Apple season is upon us along with all the delicious juices, sauces, spreads, breads, and desserts to be made from this fall fruit. Learn about growing, harvesting and how to store apples to keep them all winter long with our quick guide.
Always consider what types of apples you would like to grow before planting an orchard, or even just a few apple trees. These trees will be in their spot for several decades (hopefully) and will provide a delicious bounty once established. Do your research and find the varieties that suit your needs best, whether it be for fresh eating, pies, sauce or cider. Also consider which varieties are best suited to your local climate, as some varieties do very well with cold winters, while others prefer mild weather.
You can also choose to graft different apple varieties on to one tree, a great option if you happen to have space for only one or a few trees. If you do have room for several trees, ensure that you plant varieties that can pollinate each other. Each apple variety has a specific pollination group indicated by a number or a letter, and cross pollination will only occur with varieties that are in the same or an adjacent group.
Harvesting apple trees is a wonderful activity that is most enjoyable when done in a group. With larger trees it’s easiest to have a few people up in the trees or on ladders picking the fruit, whilst others are on the ground catching the fruit. Make sure to toss the fruit down gently, as any bruising will cause the storage-life of the apple to decrease. Any bruised or damaged fruit should be used as soon as possible after harvesting.
How to Store Apples
Certain apple varieties store better than others, so make sure you know which ones to stow away and which ones to use first. Typically, varieties that ripen earlier in the season will keep for a shorter period of time, although this is not always the case.
If stored properly, apples can last all the way into early spring. It’s best to have a cool and dark place to keep them that stays at a fairly even temperature throughout night and day. Keep your apples in fruit boxes (which you can often find for free by inquiring at your local grocery store or produce market) with no more than 2 layers of fruit on top of each other. Stack your boxes so that air can circulate in between them. Make sure to go through your fruit at least every week to weed out any rotten apples, as they will make all of the fruit around them go off fairly quickly. And of course remember to enjoy them in every which way that you can!
Related on Organic Authority