When the summer months start winding down and the air gets a little crisper and fresher, one wonderful fall activity stands out above all the rest: apple picking. There's nothing quite like heading out to a nearby orchard with friends or family, or even simply on your own, and roaming around the apple trees, filling up a basket with one of nature's most delicious treats and imagining all of the lovely ways you might be able to cook and enjoy those fresh, ripe apples when you get home.
As the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! That might not be 100% true, but apples are packed full of vitamins and helpful nutrients, so it's no surprise they're one of the world's favorite fruits. They're also highly versatile, apple to be cooked, presented, and enjoyed in all sorts of different ways.
When Is The Best Time To Pick Apples?
The actual dates for apple picking season can vary quite broadly depending on where exactly you live. Factors like the local climate can have a big influence on the perfect harvesting time for apples, so it’s important to do the necessary research and be aware of the right times for your region in order to ensure you’ll be picking only the tastiest and ripest apples every time. The best times are usually around September, October, and November.
Different types of apples will have their own ripening times and these can change depending on the weather conditions in any given year. Warm springs and hot summers will help apples to ripen sooner, for example. It's a good idea to get in touch with local farms and orchards and see what times they recommend, as the farmers will know always know their own fruit better than anyone else. Picking too early will leave you with sour, inedible apples, so timing is important.
What to Do With Your Apples
Apple picking season is a really fun time of year and apple picking is a wonderful activity for people of all ages, but once you’ve got all of those apples picked, what’s the next step? Well, there are countless possibilities of recipes and ways to enjoy your apples, from old time American classics like apple pie and candy apples to more modern desserts or treats from around the world.
Here are some simple recipe ideas to enjoy with your apples:
- Apple pie
- Apple tart
- Apple crumble
- Tarte Tatin
- Apple sauce
- Candy apples
- Caramelized apples
- Apple smoothies
- And of course, simply enjoying an apple by itself is a great way to eat this super fruit!
Tips and Tricks for Apple Picking Season
If you want to really make the most of apple picking season and have the best time, there are a few important pieces of advice to bear in mind. Let’s look at some vital tips and tricks you won’t want to forget when apple picking season comes along.
1. Dress Right
It’s vital to remember that the grass tends to grow quite long in orchards and the ground underfoot can sometimes be a little wet and muddy at that time of year, so warm boots are a must. All sorts of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and spiders, can be found hanging around orchards too, so it's smart to cover up as much as possible too.
2. Don't Forget Your Bags
Most orchards will provide buckets and boxes to help you gather your apples, but when it comes time to load up your car, putting all those apples in a weak paper bags or boxes that can easily overflow isn't the smartest solution. Before you set out, be sure to pack a few good quality tote bags to store all those apples.
3. Do Your Research
While New York and New England are known as the best apple picking places in the United States, apples do grow pretty much everywhere, so you shouldn't need to travel too far to make the most of apple picking season. Check out the internet and other sources to learn more about local apple picking spots in your area and read reviews to find the best locations.
4. Store Your Apples Well
Apples should be stored in a reasonably humid place and conserved at around 30-32 degrees F if you want them to last a long time. Keeping them in boxes covered up with plastic will help them last even longer. Many people keep apples in garages or cellars. Freezing apples is possible too, but remember to peel, slice, and core them before freezing for best results.