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Apple and Pear Storage

We are able to continue to enjoy apples and pears long after they are harvested back in October/ November by keeping them in storage.  As soon as the apples and pears are harvested they are divided into two kinds of storage, fresh and CA (controlled atmosphere).   Storage delays the normal ripening and aging process.  As time goes on the sugar, starch and acid content changes, water is lost and the fruit withers and decays.  

Most apples you will purchase before the New Year are taken from fresh storage where the fruit is put into a chilled cellar or cooler and kept between 32-36 degrees F with high air humidity and some air circulation. You can compare this to storage in your refrigerator at home. 

After the fresh storage supply runs out, apples and pears are pulled from CA storage (Controlled Atmosphere).  In CA, apples and pears are stored in airtight coolers where the oxygen level in the air is reduced and the carbon dioxide level is increased to slow down the maturation process to a near halt.  Temperatures are kept at a consistent 32–36 degrees F with 95 percent humidity.  This is a non-chemical process and the exact conditions vary by apple and pear variety, allowing many varieties to be stored into the winter, spring and even summer months.  Gala’s are one of the first apples we are now seeing coming out of CA (controlled atmosphere). 

When the apples and pears are brought out of hibernation for packing they will begin to ripen and break down quickly.  It is best to enjoy them right away and keep them in your refrigerator until eaten.  Once the CA (controlled atmosphere) storage of apples and pears run out, the supplies are augmented by apples and pears from the southern hemisphere until the season starts up again in the fall.

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