Storing cheese

Does coating cheese with red wax allow for it to be stored in a pantry? I purchased some red waxed cheese from the grocery store — would this be shelf safe?

Judith Almand
Lithia, Florida

Probably not. If you have a very cool pantry (45-50 degrees), it would probably store pretty well. If not I’d refrigerate or freeze it unless you want to can it for longer storage. — Jackie

Growing apricots

It’s too late for this season but I need some advice about my apricots. I had a good crop but the fruit is ugly with black blotches on each one. They are also small compared to what is in the grocery stores. I didn’t get any spraying done this year and we’ve had lots of rain. Any ideas how I might be able to prevent these blotches and improve the size of my fruit?

Adell Struble
Aledo, Illinois

My best guess is that your apricots got attacked by the insect pest, plum curculio.The plum curculio is a small beetle with a mottled camo-colored back and a long, curving snout. The adult feeds on blossoms and developing fruit. It bites a half-circle shaped wound in the developing fruit of not only plums but also apricots, apples, and peaches, then lays eggs in the wound. The egg hatches out into a tiny grub which goes on to burrow into the center of the fruit to eat and grow. All this creates blackish blotches in the fruit which stunts its growth and usually causes the young fruit to drop off of the tree. Here the cycle begins again. This is why it’s important that all dropped fruit is raked up and burned — it will significantly reduce the number of beetles next year. Organic gardeners have had good luck treating their trees with a natural kaolin clay product called Surround.

Surround provides substantial control of plum curculio on apples. Surround forms a thin clay barrier around the fruit that repels adults and prevents them from depositing eggs in the fruit. Begin spraying Surround on the trees at petal fall and continue applications until one week before harvest. The heavy, consistent coating of Surround provides the highest level of control.

Good luck with your apricots. You can get rid of these pests! — Jackie


  1. Zelda,

    It’s kinda hard to spray spinosad on the young fruit but not blossoms as a lot of times there are both tiny fruit and blossoms on the tree at the same time. I like the Surround, but you’re right, you DO have to spray it periodically until about July to both build up a coat and replace the white coat after it rains. But when you’re as desperate for fruit as we seem to be, it’s worth the extra work. It only takes a few seconds to spray a tree; we keep one designated sprayer loaded and just take a spin around the orchard. Only our plums and apricots seem affected. They don’t seem to like our apples.

  2. You can also spray your young fruit (not blossoms) with spinosad or Serenade in early morning or late evening so it dries before bees are out foraging. Both will kill bees. My biggest problem other than birds pecking at the fruit is earwigs, which climb my trees, bore into the fruit, and eat it from the inside out. The fruit looks OK until you open it up. Tanglefoot and other sticky products on the trunks don’t seem to stop them. Only way I know to deal with them is traps on the ground. Surround works but has to be constantly re-applied to be effective so I gave it up.

  3. I got caught up in the idea of waxing store bought cheese at home for storage. I don’t know how much money I wasted doing this as it all went bad. The lady on this other website swore that it works and she does it all the time, but she must have a very cool storage place like you said.

Comments are closed.