Best Fruits to Store
There are only two fruits that will store in a root cellar over winter without being processed — apples and pears. Most other fruits need to be canned or frozen in order for them to be enjoyed during the winter months.
Apples are usually harvested in the late summer and into the fall. The late maturing, tart apples are the best apples for storing. Make sure the apples are dry if you plan to store them long term, and then pack them in sand or sawdust or wrap them individually in newspaper. The ideal temperature to store apples is 30ºF–40ºF with a high humidity. You want to make sure you store your apples separately from your root crops since they give off ethylene gas that will cause nearby veggies to spoil more quickly.
Check the quality of your stored apples and pears at least once a month. Pull out any that are squashed, bruised, or rotting as they will quickly contaminate the rest of your crop.
Like apples, pears will store fairly well without being processed in some way. Pears are harvested in the fall and should be picked from the tree before they are fully ripened if you are planning to store them. You want to make sure the fruits are still hard, then wipe them clean and pack in loose paper so they are not touching. They are best stored at 29ºF–34ºF. Most varieties will keep well for two to three months if properly stored. To finish ripening the pears before eating, place them in a warm room for two or three days.