There are so many reasons to fall in love with fall. After all, it’s hard to resist the newfound chill in the air, leaves turning a golden color, and the ushering in of sweater weather. And one of the signature outdoor activities of the season is undeniably apple picking. But if you’re planning a trip to your local orchard with your family, you’ll need to know how to pick like a pro, because the last thing you want are inedible apples.
Pick Apples From The Outside
Once you get to an apple orchard, it can feel like a free-for-all. Kids will run in all different directions, delighted by the sight of so many apples on the trees. But before you start grabbing any ol’ fruit, you’ll need to know where to find the best apples. And when it comes to the ripest, juiciest apples, you’ll find those on the outer branches of the tree. Try to pick those first before you dig deeper into the tree, where unripe apples might need some more time before being picked.
Make Sure The Apple Is Ripe
Eating an apple (or three) as you go apple picking is part of the whole experience. And you might realize that some apples are certainly sweeter than others. Thing is, once you pick an apple, it stops the ripening — sort of. Picked apples will not get any sweeter once you get them home, but they do continue to ripen. You’ll find that after a few days on your counter, your apples might not seem as firm as they were when you picked them fresh from the tree. That’s because apples emit ethylene gas, which continues the ripening process.
Roll Your Apple
When you find an apple that’s ripe for the picking, it’s time to start, you know, picking. It’s not enough, though, to just grab and yank your apple. There’s a certain technique you’ll need to use if you want your apple to come off the branch in the best way possible. Taking the fruit in your hand, roll the apple in an upward motion, and twist it inward towards the tree. If the apple is ripe, it’ll come off the branch easily. If you’re fighting to get it off, then it’s not ready yet.
Don’t Shake The Tree
Although a fall afternoon might feel warm, the weather can change quickly. If it starts to get cold and the kids are complaining, you might want to wrap up apple picking quickly. But to expedite your apple picking, you might be tempted to shake the tree, but you shouldn’t. Why? Well, shaking the branches can cause many apples to fall off the tree. And unless you’re willing to pick up the fallen apples, you can wind up wasting food. What’s worse is that apples that come tumbling down can cause bruising not only for the fruit — but potentially for you and your kids, too.
Store Your Apples Safely
Although apples can feel firm to the touch, it doesn’t take much at all for an apple to bruise. While a small darkish spot might not seem like a big deal, apples that are bruised can rot faster — and cause other apples to suffer the same foul fate. That’s why you’ll want to store your apples appropriately so that you can make them last longer. Apples that will be eaten within a week can be stored on a kitchen counter or table. But if you’re planning to make an apple pie in between school pickups and all the other daily demands on your life, you should store the apples in your fridge, preferably in their own compartment to avoid inadvertently ripening other fruit.
Apple picking is a truly fun way to spend a fall afternoon. By picking your apples (and storing them) properly, you’ll have plenty of apples to eat — until it’s time for pumpkin picking.