7 Steps To Prepare For Apple Harvesting Season

Posted on October 3, 2023

As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, it's a clear sign that apple harvesting season is upon us. Whether you have your own apple trees or plan to visit a local orchard, the joy of harvesting your own apples is a delightful experience. However, to ensure a successful and enjoyable apple-picking adventure, it's essential to be well-prepared.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through the 7 crucial steps to prepare for the apple harvesting season, from knowing your apple trees to making the most of your harvest.

Know Your Apple Trees

The first step in preparing for apple harvesting season is understanding the apple trees you'll be working with. Different apple varieties have varying ripening times, so it's crucial to know when your apples are ready to be picked. Keep these factors in mind:

  • Variety: Research the specific apple variety you have. Some apples are early bloomers, while others ripen later in the season.
  • Ripeness Signs: Learn to identify the signs of ripeness for your apple variety, such as color changes and aroma. Each variety may exhibit different ripeness indicators.
  • Harvest Window: Understand the ideal time for harvesting your apples. Picking them at the peak of ripeness ensures the best flavor and quality.

Find a Local Orchard

If you don't have apple trees of your own, finding a local orchard is the next step. Visiting an orchard is a fantastic way to enjoy a day outdoors with family and friends. Here's what to consider when choosing an orchard:

  • Location: Look for orchards in your area or plan a day trip to a nearby apple-growing region.
  • Variety Availability: Check which apple varieties the orchard offers and whether they align with your preferences.
  • Orchard Policies: Familiarize yourself with the orchard's policies, such as hours of operation, admission fees, and any picking guidelines.

Pick Based on Ripeness

When it comes to picking apples, it's vital to select fruit that is ripe and ready. Ripe apples are sweeter, more flavorful, and ideal for eating fresh or using in recipes. Follow these tips for picking ripe apples:

  • Inspect the Color: Look for apples with vibrant, rich colors. However, note that the color may vary by variety.
  • Check Firmness: Gently press the apple near the top. Ripe apples should yield slightly to pressure without being too soft.
  • Smell for Fragrance: Ripe apples often have a pleasant aroma. Give them a gentle sniff to detect their fragrance.

Rely on Flavor, Not Color

While apple color can be an indicator of ripeness, it's not always the most reliable factor. Some apple varieties maintain a green or yellowish hue even when fully ripe. Therefore, it's essential to rely on flavor as the ultimate guide. Take a bite of an apple to assess its taste. If it's sweet, juicy, and delicious, it's ready to be harvested.

Use a Gentle Tug

Proper harvesting technique ensures you don't damage the apple tree or the fruit. Instead of yanking apples off the tree, use a gentle tug. Hold the apple in your hand, tilt it slightly upwards, and give it a soft twist. The apple should come off the tree with minimal effort. Be careful not to pull too hard, as this can damage the tree and future fruit production.

Keep Harvested Apples Cool

After picking apples, it's crucial to keep them cool to maintain their freshness and flavor. Here's what to do:

  • Use Baskets or Bags: Use baskets or breathable bags to collect your apples. These containers allow air circulation and prevent apples from becoming sweaty or bruised.
  • Shade and Ventilation: Store your harvested apples in a cool, shaded area with good ventilation. Avoid direct sunlight and overly warm conditions.
  • Refrigeration: If you have a large harvest, consider refrigerating your apples. Apples stored at temperatures around 32-40°F (0-4°C) stay fresh longer.

Go Back for More

Apple trees often have multiple waves of ripening, so don't assume that one visit to the orchard or your own tree will suffice. Plan multiple trips or harvest sessions to ensure you pick all your apples at their peak ripeness. Frequent visits also prevent fruit from over-ripening or falling to the ground.


Preparing for apple harvesting season is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. By knowing your apple trees, choosing a local orchard, and understanding when to pick based on ripeness, you'll ensure a successful apple-picking experience. Remember that color isn't always the best indicator, so rely on flavor to determine when an apple is ready.

When harvesting, use a gentle tug to remove apples without damaging the tree. Keep your harvested apples cool and shaded to maintain their freshness. Lastly, don't forget to make multiple trips to pick all your apples at their peak ripeness.

With these 7 essential steps, you'll be well-prepared to enjoy the delightful tradition of apple harvesting and savor the bountiful, flavorful fruits of your labor. Whether you're an experienced apple picker or a first-time orchard visitor, these guidelines will help you make the most of this wonderful autumn activity.

admin | October 3, 2023

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