This is your regular update on tips, ideas facts and all around useful info for the apple enthusiast. This is the harvest season so let’s talk about when to pick your apples. Taste testing works great for small scale. I also have a friend who just watches for when his fruit starts to drop and then he starts picking. While it works for him the result is that the fruit is generally too ripe and will not keep or store for any length of time. The apples must be used right away. If your plan is to make apple sauce or apple cider that works but to store apples for the winter and into the next year you must pick earlier.
If your apple trees have bore fruit in the past this will give you a good guide when to harvest but of course you need to have been keeping records. If you have not been, start now. Just write down the date when you pick each variety you may have.
Days after full bloom (DAFB) is another guide. You must know when your apple trees were in full bloom (more records to keep if you are not already making notes). The idea is that an apple will be mature and ready to pick after so many accumulated heat units. The date might be sooner or later by 10 days.
Gravenstein – 110-115 (Days after full bloom)
Gala – 110-120
Golden Delicious – 135-150
Red Delicious – 135-155
Granny Smith – 165-180
Fuji – 170-185
There are other more involved methods such as seed sampling, pressure testing, percent soluble solids, iodine test etc. but the above tips will give you a good head start. And remember, the best test for the back yard apple grower is the taste test!