Harvesting, Storing, and Processing Apples


apples on a tree

Photo by Getty Images/querbeet

Apples are ready to pick when the skin color deepens and the fruit comes away easily from the tree. The presence of windfalls is a good indication that fruits are ready to pick. Not all apples are ready at the same time, so pick regularly as individual clusters become ripe. Apples at the sides and top of the tree will usually ripen first because they receive more sunlight. If in doubt — taste one!

To pick an apple, cup it in your hand, lift, and twist gently. It should detach along with its stalk. Always handle apples gently to avoid bruising them, and never tug an apple from the tree or you may damage the fruiting spurs or cause apples nearby to drop. Use a stepladder to reach apples higher up on the tree, but take care to avoid over-reaching in case you lose your balance.

Early season varieties are best eaten soon after harvesting as they don’t store well. Midseason varieties will store for a few weeks, and late season varieties should be good for up to six months. Apples destined for storage must be in perfect condition. Check stored apples regularly and remove any that are going soft, brown, or rotting.

Store your apples in a cool but frost-free, dark, well-ventilated place such as a shed or garage. Store apples on slatted trays to ensure good air circulation. Make sure they don’t touch, or else wrap them in newspaper. Different varieties store for different lengths of time — keep them separate and use those with a shorter storage life sooner.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters