Tag Archive | fall harvest

Harvesting and Storing Apples

by Lisa Johnson, Horticulture educator for Dane County UW-Extension

apples-1164954_960_720Depending on the variety, apples ripen between early August and late October in Wisconsin. Harvest them when mature, but not ripe. Some clues to help gauge maturity are:

  • When seeds in the core turn from cream to tan to dark brown (sacrifice an apple to check).
  • Fruit is firm, but not hard, with a good taste and aroma. Immature fruits taste starchy and have little aroma.
  • Also, look for color changes. Apples color up first on the side facing the sun. Red varieties change from green to red as they mature, yellow apples go from pale green to yellow, and green apples change from bright green to light green.

Harvest apples carefully to avoid breaking off the fruit spurs they are borne on. Hold the apple in your palm (not fingertips to avoid bruising the fruit) and twist slightly while you pull. Don’t drop the fruit as you harvest, as it may bruise. Bruised fruit stores poorly and shortens the storage life of un-bruised fruit.

Ripening season is a good predictor for storage. Summer apples ripening prior to Labor Day are not good keepers because they only store a few days to two weeks. Use them quickly!

Fall ripening apples keep from one to five months, if harvested before they reach the peak of maturity. Cool them immediately after harvest for best results. If storing them short term, refrigerate at temperatures below 40 degrees, but above freezing. To store for longer periods, keep apples at 33 to 34 degrees and high humidity so they don’t dry out. Plastic bags with holes in them work well for this purpose. Check apples occasionally to make sure none are shriveling or starting to rot.

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Mache

We’re honored that our blog is regularly followed, and often reposted, by the Strafford County Master Gardeners in Strafford County, New Hampshire. This is a post that appeared on their blog in early January of this year. An interesting idea for our members who also live in a similar weather zone: planting Mache along with our other fall plantings.

https://scmga.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/mache/

The vegetable is clearly growing in popularity as a quick Google search produced over 15 million results, the most recent being on January 24th of this year: Mache — the Sturdiest of Greens for the Winter Garden. Quickly reading some of the Google articles proved to be an interesting study in the different gardening habits around our county and, indeed, the world. Because mache likes cool weather, for those of us who live in cold weather country, it can be planted in the fall to sprout right away in the spring. However (and this is the best part about how gardeners share their experiences), the blog post shared above is from a master gardener who planted in the late summer and was able to harvest it into December.

Hoping someone tries (or has already tried) this and will share their results!