Oct 17th, 2012 by Paul Stewart, Metcalf Foundation Intern
The Not Far From The Tree blog is full of peoples great ideas about what to do with the fruit we all pick. Making chutneys, jams, jellies, pies, dyes, leathers, juice the list goes on and on. All of these recipes and ideas are great, but sometimes you just want to eat fresh fruit. Problem is that a lot of the fruit we pick will only last a few days to a week before it starts to over ripen. So what are the best storage methods for keeping fresh fruit?
As a rule most fruit will store best in a cool humid environment. Cool temperatures will slow down the ripening process and increase the longevity of the fruit. Only pick the best fruit for storage, bruised or blemished fruit will not store well and will cause other fruit stored with it to turn more quickly. Of all the fruit Not Far From the Tree picks Apples and Pears will store best, certain cultivars will last up to six months in proper storage.
The crisper section of a fridge can be a great place to store Apples and Pears because it keeps the humidity relatively high. If you run out of room in the crisper you can put a sealed plastic bin in your fridge to store fruit, this will hold onto humidity in the same way as the crisper. If that’s not enough room for you than you could take on a crazy project and build a mini cold cellar!
Building a miniature cold cellar is very easy. It can range in size from small plastic bucket to a garbage can. The first step is to pick a container to bury. I’m just doing this as an experiment to see its effectiveness so I chose a 5 gallon bucket. Next drill holes in the bottom of the bucket. This will allow for moisture to come up through the bucket, raising the humidity. Dig a hole deep enough to fit the entire bucket. Place the bucket in the hole and fill the bottom of the bucket with a layer straw. Put in a layer of apples or pears and then put another layer of straw. Alternate fruit and straw to the top of the bucket, seal the bucket. Place a small square straw bale on top of bucket for insulation. It can also be a good idea to put a stake in the ground to make sure that you can find your apples and pears when there is a foot or two of snow on the ground.