apple pickingHappy November! Halloween may be over, and we may be heading into Thanksgiving/Christmas season, but there's still plenty of autumn fun to be had! Of course, one of the most fun fall family activities has got to be apple picking. There's nothing like taking your kids walking through lush orchards and gathering apples to use for all different sorts of snacks and treats, from fresh-baked pie to caramel apples.

Here, six tips and tricks on picking the most primo apples ...

  1. Obviously, you don't want to choose a bruised apple, but you can also make sure an apple is fresh by noting how firm it is. Color isn't really the best indicator of freshness either, being that they can be any color combo depending on their variety.
  2. But if you are looking for a "baking" apple to be used in a pie or crumble, try to find "older" apples that might be just past the ripe stage and slightly mushy.
  3. Many orchards have dwarf trees that are closer to the ground so that little ones can have an easier time picking their apples. If there aren't dwarf trees, you can always put your tot on your shoulders.
  4. Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples on the outside of the tree are likely to be the ripest. 
  5. There is a proper way to pick an apple. According to Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm: “Always look before you select the apple you want to pick. Find the perfect one and gently place the whole palm of your hand around it. With slight pressure, squeeze the apple and start to twist if from the tree. Sometimes, if you roll it upside down, the stem will gently release from the branch. It’s important to try to pick the apple without the leaves and making sure to leave the small fruit bud intact on the tree for next years crop. After selecting and picking off, place the apple ever so lightly into your picking bag to issue that you do not bruise the soft flesh of the apple.”
  6. Once you get your apples home, you can refrigerate for up to three days. If you plan to bake the apple, you can leave it out on the counter, but use within a couple of days.

Have you ever gone apple picking? What is your tip for choosing the best apples of the season?

 

Image via erin & camera/Flickr