Never Store Your Apples Next to This Produce, Experts Warn
You should put your apples in the fridge, but not just anywhere.
Fall fruit season is upon us, which is great news for fans of apples, pears, and squash. But if you're planning on upping your apple consumption this season, there are a few things you should know about this fruit—including where you shouldn't be storing it. Yes, apples stay fresher in the fridge, but that doesn't mean you can leave them anywhere. Read on to find out what produce you have to keep your apples away from.
Apples produce ethylene, which means they can prematurely ripen some produce.
Apples produce ethylene, a hydrocarbon gas known to speed up the fruit ripening process. As apples ripen, they emit a constant stream of the gas. Apples that have gone past their ideal ripening stage and emitted too much ethylene will turn soft, mealy, and lose their flavor, according to the Washington Post.
But it's not only the apples themselves that will be ruined: The ethylene that apples release into the air can prematurely ripen the other produce you have in your fridge. That means you should never store your apples near avocados, lemons, grapes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables that are sensitive to the gaseous compound, according to LiveStrong.
Different kinds of apples emit different levels of ethylene.
According to the University of Maine, "Some apple varieties such as McIntosh, produce prodigious amounts of ethylene and are difficult to store once this occurs. When harvested after the rapid rise in ethylene, they quickly soften and senesce in storage. Other varieties have a slower rise in ethylene and slower ripening rate."
The Washington Post says that if you're planning on eating your apples in the next one or two days, it's fine to leave them on the counter. However, if you want to preserve your produce and reduce the amount of ethylene produced you should store them in your refrigerator crisper—away from ethylene-sensitive produce. Generally, apples can last between four and six weeks in the refrigerator, per the newspaper.
Ethylene can also be helpful.
Ethylene isn't all bad. If you're looking to speed up the ripening process for your fruits and veggies, by all means, keep them close to your apples. You can also spot-speed the ripening of a particular fruit or vegetable by harnessing its natural ethylene production. Store unripe produce inside a paper bag—just not plastic, because plastic can trap moisture. According to the website Gardening Know How, this will trap the ethylene more effectively and hasten ripening.
Whatever method you use, make sure to closely monitor how your produce is ripening. It's easy to go from fresh to overripe in just a matter of hours.
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Apples aren't the only ethylene-producing fruits.
According to the Produce for a Better Health Foundation, apricots, pears, bananas, melon, kiwi, mango, plums, and peaches are all high-ethylene producing fruits. They should also be kept away from ethylene-sensitive fruits and veggies. In addition to the aforementioned list, that also includes broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and celery.
And while you should worry about ethylene-producing produce like apples wreaking havoc on ethylene-sensitive produce, fruits and veggies that emit a lot of ethylene are also sensitive to each other, per the Washington Post. As charming as a large bowl of fruit in the middle of your kitchen counter might seem, it's probably better for the longevity of your produce that you store apples far from bananas to keep them both fresher longer.