Ashby Apples Banner
BlackWolf Websites

With the arrival of autumn, the issue of the harvest period comes to the fore. Not always a gardener, especially an inexperienced beginner, can accurately determine when the apples are ripe. It is assumed that the fruits of the autumn harvest are stored, but not all will fit: the over-ripe ones will not lie, the under-ripe ones did not have time to accumulate enough sugars.

With the arrival of autumn, the issue of the harvest period comes to the fore

I have several varieties of apple trees with different ripening periods. With summer, everything is quite simple, since usually these apples are eaten right away, and what is not mastered goes into processing. But with the autumn harvest, you need to be a little more courteous: remove the apples in time so that the taste is excellent and preserved as long as possible.

When is it time to remove the apples
I can tell by eye and by carrion. If beautiful large ones have already appeared among the fallen apples, then they are ready for harvesting.

If beautiful large ones have already appeared among the fallen apples, they are ready for harvesting

You can additionally check for other signs:
You need to put pressure on the apple. The dent has disappeared — the apple is not ready for harvesting.
When pressed, the skin burst — the crop is overripe. Make jam before it's too late!
The sagging, non-leveling skin indicates the full maturity of the apple. Feel free to start harvesting.
External signs and taste qualities: the size of the fruit is average, without wormholes, bright skin color: red, yellow-scarlet, yellow-green. The fruits should be juicy, with a sweet and sour taste. The exception is varieties of sweet taste. The seeds of a ripe apple are brown.
Flesh: white or creamy, soft.
The scientific method for determining the maturity of fruits is chemical:
take 1 liter of distilled water and dissolve 4 g of potassium iodide, 1 g of iodine in it,
cut the apple into 2 parts and lower it into the solution,
if after 2 minutes the apple turns blue at the edges and in the middle, this indicates a large amount of starch, which is a lot in an unripe apple,
the color: blue at the edges, and by the middle yellow indicates good maturity of apples,
the absence of blue and the presence of only yellow indicates that the apple is overripe.

There are also special kits for chemical determination of fruit maturity. The contents of the set are diluted with water and applied to an apple slice, after which the result is compared with the pictures in the table included in the kit.

From my own experience, I can say: it's better to let the apples be somewhat unripe than they will oversleep and begin to rot.

Take into account the maturation time of varieties
How well you determine the removable maturity of apples depends on how long they will be stored. According to the ripening period, apples are divided into three groups.

1. Summer varieties
They begin to collect them from the second half of August. There is already a sufficient amount of sugars in the fruits, but they only lie for about a month. Therefore, they are more often used for processing and consuming vitamin-containing fruit in fresh form.

2. Autumn varieties
They begin to collect from the end of August — beginning of September. The shelf life of such apples reaches 4 months. Usually we prepare 'Orlik': these delicious apples are stored for about 3 months, but the pulp eventually becomes loose.

3. Winter varieties
Well-known 'Antonovka' and 'Renet Simirenko'. Winter varieties are the most hardy. The collection should start from the end of September — mid-October. On time and correctly removed, they will lie until spring (February — March).

Winter apples that are ready to be harvested are not necessarily ready for use immediately after being removed from the tree. They should lie down, accumulate sugar, and only then become delicious. So, for example, 'Antonovka' with a yellowish skin color and bright flesh is ready to be plucked, but the one who tried the apple will grimace — sour! But in winter, the same "Antonovka", extracted from the basement — you'll lick your fingers! The longer such apples lie, the tastier they become.

How to pick apples correctly
First you need to choose a clear, warm and dry day. It is desirable to harvest in the afternoon. This is especially true for winter varieties harvested in late autumn — the air will have time to warm up, and the apples will be completely dry (the dew will have time to evaporate). Summer and autumn varieties can be removed after the rain, but let the fruits dry before harvesting.

I always start harvesting from the lower branches, gradually moving to the top. On the south side, apples ripen a little earlier, so we start with it, and the next day (or 2-3 days later) we harvest from the north side.

I pick the apples carefully, carefully put them in a bucket. Sick, damaged and wormy I mercilessly reject. And I try not to put the carrion in storage. Do not tear off the peduncle from fruits intended for long-term storage, this affects the shelf life. It is necessary to carefully handle the harvest already at the harvesting stage. Twisting, peeling and breaking off apples from branches will not bring anything good in the future.

Collection methods
Manual method
With all the development of technology in horticulture, the best way to harvest is still manual.

The best way to harvest is by hand

Apples need to be collected carefully, carefully putting them in boxes to avoid mechanical damage to the fruit.

Using various devices
Today, the market offers many devices for picking apples even from the topmost branches: a loop, a basket (or a bag) on a long handle.

You can choose a fruit picker on our market, where products from various online stores are collected.

Many gardeners stretch a net for picking fruit so that apples are not damaged when falling and do not come into contact with the soil. In early summer, the same mesh can serve as a good covering material.

How to store apples correctly
Special attention is paid to the storage of apples in our family. Even autumn varieties lie a little longer if you follow simple, but such useful rules. So, we prepare the place and the container.

It is best to store the apple harvest in wooden boxes. I treat them in advance with a solution of potassium permanganate, and then dry them well in the sun for a few days. Then I cover the bottom with newspapers or thick paper.

Important: Do not keep apples in the sun and outdoors. Immediately sort out the harvested crop and put it into storage.

Immediately sort out the harvested crop and put it into storage

The air in my basement is very humid, so I put containers with lime-fluff around the boxes with apples, which helps to absorb excess moisture. I am not a supporter of the idea of pouring lime directly on fruits (although many do just that), and you are free to choose any option. If the air, on the contrary, is too dry, put containers with sand near the apple boxes, water it regularly — as the sand dries, the air will be moistened. Remember that the storage quality is also affected by the temperature regime: the storage should be no higher than +2 .. +5 ° C. Freezing is also unacceptable.

There is an opinion that apples in boxes need to be laid out piece by piece. I think it makes sense for summer varieties. Winter ones can also be poured into boxes, carefully lowering the bucket (basket) to the level of already filled apples, then they will roll out amicably and evenly, without damage. It is not necessary to constrain apples in their "winter apartment" — do not settle and do not seal manually, in order to squeeze at least one or two more into the box.

Of course, during storage, some fruits may deteriorate. Remove such apples immediately to protect the rest from infection.

Apple processing devices
This year we have prepared for the harvest thoroughly. The juicer was purchased a couple of years ago, but I had no luck with the juicer. This year we found a fruit dryer and (finally!) juicer. With such high-tech assistants, my blanks are obtained only of excellent quality.