If you’ve ever tried to keep a stock of apples over the winter, you’ll know that keeping them fresh and appetising can be a challenge. But there is a way to delay the ageing process.

The minute an apple leaves the tree, it starts to change. First it ripens, becoming sweeter and juicier, but then it quickly starts to lose its vitamins and moisture, becoming wrinkly and floury.

But this process can be slowed down if you store apples in a dark room with high humidity and a temperature of about 4 degrees, according to Germany’s Federal Centre for Nutrition (BZfE).

Apples start to change as soon as they are plucked from the tree, so it’s important to store them well if you want them to stay fresh. Photo: Robert Guenther/dpa

Cellars are perfect, but if you don’t have one, the nutrition experts recommend putting the fruit in a sealable plastic bag (prick a few holes in it with a fork before use). The ageing process is slowed down by the high air humidity and the low oxygen levels in the bag.

Different apple varieties have quite different flavours and textures: for crunchy eating apples choose Braeburn, Fuji or Wellant; Jonagold, Elstar and Boskoop are best for cakes; and varieties such as Gloster, Boskoop and Cox’s Orange Pippin are great for pies, crumbles and other types of baking. – dpa