Storing Fruit


Fruits may be kept for long periods of time using a variety of techniques; the best method to use often depends on the fruit itself. Soft fruits tend to freeze very successfully, whilst many tree fruits may be kept for months in a cool, dark and slightly damp spot. Many fruits may also be made into preserves, or bottled in sugar syrup with perhaps some alcohol. Fruits with a high sugar and acid content, such as apricots and figs may be oven-dried at 120-140°F (49-60°C) for approximately 12-14 hours.

Cool Storage

Tree fruits, such as apples and pears may be kept in cool, well ventilated storage for several weeks, or even several months. Cool temperatures slow down fruit respiration, which in turn slows down decay, whilst adequate ventilation keeps ethylene (the chemical responsible for ripening) from building up. Other tree fruits may be stored in the same way, but do not tend to last quite as long; 2-4 weeks at best.

Apples may be wrapped individually in greaseproof paper to prevent rot, and then stored in slatted boxes to allow a good flow-though of air. Some fruits can tend to shrivel if the air is not humid enough and are better stored in clear plastic bags pierced with several holes.


The majority of soft fruits and some tree fruits may be successfully frozen and stored for up to a year. Small fruits should be spread out on a tray so that they are not in contact with each other and then frozen for approximately 4 hours. They may then be transferred into a container and kept in the freezer until required. Larger fruits, such as apples, should be cut into slices before freezing. You should also remove cores or stones from apples, apricots, peaches and plums, and stalks from grapes, cherries, damsons and blackcurrants.


All soft fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries, and some tree fruits such as damsons and apricots, may be made into preserves. This may be in the form of a jam, where the whole fruit is used, or as a jelly, where the fruit is strained and only the juice used.

Most stone fruits, such as cherries, plums and peaches may be preserved in alcohol, syrup or vinegar, and stored for at least 3 months before eating.

You can also preserve lemons in salt; simply quarter them, squeeze the juice out into a clean jar and then coat the quarters thoroughly in sea-salt. The lemons can then be packed into the jar along with the juice and topped up with water so that all the pieces are covered. After storing for at least five weeks, the skin may be used finely sliced for cooking.