Apple Picking Tips

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

As it's harvest season and I've been blathering on, both on my Instagram and in previous posts, about how much of a fruit glut we've ended up with this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my top fruit-picking tips with you.

We're lucky enough to have four apple trees in our garden at the moment (although, we are a man down as one sadly gave up the ghost last Autumn, RIP little tree...) and they don't half pump out a shed-load of apples! Over the years, however, we've learnt that there are a few good tips and tricks to making the most of their bountiful offerings each and every September.

Even if you don't have an apple tree in your garden, these tips will still apply if you decide to take a seasonal trip to a farmer's orchard or stumble upon some overly-fertile trees in the wild (gasp)! 

1. Before you get started picking them, be sure to know your apples. Typically, there are three types: Dessert (or 'eaters'), Cooking (which we have!) or Cider apples. It's essential you know what kind of apple you're picking before you end up with a cartload of them and begin the arduous task of trying to use them up. Nobody wants to eat an apple crumble made with a bunch of bitter cider apples!

2. When you come to picking, only select firm and bruise-free apples from the outside of the tree. Apples on the outer branches typically ripen first, so its a good idea to start harvesting from the outside and work your way into the centre of the tree as the season moves on. 

3. Remember that the colour of the apple might not necessarily indicate its ripeness, as some varieties turn red or bright green well before the fruit itself is ripe. The best way to tell if an apple is ripe is if it feels firm to the touch and breaks off its stalk cleanly.

4. The best way to pick an apple from its stalk is to roll the fruit upwards and then gently twist it until it comes off by itself.

5. Discard any apples with any signs of disease, insect erosion or severe bruising, even if they 'look clean'.

6. Be careful when gathering your harvest as apples bruise very easily and one damaged apple can spoil a whole basket. Be sure to place them carefully in your container of choice and sort them as soon as possible after harvesting.

7. Be sure to keep your apples in a cool environment (preferably in the fridge) after picking them to ensure a long shelf life.

8. And if you want to keep your apples for cooking, you can core and slice them up and then pop them in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to a year!

9. However you store your harvest, make sure you keep apples away from any other fruit and veg as apples emit a gas (ethylene gas- for all you science nerds out there!) that hastens ripening. Extra tip- damaged apples emit ethylene at a much faster rate so be sure to discard them from your harvest as quickly as possible to avoid other fruit going bad. 

10. And finally, it's best to use the larger apples from your harvest first, as these won't store as well as the smaller ones!

Now you've got your very own glut of apples, it's time to decide what to do with them all! I put mine to good use in a very special batch of porridge recently, but you can find all sorts of hearty and Autumnal apple recipes all over the internet.

If you're still stuck for ideas- be sure to look out for another special, apple-inspired recipe coming to this blog later in the week!    

Or if you're feeling super inspired, why not share your favourite apple recipes in the comments below? I'd love to hear some new ideas!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

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