Storing Fresh Apples

Storing Fresh Apples

I did something different this week. Several weeks ago, I ordered four bushels of organic Fuji and Cameo apples from a local organic food co-op in Goodletsville, TN called Bulk Natural Foods. By the way, I spent about the same per one bushel of apples that I usually spend on a week’s worth of apples from the grocery store. I put them in cold storage in a spare refrigerator. I’ve had friends do this very successfully, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s the article directly from the Bulk Natural Foods website where I learned to preserve the whole fresh apples.


Choosing the Best Storage Apple

In the north, where temperatures are reliably cold in fall and winter, it’s pretty easy to keep apples fresh for a long time just by storing them in an unheated pantry or root cellar. Here in Tennessee, we have some extra challenges with heat and moisture, but it can be done.

First, you want to choose a late season apple with firm flesh and a thicker skin. Fuji (, Cameo (, Ida Red (, Braeburn, and Mountaineer are some of the very best keepers. Mutsu (, Rome ( apples/), Jonagold (, and Jonathan ( are pretty good also, but they won’t keep as long.

Make sure the apples you plan to store are free from bruises and blemishes. Even a small cut or bruise can spoil a whole lot of apples, so it’s best to use the blemished ones for something else.

Keeping the Apples Separated

It’s important to keep the apples somewhat separated, so that if one starts to go bad, it doesn’t affect the others.

Some people suggest wrapping each apple individually in newspapers, but the inks are toxic and not something I want touching my fruit. Instead, I like to use blank newsprint paper, which I buy for about $3.50 a roll end from my local newspaper office. (It’s good stuff to have on hand for sewing patterns and school projects anyway. We use it all the time.) You could also use paper towels, or even scrap fabric.

Either layer the newsprint between layers of apples, or individually wrap each apple in the paper, twisting to keep the paper secure. Or, take a look at Wilda’s method below. She’s amazing when it comes to fruit storage! Wilda keeps all her fruits this way, and she often tells me she still has peaches in her fridge from 4 weeks prior.


If apples are not kept in a humid environment, they start to become shriveled, soft and dried out. To keep the apples from drying out, place the layered or paper-wrapped apples into plastic bags. Leave the bags slightly open or perforate them to allow for some air circulation.

Keeping Them Cold

The very best place to keep apples is in the refrigerator. They last the longest when they’re kept between 30 and 32 degrees and at about 90% humidity. The problem we run into is that our refrigerator is not nearly big enough to hold all the apples we would like to eat between fall and spring!

Our solution is to put as many apples as we can comfortably fit into the fridge. The rest, we put in an unheated outbuilding where they’re safe from mice and other critters. The outdoor apples are used first, leaving as many as possible in the refrigerator, and we move more to the fridge as space allows.

Occasionally, on very cold nights, the apples need to be brought into the house so they don’t freeze. I put a thermometer on top of one of the boxes so I can keep an eye on the temperature and bring them in if it gets below 30 degrees. (Apples freeze at about 28 degrees.)

Even though the weather is still relatively warm when we buy our storage apples in late fall, the combination of fridge and out building storage has worked well for us, and we’ve been able to keep our apples into February and March, sometimes even April. That is, if we’ve bought enough of them!

Wilda’s Method

Erin, Our last two Ida Red apples are gone! The last ones were as good as the first. They did not shrivel, have bruises, or bad places. They have kept better than any other kind of apple I have tried, and we really like the flavor.

Wilda Patterson
I asked Wilda how she kept them so nicely, and this was her reply:

I store the apples in an extra refrigerator I have in the basement. I put them in plastic grocery bags, a couple layers of apples in each bag, with paper towels top and bottom, and between the apples. The paper towels absorb extra moisture. Store them loosely (don’t tie the bags) so they have some air circulation. I did not lose one apple. This has worked for me for years.

Wilda, Bulk Natural Foods (

How Much Protein Do I Need?

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Most people don’t realize that, as we age, our demand for protein grows. Problematically, as we age, we generally consume less protein. As such, our body’s defenses become weaker which makes us more susceptible to diseases and illnesses. Additionally, without the right amount of protein, we also struggle to maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin control, we feel hungry more often, and we struggle to regulate our weight.

Sadly, most Americans consume a larger proportion of carbohydrates vs. proteins in their daily diet. This imbalance only accelerates the problems mentioned above and sets us up for failure with regard to our health. Another longstanding trend is to reduce fat intake. While there’s nothing wrong with reducing saturated fats in our diet, going to an extreme low fat diet can be detrimental to your health both physically and emotionally. Low fat diets are notorious for causing depression in those who ascribe to this type of diet modification.

We must strike a healthy balance between carbohydrates (preferably in the form of high in non-grain fiber), protein, and fat. In my recent review of current medical research, there is a large amount of evidence that proves the health benefits of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, moderate -fat diet. These benefits include weight loss, blood sugar regulation, insulin reduction, lower blood pressure, less blood vessel inflammation, and preservation of healthy metabolism.

There is a quick way to calculate your protein need per day. The formula is as follows: Your Weight (in pounds) ÷ 2.2 = Your Weight (in kg.)

Protein Need FOR WOMEN: Your weight in kg. × 0.82 = Amount of Protein Grams/day. This gives you theminimum protein requirements per day. NOTE: if you are more active, you may multiply by 1.2 for moderate activity OR 1.8 for strenuous activity.

Protein Need FOR MEN: Your weight in kg. × 0.89 = Amount of Protein Grams/day. This gives you theminimum protein requirements per day. NOTE: if you are more active, you may multiply by 1.2 for moderate activity OR 1.8 for strenuous activity.

When increasing your dietary protein, it’s best to do this under the supervision of a weight loss specialist. At the Optimal You Clinic, I have training as a weight loss solution coach. I’d love to help you design a program that’s just right for you. If you’d like to take a free diet profile, go to ( I have a FREE diet profile that will help design a program for you.

To Your Optimal Health & Vitality,

Benefits of Melatonin

Benefits of Melatonin

O.k., here’s the obvious. Melatonin helps with sleep. I know, I can hear through the waves of cyberspace the resounding… “Duhh.” More specifically, it helps influence sleep patterns – the fancy name is circadian rhythm. By influencing the deeper stages, Stage IV and REM, quality of sleep improves and health benefits are conveyed.

Here are some published health benefits of Melatonin:

Influences the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH); which can affect weight loss and healthy weight maintenance

  • Energizes
  • Enhances Mood
  • Increases Natural-Killer-Cells
  • Modulates Immune Function
  • Protects Against Cancer
  • Potent Antioxidant
  • Free Radical Scavenger
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Decreases Migraines & Cluster Headaches

Melatonin is readily available in most all pharmacies. The best form to use is a “time release, micronized” form. This allows for better absorption and longer duration of action, compared to the standard over-the- counter versions, which more closely mimics the body’s natural Melatonin release. Typical dose range is anywhere from 1mg to 30mg per night. Because of the known health benefits and the relative low side effect profile, this supplement is a good all-around addition to any wellness regimen.

To Your Health,
Brian Brown

The Number One Vitamin Deficiency

The Number One Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiencies are rampant among patients today. Low Vitamin D levels can lead to depression, anger, irritability, heart disease, blood vessel inflammation, heart attacks, strokes, low thyroid function, osteoporosis, premature bone fractures, a weak immune system, cancer, and adult onset diabetes.

Let’s just look at one particular example…

According to a landmark study published in 2006, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, higher Vitamin D levels (> 50ng/ml) translated to a 51% reduced incidence of cancer. The same study showed that in order to raise levels from 20ng/ml to 50ng/ml, it would require a dose of approximately 4,500 i.u. per day of Vitamin D.

Despite numerous other studies proving the health benefits of properly optimizing Vitamin D levels, a government-sponsored press release was published in 2012 with statements that there are no osteoporosis health benefits in supplementing with Calcium or Vitamin D. Within hours, headlines in the Washington Post read, “Task Force Recommends Against Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements”. Many other headlines just like this one echoed around the media globe.

As the late Paul Harvey would say, “And now, for the rest of the story.”

According to it’s own guidelines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily allowance of Vitamin D at a dose of 600 i.u. per day, yet in the press release above, the government task force only looked at doses of 400 i.u. of Vitamin D and 1,000 mg of Calcium per day. The data was flawed. Every medical professional knows that there are significant osteoporosis health benefits with proper doses of Vitamin D and Calcium.

This type of misinformation is detrimental to the American public. Sadly, many people will abandon these valuable supplements and suffer because of it. Why would a government-sponsored task force want to publish such data? Why wouldn’t they tell the whole story?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and I can’t even pretend to figure out this maze of dysfunction, but what I do know is this; we have to be proactive in our own healthcare. I would go even further to add, we have to be proactive in our own WELLNESS CARE! I encourage people to read, read, and read some more.

Become informed health consumers. Don’t just depend on being fed information by your insurance company or healthcare provider. You should strive to be proactive and find a healthcare provider who will listen to you and help you develop an Individually Designed & Balanced Wellness plan.

Your life may very well depend on it.

To Your Health,

Brian Brown