Apples are easy to separate from the tree when they’re ready. To test their readiness, hold an apple in your hand, lift it towards the stem, and twist. If it comes off easily, it’s ready. If it requires a good bit of yanking and tugging, it isn’t.
The harvest season for Red Delicious apples is normally late September to early October. However, the harvest period for apple varieties is strongly influenced by weather conditions during the growing season. (This year most apple varieties are maturing about 10 days earlier than normal because of our early spring.)
Experts also recommend keeping early and late apples separate and also apples separate from pears. A good late keeping variety, stored well in a dark cool place, can keep for six months or longer. When grown with early varieties this means you can be eating home-harvested apples for the majority of the year.
Unlike some fruits, apples continue to ripen long after they are picked off the tree. This ripening (or over- ripening affects the texture not the taste of the fruit. (ie. They won’t get sweeter just softer).
A. Some fruit trees will naturally thin themselves by dropping excess fruit prematurely. Often, a period of stress (a long, hot summer with very little rain) will cause a tree to abort its fruit in order to conserve energy. Apple trees require deep watering during drought.
If it comes away easily in your hand, it is ready.” Another way to test if your fruit has ripened at home is to gently nudge the area near the top of the stalk once it’s picked. If it’s soft then it’s ripe enough to eat.
Because of that, and the varied locations where they are grown, the national strawberry season is said to run January through November. In the Deep South, when to harvest strawberries will usually be late April and May. In the middle part of the country, at Eckert’s, May and June are typically best.
It turns out there are only a handful of fruits which get sweeter after being picked: apples, bananas, kiwifruit, mangoes, and pears. Apples, for example, ripen after being picked and increase in not just sweetness but also get softer over time.
That said, early maturing apples called “summer apples ” such as Honeycrisp, Paula Red, and Jonagold reach their peak in August and early September. Premature apple picking may lead to fruit that is sour, starchy, and generally unpalatable, while harvesting apples too late results in a soft and mushy fruit.
Place a few apples in a clear freezer bag (biodegradable options are available online) – or even better, paper bags – and store in the fridge for up to a week. To store apples over winter, wrap each one in a single sheet of newspaper and place them in single layers on a tray.
In favourable conditions fruit trees set more fruit than is ideal. Fruit thinning involves removing excess fruit to improve fruit size and quality. It is carried out on apples, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines.
As soon as the first apples seem to reach full size and colour, try one. If it parts company easily with the branch when you lift it gently in the palm of your hand, it’s ready to pick. Early varieties of dessert apples ripen between late July and early September and are best eaten virtually from the tree.
How long apples retain their freshness is significantly affected by the temperature, form, and location in which they are stored. The best way to keep apples fresh and ready to eat is to store them unwashed, in whole form, and individually wrapped in the refrigerator. This can keep them fresh for up to 6–8 weeks.
Apples, Pears: You can refrigerate these fruits, but you don’t need to. The cold air inside the refrigerator tends to break down their crisp texture. Leave them out on the counter. But if you prefer your fruit cold, go ahead and refrigerate.
Bananas are picked green and ripen at room temperature. Refrigerating them not only causes the skin to darken, it slows down or stops ripening. So, it is best to keep them out of the fridge until they are fully ripened. At that point refrigerating them will help keep them from becoming over ripe.