Plus, how to pick the best apples from the grocery store or farmer's market.
Credit: Courtesy of Linvilla Orchards

Everyone loves to bite into a nice, crisp apple in the fall—right when they’re in peak season and come in multiple, tasty varieties, like honeycrisp and gala. Yet apples are delicate, too, meaning they can spoil in a matter of days if they aren’t stored properly.

To save yourself another trip to the grocery store (and lost cash), make sure you’re caring for fall’s favorite fruit and maximizing their delicious flavor and health perks.

How to Pick the Best Apples

“When you're picking an apple that you want to last long, choose a variety like a granny smith, with thicker skin and more tartness. Apples like golden delicious have thinner skin and a sweeter taste, so in the long run these will ripen and go bad faster,” explains Maggie Michalcyzk, MS, RD.

At the grocery store or farmer's market, you should steer clear of any apples that have soft or brown spots, in general, she adds, as that’s a sign of rotting. Plus, that mushy texture won’t taste as good!

How to Store Apples

Make sure you put them in the fridge when arriving home from the store. “Apples are not a fan of the warmth, so best to store them in the fridge, specifically in the crisper drawer, unless you are planning to eat them within 2-3 days, in which case you can keep them on the counter,” she says. Apples stored on the counter will ripen much faster than those stored in the fridge.

If you are storing on the counter or in the fridge, be wary of nearby foods. “They'll absorb the flavor of other foods and could ripen prematurely,” she explains. “Avoid storing your apples near onion or potatoes in the fridge, and bananas on the counter,” she says. And don't stack them on top of one another, either, as this can lead to the appearance of brown spots.

A tip? If you’re storing long-term, the type of apple matters. “The best varieties for long term storage are Granny Smith, Ambrosia, Mutsu and Aurora,” she says. What’s more, “apples with thicker skin like a granny smith will keep longer on your counter then say a golden delicious or an empire that have thinner skin,” she explains.

Apples will last on your counter for up to a week. Move them at any point to extend their life, but after a week on the counter, be wary of mold and any signs of rotting that could appear. “When stored in the fridge, apples should last about a month. Just make sure they are left alone in your crisper drawer,” she says.

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How to Save Leftover Apples

Sometimes you don’t bite in and eat the whole apple in a sitting, but rather slice them up for apple pie, dipping material, oatmeal or salads. “Once you've cut your apple, drizzle lemon juice on top to prevent browning while they sit out,” she says.

“The ascorbic acid from the lemon juice reacts with the oxygen in the air first before the compounds in the apples do, keeping them their crisp white color,” she explains. That way, you can enjoy that bit of apple later in the day, and it’ll taste just as sweet and fresh.