A Guide To Apple Picking

No matter where you live, the fall season can be truly magical. The weather is finally cooling off and the scenery is breathtaking. In addition, summer produce is on its way out, and fall produce is ripening. Apples are on the top of the list of seasonal fruits, and apple picking is one of the many amazing things to do during autumn. Not only is it a fun activity for the whole family, but it’s also a great way to get the freshest apples on the market.

If you’re taking online cooking courses, you know that incorporating fresh produce into your recipes is a necessity. Between apple pies and Waldorf salads, there are plenty of ways to use apples in your cooking, and the more apples you have at your disposal, the more creative you can get. However, choosing the freshest apples is no easy feat. Most orchards give you the option of scanning the trees to pick your own, or pre-picked bags. Opt for choosing your own: This way, you can guarantee that they’re the best, and you can mix and match different types. Here is what you need to know about apple picking to ensure your pick is the apple of any chef’s eye:

Apple appearance
When choosing your own apples, color is an indication of ripeness. Apple shades can vary depending on type; some are red, yellow, green or a combination of all three. Apples are at their ripest when their color has a unified consistency. Although they can have flecks of other colors, the apple should predominately be only one when it is most mature. However, it can be difficult to choose an apple solely based on color if you’re not a professional. Ask one of the orchard workers, and he or she should be able to point you in the right direction.

More than just color, the apple’s condition is also important. Be sure to choose apples that are firm with no visible bruises or nicks. Rotate them completely to view them from every angle. Don’t pick any off of the ground. Apples stop maturing once they’re picked so these are underripe.

Picking process
The easiest way to know if an apple is ripe is when you actually pick it off the tree. The ones furthest down the branch are generally the ones that ripen first. You shouldn’t have to strain to pull or twist. A ripened apple should come off the tree with ease. The best way to go about this is to rotate the fruit upward and twist gently. Never tug on the stem or shake the branches.

Safe storing
If you’re storing the apples on the counter or in a fruit bowl, room temperature works perfectly. Be sure that they’re out of the sun. Direct sunlight for long periods of time will cause apples to rot. If you’re choosing to store them in the refrigerator, then toss them in the vegetable drawer. They should be fresh for two to three weeks.

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