Apple Varieties that Keep Well Over the Winter

These apple varieties are your best bet to store long-term

Granny Smith and Gala apples
Granny Smith and Gala apples. Getty Images/Image Source

Apple picking is great fun, but what do you do with the rest of the harvest after you've made apple pie, applesauce, and apple cobbler?  If you want apples that will stay fresh for months after you’ve picked them, you'll need to choose a variety that stores well.

It's actually not difficult to find apples that will keep. Most of the late fall and winter varieties will do just fine if stored for a long time under the correct conditions.

Easy-to-Find Apples That Keep Well

The most common apples to store include many of the varieties you also see in the grocery store. That's not a coincidence, since apples that will store well in your refrigerator, root cellar or basement also will store well for growers who want to sell them all year long.

These varieties include:

  • Cameo
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Goldrush
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Ida Red
  • McIntosh
  • Red Delicious
  • Rome

Apples that keep well generally are harder and have thicker skins. Softer apples will bruise more easily, which puts them at risk for rotting in storage.

More Unusual Apples to Store

Beyond the most common varieties, there are many more types of apples that you can store for months successfully. These include:

  • Abram
  • Allum
  • Arkansas Black
  • Bald Mountain
  • Baldwin
  • Belle de Boskoop
  • Bentley’s Sweet
  • Blacktwig
  • Blushing Golden
  • Braeburn
  • Brock
  • Bryson’s Seedling Cannon Pearmain
  • Chesney
  • Chieftain
  • Chiver’s Delight
  • Clearwater Gold
  • Cortland
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin
  • Crispin
  • Criterion
  • Deaderick
  • Dixie Red Delight
  • Domine
  • Egremont Russet
  • Empire
  • Enterprise
  • Erwin Baur
  • Gloria Mundi
  • Gold Rush
  • Golden Russet
  • Golden Supreme
  • Grimes
  • Holstein Cox
  • Honey Crisp
  • Hudson’s Golden Gem
  • Jonafree
  • Jonalicious
  • Jonathan
  • Kidds Orange Red
  • King
  • Liberty
  • Melrose
  • Mutsu
  • Newton
  • Northern Spy
  • Northwestern Greening
  • Oxheart Pippin
  • Pitmaston Pineapple
  • Prarie Spy
  • Priscilla
  • Red Pippin
  • Sir Prize
  • Spartan
  • Spigold
  • Spitzenburg
  • Splendour
  • Stayman
  • Stayman-Winesap
  • Stellar
  • Suncrisp
  • Sundance
  • Turley
  • Virginia Gold
  • Winesap (turley, stayman)
  • Winter Banana
  • Yates

Again, these all make good keeping apples because they're generally thicker-skinned, and tend to be on the harder side.

How to Store Apples Successfully for the Winter

It's critical to get the temperature right when you're storing apples. You can't freeze the fruit, but you want your storage area to be as cold as possible without dropping below the freezing mark—around 32 to 34 degrees. Also, keep the storage area as dark as you can. A refrigerator is best for this, but often a basement will work almost as well.

High humidity will help to keep your apples fresher, but don't let the fruit get wet or it will rot.

Before putting the apples into storage, you should sort through them and choose the least-ripe fruit to store long-term (use the others more quickly). Don't store any fruit that's bruised, or that has broken skin.

Also, remember that apples sweeten over time. If there’s a variety that’s too tart for you right off the tree, try it again after it’s been stored for a while—you might find you like it much better.