Picking season is here. Apple picking is always high on my autumn priorities list. Every year since I was itty bitty my mum and I would set off on an apple picking adventure, and this year was no different. A couple weekends ago, my mum and I ventured on our yearly road trip out to the country. It was the quintessential autumn day. There was a cool crisp in the air, the sun was shining, and the field had just the right about of dew that the night left behind.
Since I go apple picking every year, there are some things I have learned along the way. To help you have the best apple picking season I am sharing nine insider tips for apple picking. If you have any tips you\’d like to add, please leave a comment and let me know!
9 Insider Tips for Apple Picking
1. Find an Orchard
The first step is to find a pick-your-own orchard nearby. The apple varieties available for picking, as well as the peak time for apple picking season, will depend on where you live. For the most part, September and early October are prime pickings.
The easiest way to find an apple orchard near you is Google \”apple orchard in [your city, state].\” You can also visit pickyourown.org and orangepippin.com has a similar database but will also flag organic orchards.
Pro Tip: Different orchards will offer different varieties of apples.
2. Go early
Getting to an apple orchard right when it opens will mean fewer people. Going to an orchard earlier in the picking season—September instead of October—will also give you a better chance of getting perfectly ripened apples.
3. Pick from the outside in
Apples on the outer branches ripen first, therefore you want to work your way inward as the season progresses.
Pro Tip: Once you pick an apple it stops the ripening process. For the best taste make sure the apple is ready to be picked.
4. You can shake your booty, but please don\’t shake the tree
To properly pick an apple, roll the apple upward off the branch and give a little twist. You will know the apple is ripe if the stem is easily removed from the branch. Do not pull the apple straight away from the tree, and never, ever shake the tree. Even the slightest shake can cause a heap of apples to fall to the ground, creating bruises and unnecessary food waste.
5. Each apple variety has its own mini-season
The general pattern for apples ready for picking are as follows: McIntosh and Honeycrisp tend to ripen during September, while Golden Delicious and Red Delicious are usually ready to pick by the end of the month. In October you will find Fuji and Granny Smith.
Pro Tip: Different states offer different varieties of apples, this is just a general idea of what will be ready.
6. Avoid bruising your apples
Most orchards provide a plastic bag, be sure to gently place your apples in the bag. Bruised apples rot faster and will cause the other apples to rot as well.
7. How to store your apples
Apples keep best in a cool dark place. I typically store mine in an apple basket in the shed as well as in the refrigerator.
Pro Tip: Remove the stems from the apples to ensure the apples do not bruise each other.
8. Different apples are best for different recipes
Apples Best for Pies & Baking: Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Courtland
Apples Best for Eating: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, and Mutsu
Apples Best for Apple Sauce: Jonagold, McIntosh, and Golden Delicious
9. What to do with your pickings
Aside from eating the apples, you can also make applesauce, apple butter, apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, and more.