Everyone that has at least one apple tree knows that when the air becomes cooler, apples will soon follow. All of these crisp and delicious fruits will not ripen at the same time. It is necessary to carefully watch the tree for any dropped fruit. If the apples begin falling to the ground, it’s time to take a closer look.
Because apples come in a variety of colors, it is important to know which variety you have and what it should look like when it is ripe. Pick one of the apples that appear to be ripe. Cut into it and inspect the flesh and seeds. If the seeds are dark and the flesh looks like it should, take a bite. It should taste crisp and juicy and delicious. If it does, finish the apple and start picking the others that look ripe.
It is important to repeat the process weekly. The remaining apples will continue to ripen in their own time. It is important to be vigilant about picking the ripe fruit because any dropped apples left to rot will draw insects that can damage the tree. Be sure to clean up any apples around the tree to prevent such problems.
How To Preserve Apples
Apples can be safely frozen for future use quite easily. First, mix 5 1/2 cups of sugar into 8 cups of water. Stir well, cover and refrigerator until cold. Once the syrup mixture if fully chilled, you can start cutting the apples into slices. Each apple should be cut into a dozen slices.
Place the apples into a zippered freezer bag. Add a half cup of the syrup mixture for each pint of fruit. Pop the bag into the freezer for fresh, uncooked apples throughout the winter.
If you are planning to use the apples for pie in the future, peel and slice the apples. Mix six tablespoons of water with one teaspoon of ascorbic acid. Sprinkle this mixture over about 2 1/2 pounds of prepared fruit. Now, cover the apples with one cup of sugar and place them into a freezer bag, seal it and put it into the freezer. You will have sweet apples for your pies for months to come.
Canning is another method many people use to preserve their apple harvest. Fill a large pot with a combination of water and ascorbic acid. Follow the instructions for the ratio that is listed on the bottle carefully. Peel and slice the apples and place them into the pot. Place your canning jars into boiling water and let them boil for ten minutes. Put the apples into the jars and fill about one inch from the top. Dry the jars and seal them. Your canned apples should be kept in a basement or some other cool spot for storage.
How To Store Apples
Apples can be stored for up to six months if done properly. When you are at your grocery store, ask the produce manager for some wax coated fruit boxes. He will be glad to get rid of them and they will prove very beneficial for your apples.
Line the boxes with a thick layer of newspaper. Cover the paper with about an inch of straw. Place the unwashed apples in a single layer in the box. Cover them with more straw and layer more on top. Continue this process until all of your apples are boxed and covered with straw.
It isn’t that difficult to keep your fruit fresh for later consumption. The ways to do so are many so storing your freshly harvested apples is easy as pie!
Want to learn more about storing apples?
For more information, visit:
University of Nebraska’s Harvesting and Storing Apples
University of Illinois Extension: Picking and Storing Apples