Fresh peaches and apples- what could be better? If you are lucky enough to have some of the delicious apples or peaches grown in our area I wanted to give you a little advice on how to care for them!
If you are lucky enough to get some fresh apples from Mason’s own Sonlight Orchard (open for apple picking 8-12 on Saturdays, starting last week) you can count on storing those apples in the fridge for several months before they go bad! Apples really are one of the most economical fresh fruits you can buy, along with bananas. We eat a lot of them (especially with peanut butter!). Here are some general guidelines for storing small quantities of apples (from Iowa State Extension), whether they be fresh or from the supermarket: Small quantities of apples are usually sold in perforated plastic bags.
Storing the fruit in these or similar bags in a cool refrigerator will greatly reduce the respiration rate and the fruit should remain firm and crisp until used. The atmosphere inside the plastic bags is usually quite humid, whereas the atmosphere of the refrigerator has a lower humidity that tends to pull moisture out of the fruit, causing it to shrivel. The holes in the bags eliminate the buildup of carbon dioxide and excess moisture inside the plastic bags. Apples also can be stored in unperforated polyethylene bags. However, the bags should not be tied shut. After the fruit has cooled down, the open ends should be folded over. If an old, operating refrigerator is available, it can be used to store larger quantities of apples. However, the fruit should be kept in plastic bags to prevent drying out. Check the refrigerator’s temperature setting before using it for fruit storage. Many refrigerators are designed to compensate for being opened several times a day, and if the door is opened only a few times a week, the temperature may go below freezing.
Caring for Fresh Peaches
For the perfect peach: (from Nebraska Extension)
* Avoid buying green, brownish, or wrinkled peaches, or peaches that are very soft, or with large bruises or signs of decay. Hard, green peaches will never ripen properly.
* Handle peaches gently to prevent bruising.
* Determine if a peach is ripe by checking if it is firm but yields to gentle pressure and has a strong, sweet smell. A reddish “bloom” on the peach isn’t a sure sign the peach is ripe. Look for a deep yellow or creamy white under color.* Store peaches in a single layer at room temperature, out of sunlight.
* Ripen peaches by putting them in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature. Check daily. They should ripen in one to three days. Do NOT use plastic bags to ripen peaches.
* Store ripe peaches in the refrigerator up to one week in a perforated plastic bag to prevent water from condensing on the inside of the bag and causing storage rot.
The University of Wisconsin Extension gives the following directions for making your own perforated bags: “You can make holes using a standard paper punch or a sharp object such as a pen, pencil, or knife. Punch holes approximately every 6 inches through both sides of the bag. If using a knife to create the openings, make two cuts — in an ‘X’ shape — for each hole to ensure good air circulation.”
* Wash peaches just before eating or cutting them. Washing peaches before storing may promote bacterial growth and speed up spoilage. Wash peaches under running water, rubbing the peach gently with your hands. Do not use use detergent as this may affect taste and safety.
* Quickly skin several peaches by dipping a few peaches at a time in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Plunge into cold water and slip off the skins. Use immediately or toss with citrus juice or use a commercial ascorbic acid mixture, such as Fruit-Fresh (R) Produce Protector. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator and use that day.