Find a local pick your own farm here!

Looking for Apples: How to Store Apples for the Winter at Home in 2023?  Scroll down this page and  follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.  If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page.  Read our disclosure policy to learn more. 

Apples: How to Store Apples for the Winter at Home

Apples: How to Store Apples for the Winter at Home

Many apples can be kept for months, given the right variety and conditions.  Here's how to store apples for the winter:

Choose an apple variety that stores well:

It's almost easier to say which apples do not store well.  In general, summer apples, which are softer like Gala and Delicious (red and yellow),  do not age well or store well. These early ripening varieties, starting in July and going through August have high sugar content, but do not store well. 

Firmer, more dense later ripening varieties, like Fuji, store much better. There is a table of most common apple varieties at the bottom of this page and a see this page for a more detailed chart, organized by ripening date, of apple varieties.  It also identifies which apples store best.

Choose apples that are fresh and undamaged.

The apples need to be bruise-free and picked or recently, or at least, cooled quickly after harvest and kept stored properly (just above freezing) since they were harvested.

How long will they store at home?

Typically, three or four months for late apples, under the conditions described below. After that, they start to dry out, get a wrinkled appearance and become softer and more spongy feeling.  Still good to make applesauce or apple butter, or even dried apples.

Storage conditions

These are critical:

  1. Temperature: cool; just above freezing (but never to or below freezing) is best. Short of that, as cold as you can get without freezing!
  2. Light: dark or dim light.  NO direct sunlight!
  3. Humidity:  90% humidity keeps the apples from drying out. Unless you have a humidifier with a setting for percentage of desired humidity, there's probably not much you can do about this. But the apples must stay dry; if water comes in contact it will start rot!
  4. No Vermin: Non- human type, that is: bugs, animals etc. None! Free of life forms that will attack your apples!
  5. Spacing: apples should not touch each other.  Those points of contact will spread mold!
  6. Do not store apples in the same small room with potatoes or tomatoes. As these age, they release a gas that makes apples spoil faster. A large room should be fine, if they are not near each other. And pungent foods, like onions, can affect the flavor of apples, which can absorb these odors.

While a walk-in fridge or root cellar is ideal,  an unheated basement, an enclosed, unheated porch, an heated garage that does not freeze, an unheated attic, will also work well.

Materials needed

  • Newspaper
  • Shallow boxes or crates (get free boxes from Costco and Sam's Club which are ideal for this (3 or 4 inches deep and about 18 inches by 34 inches wide and long)
  • A cool dark, dry place: a root cellar is ideal, if you have one.  Otherwise a basement or garage that does not freeze (unless you live in a climate that is warm in the winter - duh!).

How to do it

  1. Wrap each apple individually in a sheet of newspaper. I use a page each apple (tear the double pages in half along the seam).
  2. Put an apple in  one end of the page and simply roll and wrap it up! I twist the ends a bit to keep it from unraveling.
  3. Don't mix apple varieties. Different varieties ripen at different rates, so put different varieties in different boxes.
  4. Sorting: as you wrap, set aside any bruised apples. Apples with even small bruises should be set aside to use first - don't even bother wrapping these. Only bruise-free apples should be used for long-term storage.
  5. Put each wrapped apple in one of the storage boxes, 1 apple deep.

Monitoring Storage

The boxed apples need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won't freeze.

Periodically (weekly, at least) unwrap a few apples to verify for spoilage.  Look for dark or wet spots as a sign.

Remove spoiled apples and any contaminated newspaper right away.

More information

Below is a table of typical storage durations under ideal conditions gathered from various university extension services.

Storage life of some common apple varieties
at 30-32°F. and 90-95 percent relative humidity
Variety Typical storage life
Lodi   1-2 weeks
Gala   2-4 weeks
Cortland 3-4 months
 McIntosh 3-4 months
Jonathan 3-5 months
 Granny Smith 3-5 months
Winesap 3-5 months
Stayman 3-5 months
Northern Spy 3-6 months
Chieftain 3-6 months
Fuji 3-6 months
Arkansas Black 3-6 months
Rome 3-6 months