Some people keep their apples on the counter, others pop the fruit into the fridge. So which of these is the best way to store apples? Well, it really depends—but neither apple storage method is necessarily wrong. Apples actually get sweeter after harvest as the fruit's starch turns into sugar. So unlike many fruits, apples do really well in cold storage. (Some apples are even kept in commercial cold storage units for as long as a year before going to market.) As Harold McGee writes in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, "Apples are generally sold ripe and keep best if immediately wrapped and refrigerated."
And even if you don't wrap each individual apple in plastic wrap, you're better off storing apples in the fridge if you want to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Our friends at Real Simple recommend keeping apples in your fridge's low-humidity crisper drawer; that way, the fruit will stay fresh for two to three weeks. Just be sure to separate your apples from strong smelling foods like onions and garlic in the fridge. Otherwise, your apples will start to take on their odor and taste less like apples.
If you are one of those people who does keep apples at room temperature on your counter, you're not wrong to do so. In fact, you should keep larger apples and apples with bruises on the counter, so you remember to eat those before they totally rot out and get mealy. It turns out that smaller apples keep in cold storage better than larger apples, and apples that already have bruises are more likely to get mealy when cold.
And if one of the apples in the bowl does go bad, take it out as soon as you see it. You know that old saying about one bad apple spoiling the bunch? Well, this is the time to take that advice literally. Apples produce a ton of ethylene gas, the hormone that causes fruit to ripen, so one overripe apple will cause the rest of the apples to speed up their ripening, rotting, and shriveling. But with so many amazing ways to cook with apples, chances are good you be about to use them up soon enough.