Apple Picking Tips

This month's notes: December 2014: Harvested local apples are still available at farmers and farmer's markets! And of course, you can cut your own Christmas tree, get one already cut or get a libing one to plant after Christmas - see this page.  Make your own homemade ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

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Apple Picking Tips

Apples are one of the easiest fruit to pick and use.  They're big, not easily bruised, most varieties store well, they can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, frozen and made into many tasty and healthy dishes. Apples are fat-free, low sodium, and cholesterol-free. A bushel weighs between 42 and 48 lbs.  And if you're looking for many, many facts about apples, see this page!

 

Picking tips:

Most modern apple orchards have dwarf trees that are very close to the ground - my 3 year old finds it easy to pick apples! (photo above and below)

Select firm, bruise-free apples.  The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination.  It all depends on the variety.  And color is not really how you tell when an apple is ripe. Apples should be crisp and firm.

The key will be to ask the farmer which are ripe.  He will know because it is calculated from the number of days since the trees flowered.  And he will track that date carefully , if he's a good apple grower!

The farmer will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular varieties that he is growing.

 

When are apples ripe - how to tell!

Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples out the outside of the tree will ripen first.  Once they are picked, they stop ripening. Picking apples directly from a tree is easy. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don't pull straight away from the tree. If two apples are joined together at the top, both will come away at the same time. Don't shake the trees or branches.  If the apple you are trying to pick drops, (or others on the tree) go ahead and pick it up. They're perfectly fine! But do wash them before you eat them!

See this page for a much more detailed explanation about how to tell when apples are ripe and ready to pick.

A visitor who grew up on an orchard says to try to leave the stem on the apples.  He says that helped them store longer!

 


It's all about the variety!

Of the apple, that is.  You really need to choose the type of apple that is best suited for your purpose.  Apples can be suited for eating fresh, cooking, baking, applesauce, storing, etc.  I have a fairly extensive guide to apple varieties here!


More Tips

  • Once picked, don't throw the apples into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad more quickly.
  • Don't wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage.
  • For an explanation of why apple slices turn brown and how to stop it, see this page!
  • Keep apples cool after picking to increase shelf life.  A cool basement is ideal, but the fruit/vegetable drawer of a refrigerator will work, too. Kept cool, fresh-picked apples will generally keep weeks, but it DOES depend on the variety.  Red and Yellow Delicious apples do not keep well, for example; but Rome, do! High humidity helps to to keep the apples from shriveling, but don't let them get actually wet. A wet towel placed nearby helps to keep the humidity up. A refrigerator is fine for small quantities of apples. Boxed apples need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won’t freeze. Freezing ruptures all of an apple’s cells, turning it into one large bruise overnight. The usual solution is to store apples in a root cellar. But root cellars often have potatoes in them: apples and potatoes should never be stored in the same room because, as they age, potatoes release an otherwise ethylene gas, which makes apples spoil faster. If you can keep the gas away from your apples, they will keep just fine. Just don’t store them right next to potatoes.
    Prevent contact between apples stored for the winter by wrapping them individually in sheets of newspaper. The easiest way to do this is to unfold a section of newspaper all the way and tear it into quarters. Then stack the wrapped apples
  • Nutrition and miscellaneous facts: One-half cup of apples is only 42 calories. Apples contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories. T Apples are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A and niacin. They contain iron and other trace minerals and are a fair source of Vitamin C. 
  • Apples are ranked No. 1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of apples has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease.
  • Put this in your pipe! Indians in the Northwest Territory smoked wild apples to preserve them for the winter. (Bet you didn't know that!)

Canning apples - fully illustrated, with step-by-step instructions

Recipes, illustrated with step by step instructions


Weights and Approximate Typical Processed Yields of Apples

 If you have this much fresh apples:

 You should get this much...

Commonly made products

 Canned or frozen (quarts)
 Canned or frozen (pints)
1 bushel 
(42-48 lbs)
1 bushel = 12 to 15 qt. canned applesauce (no sugar added), 14 - 18 with sugar

1 bushel = 10 to 12 qt. juice

12 - 16 quarts
28 - 36 pints
 3 lbs.
1 quart applesauce
1 quart
2 pints 
8 medium apples = 2.25 lbs 1 nine-inch apple pie 
or
3 cups of applesauce
1 peck = 10 to 14 lbs

 


Apple Festivals

Here is a list of major apple festivals in the U.S., Britain, Australia and other countries. If you know of any more, please write me! Feedback

 


Want to Grow Your Own Apples? 

I do and it's easy and fast.  Apple trees I planted in my yard two years ago are bearing several dozen fruit each this year!  Here's a guide to selecting a variety to grow and how!

Looking for Apple Cider?

And a fun tour? Check out Cider Mills.com!  They list the cider mills where you can go for a tour (and tasting!  yum!)


Current Season (2014) Apple News

The U.S. Apple Association's estimate of the size of the 2014 United States apple crop is 263.8 million bushels. The USDA’s August 12th estimate was for 259.2 million bushels.

 

See this page for much more detailed information about the apple crop and apple production trends.

 


This page was updated on

Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

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This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
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Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

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