Apple Varieties That Store Well (Sweet, Sour & Juicy)

Planting apple trees is a great addition to any backyard farm or homestead. When they are well tended, you will be rewarded with baskets full of luscious, juicy apples, season after season. 

After bottling apple jams, baking apple pie or apple cobbler, and making apple sauce, the question is – what do you do with the rest of your apples? 

Firm aple varieties like Fuji, Granny Smith, Norhtern Spy, Winesap and Rome can be stored up to 5 months in the right conditions. Other varieties, such as Empire, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, McIntosh, Jonathan and Cortland can be stored up to 3 – 4 months. Some apples, such as Lodi, Prisine and Prima that are meant to be consumed within a week or few weeks.

Apple varieties that can be stored fresh for a long time

Apple varieties can be identified by the firm or soft flesh. Those with firm flesh can be stored for much longer than those with softer flesh. Soft flesh varieties like Gala, Lodi, and Pristine usually ripen around August and age and store less well. Varieties that ripen later in the season, in September or October, like Fuji and Golden Delicious, can be stored for longer. 

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Let’s jump right in and look at a chart of storage times of some of the more popular varieties. The data is taken from a study done by the Department of Horticulture Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, West Lafayette, Indiana (source).

Apple VarietyTypical storage life
Lodi1 – 2 Weeks
Pristine1 – 2 Weeks
Prima1 – 2 Months
Gala1 – 3 Months
McIntosh2 – 4 Months
Jonathan2 – 3 Months
Cortland3 – 4 Months
Red Delicious3 – 4 Months
Golden Delicious3 – 4 Months
Empire3 – 4 Months
Fuji4 – 5 Months
Winesap4 – 5 Months
Rome4 – 5 Months
Nothern Spy4 – 5 Months
Granny Smith4 – 5 Months
Stayman4 – 5 Months

Looking at the above, you can see that many apple varieties can be safely stored for many months. If you are considering buying apple trees to grow, harvest, and store apples, you would want to choose those that have the longest storage life.

How to know which apples to choose for storing

Always choose apples that are free of blemishes, damage, bruising, or disease. Try to pick apples just before they are fully ripened. Look at the color and check that it is not yet in full color. Taste the apple and check that it still has a small amount of tartness to it. Your crop is then ready for harvesting and storage. 

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Best way to store apples without refrigeration

The best way to store apples without refrigeration is by keeping them in dim or dark places away from direct sunlight. They should be stored in the coolest but feeze-free location of your house.

You need to consider two main criteria:

  • Environmental factors
  • Physical storage containers

Let’s look closer at each one

No refrigeration – environmental factors to consider

Light: Apples should be stored in dim or dark places. Do not store them in direct sunlight or even in rooms with filtered sunlight. Cellars, basements, crawl spaces, and garages are ideal for storing apples. 

Temperature: The best temperatures are between 35°F to 40°F (1.5°C to 4.5°C). Your space should be as cold as possible but not at freezing or below freezing. Freezing apples causes the cells of the flesh to break down, and the apples will be mushy when they thaw. 

Humidity: This is the amount of water vapor in the air. High-humidity rooms have large amounts of water vapor and feel damp and muggy. Low-humidity rooms have very dry air. The optimal relative humidity for storing apples is around 90% to 95%. This is a high humidity level and prevents the apples from drying out. Most homes do not have an average humidity as high as this. Installing a humidifier is an easy and effective way to control the humidity levels in your storage room. This requires a careful balance. Despite your humidity being high, you do not want the apples to get wet. Apples that get wet will start to rot, grow mold, and infect others near to them. 

Pests: Ensure that pests, bugs, spiders, rats, or mice cannot get anywhere near your apples. 

No refrigeration – physical storage factors to consider

Container types: Apples can be stored in plastic containers or cardboard boxes. Wooden crates are also ideal, provided they are free of pests or termites.

The best size containers are around 3 to 4 inches deep and 18 inches by 34 inches wide. You will only place a single layer of apples into the containers. Containers can be lined with foil or plastic to help retain moisture.

If you have large amounts of apples to store, you can erect racks or stands. You can also set up multi-levels of trays that are set one atop each other, leaving space for air circulation between the layers. 

Position of containers: Place containers in dark or dim spots. Ensure that there is no direct sunlight and no indirect sunlight. Rooms with no windows are best. Make sure that pests cannot attack the fruit. A place that is undisturbed by humans or family pets is best. Try to keep storage containers off the floor if possible. 

Drafts: Drafts can alter the temperature and humidity levels in a room, causing apples to dry out faster or get damp and start to rot. Ensure that your storage containers are not placed in drafts from windows, air conditioners, or air duct vents. 

How to pack your apples: Plan to pack apples one layer deep. For the best results, wrap each apple individually in newspaper or Kraft paper. Use one page per apple and roll it up. Then twist the ends to prevent it from unraveling.

Ensure that apples do not touch one another. Everyone knows that ‘One bad apple spoils the barrel’. When apples rot, they give off ethylene, and this can make nearby apples rot as well. Your entire crop could be lost. 

Keep your apples away from potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. Potatoes and tomatoes release ethylene, a chemical that makes fruit ripen faster and can spoil your apples. Onions have a pungent smell that is absorbed by apples. You don’t want to end up with apple pies that smell of onions. 

Keep different varieties separate. Store different varieties in different containers. Labeling the containers with the variety name and the storage date is a good idea. Because apples can be stored for different lengths of time, it is important to know what you have in each container and when they need to be unpacked. 

Check your apples regularly. Check your apples at least once every two weeks. Pick a few at random, unwrap them, and check for dark or wet spots. Look for signs of mold or mildew. If you see this, you will need to unwrap all the apples and dispose of the damaged ones. 

Best way to store apples in a fridge

If you have a smaller crop, storing your apples in a refrigerator is a convenient choice. 

The crisper drawer is the best section of the fridge to store apples. Make sure your apples are clean and free from blemishes, bruising, or disease.  You can place them into a plastic bag that has a few holes in it for air circulation. You can also place the apples directly into the drawer and cover them with a damp paper towel. 

Ensure that your crisper drawer does not freeze. Temperatures must be cold but not at or below freezing. 

Tips to keeping apples fresh for a long time

  • Only store fruit that is not damaged or overripe
  • Ensure that you pack your apples one layer deep
  • Don’t mix different varieties in one storage container
  • Keep your containers in dim or dark places
  • Try to keep the humidity high, but do not let apples get wet
  • Ensure your temperatures are as cold as possible but not freezing
  • Ensure that pets, pests, and rodents cannot get to the apples
  • Check regularly for any apples that may start to rot and remove them
  • Do not store with other produce like potatoes, tomatoes, or onions

A pro tip, if you are planning on planting apple trees, choose different varieties that ripen at different times. By doing this, you will ensure that you have a steady supply all year round for consumption or for selling at your local market. 

Sweet, sour, juicy apples that store well

Sweet apples that store well

Sweet apple varietyTypical storage life
Fuji4 – 5 Months
Red Delicious3 – 4 Months
Golden Delicious3 – 4 Months

Sour apples that store well

Sour apple varietyTypical storage life
Jonathan2 – 3 Months
McIntosh2 – 4 Months
Cortland3 – 4 Months
Empire3 – 4 Months

Juicy apples that store well

Juicy apple varietyTypical storage life
Golden Delicious3 – 4 Months
Norhtern Spy4 – 5 Months
Turley4 – 5 Months

Apple varieties that don’t store well

Soft-flesh apples do not store well for long. The popular varieties that are not ideal for storing are –

  • Lodi: 1 – 2 weeks
  • Pristine: 1 – 2 weeks
  • Yellow Transparent: 1 – 2 weeks 

Final thoughts

Whether you are growing your apples or buying them in large quantities, you can store many varieties for months.

By using the correct storage containers and creating the perfect storage environment, apples can last for as long as 4 to 5 months.

If you buy different varieties that ripen at different times of the year, you can ensure an ongoing supply of tasty, juicy apples for home or commercial use. 


Sam is an outdoor enthusiast, who loves spending time in the garden and learning about animals. His motivating forces are his wife and 5 beautiful children. When he doesn't get it right, he will go and try again!

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