It’s that time of the year when you walk through orchards with good ambience, spend time with animals and pick some apples on your way.
Apple picking ranks among Canadian traditions that usually occur in autumn. The process is quite affordable, picturesque and fun for families.
Are you picking apples soon? Guess you need some tips. Here, we’ll be discussing all things apple- from the varieties that exist to how they’re grown, stored and harvested. Let’s get started!
Types of Apple
In Canada, apples are available throughout the year. About 100 species of apples are grown in the country, and they are of varied colours, sizes and textures. Based on the variety, climatic condition and shelf-life, apples are in abundance all year round.
These edible fruits are mostly grown in Ontario and British Columbia. After harvesting, these fruits are transported to commercial apple industries in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Let’s consider some of these apple varieties.
- Royal Gala: It’s usually small-sized or medium-sized with yellow-orange or red skin. Royal Gala is thin-layered, fleshy and edible. It’s in abundance in British Columbia, from September to May. In Ontario and New Brunswick, it’s in season from September to February.
- Red Delicious: This is one of the large-sized species. Red Delicious is deep red and long with five bumps under it. This apple type is robust and has a sweet taste, thus its use in salads and juice. It exists in large quantities in British Columbia and Ontario. They are available from October to July.
- Honeycrisp: Another large-sized apple with firm skin and palatable taste, Honeycrisp can be eaten fresh. Due to their high sugar level, they don’t last long. The picking season in British Columbia ranges from October to December.
Other varieties include Cortland, Northern Spy, Empire, Pink lady, among others.
How apples are grown
Apples thrive in warm climates thus they’re in abundance in Canada. They mature within two years but reach their fruit-bearing stage in their fifth or sixth year. Planting trees along trellis systems enable trees to grow in a specific path. This helps easy picking of fruits while providing support to trees. A trellis-supported tree will bear more fruits within the first five years compared to a tree without support.
Apples are often harvested during the fall. Trees are pruned frequently so that they can grow in the sun’s direction. During the spring, when the plant blossoms, growers prune it to stimulate the growth of more fruits. Bees also pollinate flowers to encourage the production of apples.
The growers take care of the orchards, ensure they’re well watered and closely observed to prevent pest attack. Also called thinning, pruning helps to get rid of unwanted apples while giving room for quality ones. You won’t have to spend much time on pest control since only the best apples would be left on the trees.
How to pick an apple
Do you want to pick the best apples? Here are few tips you’ll find helpful.
- Select firm apples without bruises. These apples can be dark red, yellow, bright red or a blend of colours.
- Pick ripe apples which are firm and fresh.
- To pick apples, turn them upwards and twist gently to detach them from the tree.
- Don’t remove the fruits from their stems. This reduces their shelf-life.
- Hold the apple in your palm. Fondling can lead to bruises on the apple.
- Ensure apple is smooth and bruise-free.
- Apples connected will drop almost at the same time.
- Avoid shaking tree branches as it can cause the apples to fall, making them bruised.
- Arrange apples in a bag carefully, so they don’t get bad.
Note: Apples get ripened from the exterior part of the tree to the center. They stop ripening once they’re picked.
Harvesting and Storage
Based on the varieties, apples are usually harvested between August and November. The immature ones are processed into starchy tart flavour and shipped for sale. Sweet apples should be consumed within days of harvesting.
As apples get ripe at various speeds, you may need to harvest thrice or four times yearly. They are stored at cool temperatures, mainly in a refrigerator or controlled room. This helps to preserve the fruits for six to eight months without altering the apples’ taste and quality. They’re made available to Canadians all year round.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you wash apples after picking them?
Rinse freshly plucked apples with cool water. For thorough cleaning, use water mixed with baking soda to wash apples.
How long does apple picking last?
Apple picking season begins in August all through November. September and early October are peak times to pick apples.
Guess you’re well acquainted with the types, time, picking tips, harvesting and storage of apples now. Are you going to pick apples? Don’t forget to capture all the lovely moments while apple picking.