Fresh fruit can cost a lot of money at the grocery store or farmers market, and it can make sense at times to store fruit for enjoyment later in the season. The reasons for storing fruit include:
- The desire to enjoy delicious fruit when it is not in season. A piece of your favorite fruit can be a welcome treat anytime, but it can be especially welcome in the cold of winter.
- Those with fruit trees on their properties may be left with an abundance of delicious fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Storing this fruit for later use is a great way to preserve nature’s bounty.
- Stored fresh fruit can be much better tasting, less expensive and more nutritious than canned varieties. While there is lots of canned fruit available at the typical grocery store, it often lacks the bold flavor and nutritional density found in the fresh varieties. Storing your own fresh fruit can help save money as well.
No matter what your reasons for storing fruit, it is important to use the right techniques, and to choose the best fruit to store. It is important, for instance, to store only the highest quality fruit. Poor quality fruit will not store well, and the presence of fruit that is unhealthy or past its prime could affect the healthy fresh fruit as well.
The temperature is perhaps the primary consideration when it comes to storing fruit successfully. It is important that the area you use have a temperature that is both cool and unchanging. Rapid temperature changes and high temperatures will adversely affect the stored fruit. The ideal temperature range for storing fruit is between 37°F and 45°F, but it is important to ensure that the temperature does not drop below 36°F. The storage area should also be dark, moist and well ventilated. It is important, however that the area not be too damp. Sheds, garages, cellars and basements that meet these environmental needs can be used to store fruit in the off season.
Of course the right containers are just as critical as the right environment, and it is important that those containers allow air to circulate between the pieces of fruit. Wooden orchard boxes, trays made of polystyrene and stacking crates can all be used to store fruit.
It is of course important to prepare the fruit properly in order to ensure successful storage. Some varieties of fruit will store well if left unwrapped, but in general the best results will be seen with wrapped fruit. For instance, apples can be wrapped using either tissue paper or simple newspaper. Pears are one of the exceptions to the wrapping rule, and they should be left unwrapped for storage.
When it is time to retrieve your stored fruit, be sure to check the results before eating the fruit or using them in your favorite recipes. Check carefully for any shriveled, dried or rotted fruits, and discard them immediately. After you have checked the fruit carefully, the only thing left is to enjoy your carefully preserved treats.