Apple Picking Tips
This month's notes: May 2015: Spring IS here! Strawberries and blueberries each have a very brief season; don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. 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
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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!
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!
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!
- 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
- How to make applesauce
- How to make apple butter
- NEW: How to make apple jelly
- How to make apple pie filling (canned)
- How to can apples
Recipes, illustrated with step by step instructions
- Apple pie recipe and directions and illustrated! I can say, with, ahem, no bias at all, that this is the best apple pie recipe in the world! (Alright, I did have an apple strudel in Vienna once at that place listed in Fodors that was REALLY good, but that wasn't a pie, was it? And since this was the recipe my grandmother used, it must be great!)
- How to make applesauce for a single meal (not canning it) with NO special equipment
- Apple crunch - best of all! Moist, low sugar and using oats!
- Apple crisp - ever-popular, low sugar and using oats!
- Apple, blackberry, cherry, and/or peach cobbler
- Apple-blackberry, crumble - a English favorite (or favourite)
Weights and Approximate Typical Processed Yields of Apples
You should get this much...
Commonly made products
|1 bushel = 12 to 15 qt.
canned applesauce (no sugar added), 14 - 18 with sugar
1 bushel = 10 to 12 qt. juice
||1 quart applesauce||2 pints|
|8 medium apples = 2.25 lbs||1 nine-inch apple pie
3 cups of applesauce
|1 peck = 10 to 14 lbs|
Apple FestivalsHere 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 (2015) 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.
[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]