A is for apple. B is for bag.
As we move into November, I've started to stockpile apples. Like root vegetables, the fall fruit does well in cool storage. The crisper drawer of the refrigerator works well enough. But to make apples last longer, I've begun storing them in apple bags from Kuhn Orchards.
It's a simple design: a mid-weight plastic bag with about half a dozen small holes that run up the front. The plastic protects the apple from humidity. The holes allow for the emittance of ethylene, a naturally occurring gas that helps apples ripen. Letting that gas escape keeps the apples from getting soft or mealy. The bags, which hold about a dozen medium apples, can increase the fruit's shelf life by about three weeks, says farm owner Mary Margaret Kuhn.
Kuhn Orchard began using the bags when it sold its produce to large supermarkets, which are keen to boost the shelf life of apples, potatoes and winter vegetables. When the farm began selling to the public at farmers markets, it offered the bags to those customers, too.
At first, I hadn't noticed the bags, which hang above the nearly dozen varieties of apples alongside regular plastic carrier bags at farmers markets and are free for the taking. They do seem to make a difference. My two-week-old apples are hard, tart and fresh. Kuhn also recommends the bags for storing chestnuts and Asian and Bartlett pears.
Kuhn is the only vendor I know that offers apple bags. (Have you seen them elsewhere? Let us know.) The orchard sells at seven area farmers markets. But you can also make your own apple bags. Punch a few holes in a freezer-safe plastic food storage bag, stash your apples inside and place it in your refrigerator's crisper drawer.
-- Jane Black
October 29, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories: Shopping | Tags: Jane Black, shopping
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