Somewhere in your fridge, there’s likely a drawer that’s been named for a very specific set of food items. Some households refer to it as the fruit drawer, others as the vegetable drawer, though its true name is the crisper drawer. Unfortunately, while this drawer is a great catch-all for your fruits and veggies, it also plays into the idea of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. While this drawer in your fridge can keep your fruit good for longer—for instance, apples—if you leave it in that drawer for too long, you might open it one day to bruised, pockmarked apples.
So how long do apples last in the fridge? Let’s find out!
How Long Do Apples Last in the Fridge?
If they’re simply thrown into the fridge as they are and left alone, refrigerated apples tend to last around four to five weeks before they begin to go bad. This is already a pretty impressive shelf life, and you can leave them there if you wish! However, there are ways to lengthen this period. Some of these methods are:
- Not washing the fruit before storing it. Washing the fruit and exposing it to moisture, no matter how well you dry it afterward, can compromise your refrigerated apple’s skin and leave it vulnerable to premature molding and rotting. Leaving it unwashed will lengthen its shelf life. Though it may be difficult for some to leave fruit unwashed, trust that it’s better than opening up your fridge to molding fruit! You can always wash the fruits once you’re ready to eat or use them in recipes, but if you risk washing them before placing them inside the fridge, you’ll only shorten your window in which to use the fruit without wasting any.
- Wrapping the fruits separately. By wrapping individual apples tightly in plastic wrap, you can protect them from decay and slow their rotting process. Take your roll of plastic wrap and cut out individual sheets for each apple, making sure to cover the entire fruit without gathering too much excess plastic; any extra folds can gather condensation and allow moisture to leak in, while any exposed areas won’t be as protected as they should be. Beyond that, you’ll likely want to avoid using any unnecessary plastic wrap so you don’t find yourself running out too quickly!
- Leaving them whole. By leaving your refrigerated apples whole, you prevent the rapid oxidization that leads to apples “browning.” Slicing the apples can seem like a space-saver, but in reality, you’re only hastening their demise. Unless you intend to cook the apple slices before you store them, (for instance, by baking apple chips) don’t cut them! You’ll only undo the work the fridge is doing to keep them fresh for you.
If you apply all these guidelines, you can extend the shelf life of your apples by two to four weeks, extending their total shelf life to around six to eight weeks. That means by following these three methods, you can keep your apples from going bad for about two months in the fridge!
Why Use Refrigerated Apples?
Whether you follow the aforementioned guidelines or not, storing your apples in the fridge is still the best way to help them keep longer. If you choose to leave them on the counter instead, your apples will go bad in a single week or less; if you store them in the pantry, they can last up to three weeks, but still nowhere near as long as refrigerated apples will last. No matter which way you slice it, the best way to keep your apples as fresh as possible for as long as possible is to store them in that nifty crisper drawer.
How to Store Refrigerated Apples
Don’t just put refrigerated apples anywhere; if you can help it, make sure you clear them a space in your crisper drawers. Crisper drawers are built to keep perishable goods from expiring longer; their humidity levels are higher, which helps fruit and vegetables stay fresh. Still, anywhere in the fridge is better than anywhere outside the fridge, seeing how much faster they decay outside the cold environment within the fridge’s walls.
Can I Do Anything With Expired Apples?
Of course you can! If your refrigerated apples have reached the point that their interiors have a mealy, granular texture, and their exteriors are bruised up, it can be easy to pull a face, empty your drawer, and dump them all in the garbage for the raccoons to snack on instead. But no matter what they might look like on the outside, don’t let that scare you off!
There are plenty of recipes you can still add these apples to, so long as they haven’t gone too far past the deep end. Don’t use these apples for pies, tarts, or other dishes that require whole apples; mealy apples won’t slice well, and their texture will end up all wrong for dishes like pies and tarts where it’s difficult to hide the just-past-ripe state of the fruit. Instead, put these apples to good use in dishes like applesauce and pancakes.
What Should I Do With Refrigerated Apples That Are About To Go Bad?
If your refrigerated apples are nearing their expiration date but haven’t quite reached the point of being grainy and unpleasant in their outward appearance, there are plenty of ways to use them up even if you and your family won’t eat them in time. While you can certainly throw a little apple-feasting bonanza to try and get rid of them all, don’t push yourselves! Instead, have a baking day and stock up on apple-flavored desserts.
You can take apples that are nearing their expiration date and use them to make apple pies, apple tarts, dried apple chips, apple bread, and just about anything else you can think to add apples to! If you get creative, you should be able to get away with using every apple without ever having to throw one away.
Of course, if you don’t have time to spend your day baking, you can always take your old apples and use them to make compost for your garden.
So How Long Do Apples Last In The Fridge?
Ultimately, the answer to this question is entirely up to you and how you choose to treat your apples! Depending on just how far you want to go in order to keep your apples fresh, you can buy a bag of apples and keep them ready for use for up to two months in the drawer of your fridge.
However, if you’re a bit too busy to sit and painstakingly wrap every single apple out of your bag before placing them into the drawer, or simply can’t afford to waste that much plastic wrap, that’s all right too. They’ll still keep for at least four to six weeks, and so long as you don’t overbuy, or have a plan in place to use the apples you can’t eat by then, you should be just fine!
Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!