the long winter. Most people are unaware of factors that influence this fruit’s shelf life.
So, do apples go bad? Unfortunately, the answer is – Yes. The secret is in apple variety, the temperature, and place of storing. If you provide adequate conditions, your apples will stay fresh and healthy for months. Otherwise, you may face a severe problem with a mycotoxin. Lets’ find the best way to keep your fruit safe for prolonged consumption.
Do Apples Go Bad?
Unfortunately, apples are more or less susceptible to rot, depending on species and the way of storing them. Numerous viruses, fungi, molds, and worms lead to undesirable changes that affect fruit appearance and taste.
Believe it or not, apples will encourage their own spoilage when their porous skin starts producing ethylene gas that induces ripening. Moreover, more and more apples will be affected, and rot will spread more significantly over time. As a result, one spoiling apple will speed the rotting of all other apples around.
How Long Do Apples Last?
Unless you buy apples in a supermarket, they won’t contain an expiration date on the label, but you will see the picked date in most cases. Their shelf life depends on various factors, including the moment of harvesting, apple type, way of storing, and its purpose.
Apple shelf life
|Fresh, whole||2 to 7 days||1 to 4 weeks||1 to 2 months|
|/||/||1 to 5 days||3 to 8 months|
3 to 6 months
|/||1 to 2 months||/||/|
|Opened, applesauce||/||/||7 to 10 days|
|/||1 to 2 days||4 to 5 days|
The rule of thumb is that the whole fruit lasts longer than sliced, regardless of the storage method. You can expect your apples to stay fresh for a couple of weeks when stored in your pantry or up to two months placed in the fridge.
7 Tips to Tell If Apples Has Gone Bad
Apples are a healthy and delicious fruit, but you shouldn’t eat rotten ones or those affected by mold. Once the apple goes bad, you will notice changes in its appearance and taste. Let’s see.
1. Expiration date
When you buy apples in a supermarket, they always have the expiration date printed on the label. Once that date comes, you should throw the whole package away.
There are a few apparent signs that an apple has gone bad, including:
- Holes and brown flecks
- Soft spots
- Wrinkled skin
- Mushy texture
Such apples are of low quality, and you should avoid consuming them.
A visual inspection is the first thing you need to do before eating an apple. Check for discolored spots and throw away the fruit if the flesh is also discolored. Otherwise, you can only slice off the affected skin and consume the rest.
A rotting apple is softer than a healthy fruit, and you shouldn’t eat it. When its skin turns wrinkled and the texture becomes grainy, it won’t taste well, although it is edible. Therefore, you can grate it and make a salad or a pie.
5. Dehydrated apple
When you find a forgotten apple that is hard as a rock, it is too old to eat, and you should throw it away.
6. Holes caused by insects or worms
In some cases, you can get the apple with a hole. Be sure that it contains a worm or insects made it. Such an apple is often inedible since its flesh is probably rotten.
You can notice bruises over a spoiled apple, but mold on the apple bottom will appear only in an extreme situation. In such a case, you shouldn’t only cut off the affected part and use the rest. Once mold starts growing on its surface, the whole apple changes and becomes inedible.
Tips to Store Apples
You can keep whole apples on the clean and dry countertop for about 2 to 3 days. Never mix apples with other fruit and veggies, particularly potatoes, oranges, bananas, and avocados. You should also try to separate them a bit to prevent contact between rotting apples and spoiled ones.
A cold and dry pantry is an excellent place for long-term whole apple storage. How long they will stay delicious and healthy primarily depends on the temperature, humidity level, and apple variety.
For example, you can store thick-skinned apples like Granny Smith and Golden or Red Delicious for months. There is a way to further protect them by wrapping each apple in baking parchment or newspaper.
This method of storing apples can be an excellent solution while the temperatures are above 32 F (0 C) and humidity in a range from 90 to 95%.
The ideal temperature for storing apples in the basement is 30 to 35 F (-1 – 1,7 C). When it drops below freezing level, it will significantly damage these fruits. Never let apples sit in a plastic bag. Always wrap them in a newspaper or paper bag to prevent the ethylene gas from spreading and further fruit rotting.
Keep in mind that ripen apples always produce this gas and cause other veggies and fruit to ripen prematurely. The most ethylene-sensitive are cauliflower and broccoli. On the other hand, potatoes, bananas, oranges, and avocados produce ethylene gas over time, and you should avoid storing them next to apples.
If you decide to keep your fruit in the box or crate, it is recommended to cover them with a damp cloth to prevent wilting.
- Whole apples
When you don’t have too many apples, but you want to keep them for a few days or even weeks, the fridge is a place of choice. Put unwashed fruit in a perforated plastic bag and place them in the drawer.
Another option is to pack apples inside and cover them with a damp cloth. In such a case, you should often sort them and remove rotten and damaged ones. Never put strong-smelling veggies like garlic and onions in the same drawer to prevent apples from taking this unpleasant odor.
- Sliced apples
You can keep these slices for four to five days in the fridge, but their nutrient levels will rapidly decrease over time. Another option is to pack fruit in a vacuum-sealed bag.
- Pulped apples
Place pulped apple leftovers in a zip-lock bag or plastic container and store them in the fridge. When you plan to keep the pulp for a while, it is better to mix it with lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Whole apples – Even though you can freeze whole apples, I don’t see any advantage of that option. In fact, the freezing process will destroy fruit cells, so thawed apples will be soft and slimy.
- Sliced apples – Placing cut apples poured with lemon juice in the freezer is a better solution if you don’t mind changing their structure and taste.
- Pulped apples – It is an excellent option to store apples for a few months. Pack them in a zip-lock bag or plastic container and freeze.
It is an old method of storing apples. Making canned applesauce is quite demanding and time-consuming, but such a prepared product will last a long time.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Apples
In most cases, you can use apples with bruises and spots for preparing pies and cakes, but you shouldn’t do that if the most significant fruit part is affected.
Unfortunately, you can often see mold on the bottom of inadequately stored apples. These fungi often cause allergies and respiratory reactions in sensitive people, especially children.
Moreover, your apples can be affected by Penicillium expansum that produces mycotoxin patulin. When consumed in large amounts, patulin will disrupt gut bacteria and cause:
- Bleeding ulcers
Some studies’ results show that this mycotoxin negatively affects the immune system and may increase cancer development risk.
Can You Freeze Apples?
Basically, you can freeze this fruit, but why would you do it? Once thawed, your apples will taste differently, and their texture will become unattractive, slimy, and soft. They will be good enough for making a pie, but there are many other ways to store them, so it is an entirely unnecessary option.
Depending on the apple type, you can store this fruit for a few weeks to several months. Keep in mind that the temperature and storing location significantly affect the apples retain freshness.
Any bruising, oozing, and soft spots can warn you that apple intake can be dangerous because of mycotoxin presence. You can make apple-based dishes to prevent possible problems and solve the issue with too many fruits or lack of storage space.