We are starting to get "new crop" apples from the Southern Hemisphere. But there are plenty of domestic apples still in supermarkets. These apples were picked in September or October and put in "controlled-atmosphere" storage, where humidity, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are controlled. These apples were virtually put to sleep. This is how an apple today can be almost as crisp as when it was first picked in September. However, when these apples come out of storage, watch out! If you take these apples and leave them out at room temperature, they will ripen eight times faster, which means they will become mealy eight times faster. First, don't buy apples that have been displayed in a case that's not refrigerated. Make sure they are refrigerated. Second, as soon as you get home, put the apples away in your crisper. Finally, don't pull the apples out of the refrigerator until just before you eat them. If you do, you will be amazed at how crisp they are -- even months after they have been harvested.
Next week: asparagus season
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