Spring Garden Tips
Picking Apples & Pears

Whether you grew them yourself or visited a Pick-Your–Own farm, get the best flavor from your apples, pears and plums by harvesting them at the right time.

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Apples are ready to pick when the indentation by the stem turns from green to yellow. And, the fruit should easily twist off the branch without breaking the spur or stem. Simply hold the apple in the palm of your hand, twist, lift and pull. If it doesn’t pull off with minimal resistance, wait and keep checking the fruit and harvest when ready.

picking apples and pearsStart harvesting pears before they start falling from the trees. Pick them when the fruit turns from a dark green to a lighter or yellowish green. The lenticels, those are the small dot-like pores on the fruit, should turn from white to brown. Ripe fruit will easily separate from the stem when gently twisted. Use the same technique used for apples.

Taste testing is the best way to see if plums are ready to harvest. The fruit should be fully colored, sweet and juicy. You will get the best flavor when you harvest fully ripe plums.

A bit more information: Store fruits and vegetables separately for better flavor and longer storage life. Stored ripe apples emit a gas called ethylene that speeds maturation of nearby fruits and vegetables. Plus, potatoes will sprout sooner and carrots will develop a bitter flavor. Store your apples and pears in cold moist conditions for best results. Place the fruit in perforated plastic bags to maintain moisture in a 32 to 38° location.

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