Nugget of Knowledge: Hibernating apples

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Many of us go apple picking this time of year, and places such as the White House Fruit Farm will have fresh-picked apples.

But you don’t have to go apple picking to get apples.

Wherever you are in this country and throughout most of the world, all you have to do is go the local grocery store.

You’ll find perfectly good apples, healthy, tasty, maybe even better looking than the ones you pick yourself.

Grocery store apples often look to be perfectly shaped, free of blemishes and of good color.

And they’re old. Some may be nearly a year old because they’ve just had a nice, long nap.

Most apples sold in this country come from Michigan, New York or Washington state, where the growing season is only a few months long.

Pick an apple off the tree and it’ll last a few weeks before it starts to turn soft and rot, but you can buy apples year-round.

How?

Through a process called Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.

In CA storage rooms, the temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity levels are set just so that apples can hibernate after harvest.

The apple is sleeping and can keep its freshness as long as 10 months.

Most consumers can’t taste the difference between fresh-picked and CA-stored apples.

Storing apples this way only delays the inevitable.

When shippers remove the apples from CA, the clock starts ticking again, giving stores less than a month to sell them and you to enjoy them.

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