Apple picking time is a favorite time of year for many families, and if they don’t have their own trees, there are many orchards across the country that provide opportunities. For the most part, this occurs from August through October, however, there are areas where the apple season differs. This is not a difficult task, but there are a few tips that make the day more productive and more enjoyable. Pick a relatively warm and sunny day, preferably with little or no wind, assemble the family, and enjoy a day outside in the brisk autumn air.
The first thing to learn is which apples are ready for picking. Normally, someone at the orchard will be happy to explain how the various varieties of apples look when they are ripe. Apples that are not ready are often hard and sour, so this is an important point to learn. Apples may be green, yellow, or bright red when they are fully developed and ready to be picked.
Selecting an apple simply takes a little inspection. Look for bruised or brown spots, holes, or any sign of disease on the apple. Normally, orchard grown apples are fairly free from disease or insect infestation. Check the color, and size. Some apples may be underdeveloped or misshapen, however, this seldom influences the flavor or usability. Apples that have already fallen on the ground may very well be good, but if they have been there for a few days, they may already be showing signs of rot.
Grasp the apple firmly, and hold the branch with the other hand, before twisting gently to dislodge it from the tree. Most growers prefer that the pickers do not damage their trees in the process. Yanking on the apple can bring down more than the apple. It may break the branch, knock off leaves, or bring down a shower of apples. Handle all apples with care when putting them in the basket or bag. They will bruise, and should never be tossed around.
Don’t overload a basket or bag while picking. Apples are heavy, and it is easy to underestimate how many have been collected and how difficult it may be to get them back to the car. Naturally, most people have some idea what they are planning to do with their apples, but if there are any that need to be used later on, apples will keep well in a cool, dark, dry storage area. Not only will the family enjoy their day at the orchard, they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors for weeks to come.