How to harvest and store apples

How to harvest and store apples

If you’re lucky enough to have your own apple trees, autumn is a busy time of year. Delicious crisp, juicy apples are just waiting to be picked and eaten now or made into tasty pies and desserts. Here’s how to make the most of your apple harvest.

When are apples ready to harvest?

If you know what variety your apple tree is, in other words, whether it’s a Granny Smith, a Golden Delicious or some other named type, you can look it up and find out roughly when it is supposed to be ripe. Remember though that local weather and microclimates will affect how fast fruit ripens in different areas. If you’re unsure, try to pick one or two apples. If they come away easily in your hand, then they’re ripe. And if windfalls are dropping from the trees, then it’s definitely time to start picking.

How to harvest apples

To pick an apple, cup it in the palm of your hand, lift and twist gently. The fruit should come away quickly – if not, leave it for a few more days. Even on a single tree, apples will ripen at different times. Apples exposed to more sunlight will ripen faster, so those at the top of the tree, and on the sun-facing side, will be ready first. Keep picking as the fruit ripens. Use a ladder to reach the higher fruits.

If you’re picking apples for storing, take great care not to bruise them, as one bruised apple can spoil a whole batch. If you’re planning on using them straight after picking, however, the odd bruise here or there won’t matter.

How to store apples

The best apples for storing are the mid- and late-season varieties like Braeburn, Bramley’s Seedling, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. Early-season varieties like Discovery and Ellison’s Orange don’t store well, so use these soon after picking. 

  • To store apples, wrap each apple in tissue paper or newspaper and place them in low-sided boxes or trays so that air can circulate. You can also store apples unwrapped, but if you do this, it’s vital to ensure that they don’t touch each other. 

  • Store your apples somewhere cool, dark and well ventilated. Apples give off ethylene gas, which encourages fruit to ripen and then spoil, so adequate ventilation is essential to stop this gas building up.

  • Check stored apples regularly and remove any spoiled fruit.

  • Store different varieties separately, so that you can use up the ones with shorter storage life first.

 

We have a great range of apple and other fruit trees in our centre, and autumn is the ideal time for tree planting. Visit us soon to choose the perfect fruit tree for your garden.

You might also be interested in:

Help your garden birds

Wondering how to help your garden birds during the colder months? As the weather changes and many trees become bare, gardens get tidied up, and berries start to disappear. It is more important than ever to make sure your outside space is home to wildlife. Birds will need to store fat to get through the winter, and there are many things you can do to help your feathered garden friends. Here are some tips for a bird-friendly garden. 

Read more...
Build your own Christmas village

Why not build your own Christmas village in your home for a great display of festive fun. There are so many options to create a wonderful scene which you can personalise and make your own. From mini houses to cotton wool snow, our tips will help you get started to create your own snowy village scene at home to admire and get you in the festive spirit. 

Read more...
How to plant a bulb lasagne pot

You can never have too many spring bulbs. With their fabulous flowers turning spring into a riot of colour, the only problem is finding space to plant them all. The solution? Lasagne bulb planting.

Read more...
Top 7 Christmas items that can't be missed

As Christmas is approaching, it is time to start decorating, present buying and card writing. Close the curtains, relax on the sofa and write your list for Santa! Let the festivities begin with these top 7 Christmas items that can’t be missed.

Read more...