How to properly harvest and store apples

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A rich apple harvest will delight any gardener. But at the same time with joy the question arises: how can all this wealth be kept fresh until spring? What varieties are best stored, how to determine their degree of ripeness, what are the ways of stacking apples – read about all this in our article.

How to properly harvest and store apples

Every gardener knows that growing a crop is only half the battle, you still need to be able to save it. Experienced gardeners have mastered the wisdom of “apple longevity” for a long time, they have empirically developed the most effective ways of storing apples, allowing them to preserve their benefits, aroma and freshness.

Choosing the right varieties, harvesting according to all the rules, correct sorting, laying, optimal temperature and humidity are the main components of long storage.

Choosing the right varieties

Whether apples will be stored for a long time without deteriorating taste depends on their variety. Varieties have such a concept as keeping quality, that is, the ability to maintain nutritional and nutritional properties for a certain, sufficiently long time..

It is the late (winter) varieties of apples that are harvested starting from mid-October with excellent keeping quality. Today the following winter varieties are the most famous and popular:

  1. Aurora– a variety that is resistant to low temperatures and fungal diseases. Fruits are large, round in shape with a blurred wide blush, distinguished by a pronounced aroma and juiciness. Harvesting begins in early October. This variety keeps well until spring, even in the refrigerator..
  2. Jonathan– one of the most famous winter varieties. Fruits are small, have a pleasant aroma and a wine-sweet aftertaste, subject to optimal storage conditions, they do not lose nutritional quality until mid-May.
  3. Golden Delicious– American variety, medium-sized fruit, golden in color, juicy, appreciated for its excellent taste and aroma. Apples of this variety ripen by the end of September, are well stored until mid-April.
  4. Calvil snow– Ukrainian variety of folk selection. Fruits are medium-sized, greenish-white. Stores perfectly in the basement without losing taste and aroma until mid-April.
  5. Renet Simirenko– the most common late variety of Russian selection. The fruits are large, rounded, have a pronounced aroma and sweet and sour taste. Apples of this variety, under favorable conditions, can be stored until summer..
  6. King DavidIs an American late variety with high yields. Medium-sized fruits have a flat-round shape, with a dark red blush covering almost all of their surface. This apple variety has a spicy aroma, juiciness and excellent taste..

How to properly harvest and store apples

It is very difficult to describe all the variety of varieties within the framework of one article. You can find out more information by consulting with specialists involved in apple cultivation in your region..

How to harvest correctly

You should carefully prepare for picking apples: choose a tool, clean containers and storage, plan the order of work. In this case, it is very important to determine whether the apples are ripe – unripe and overripe will not lie.

Determining maturity

Determine that it is time to remove apples from the branch can be visually, by the fall. If tasty large apples with characteristic varietal characteristics have already appeared among the fallen fruits, then the rest are ready for picking..

How to properly harvest and store apples

You can also determine the ideal maturity by the following criteria:

  • press on the apple, if the dent has disappeared – the crop is not yet ripe;
  • if the peel bursts when pressed, the apples are considered overripe, they are not suitable for storage;
  • perfect full maturity is indicated by non-leveling, sagging skin.

Maturity can be determined “scientifically”, in a special chemical way. To do this, dissolve 4 grams of potassium iodide and 1 gram of iodine in a liter of distilled water. The apple is cut in half and dipped in the solution. Maturity in this case is defined as follows:

  • if after two minutes the edges and the middle of the apple turned blue, it means that there is a lot of starch in it, which indicates immaturity;
  • if there is blue at the edges, and yellow in the middle, maturity is ideal;
  • the presence of only yellow – the apple is overripe.

Experienced gardeners believe that it is better to let the apples be immature than overripe and start to rot..

We pick apples from trees correctly

Choose a warm, clear, dry day to harvest winter apples. It is better to do this in the afternoon, when the air is warm enough and the fruits are perfectly dry..

The fruit is picked very carefully so as not to damage it. The apple is taken with all fingers, with the index finger pressing on the stalk where it is attached to the fruit branch, and the fruit is slightly raised up. Do not twist, break off or pull the apple down. In fruits intended for long-term storage, in no case need to tear off the stalk, this significantly reduces the keeping quality of the crop.

How to properly harvest and store apples

When harvesting winter apples, do not wipe off the matte film, the so-called natural wax coating. Plucked apples cannot be thrown, they must be carefully placed in a container prepared in advance.

Sorting apples

Immediately after harvest, it should be kept in a cool room for 15–20 days, after which sorting should be carried out – during this time all signs of possible defects will appear. After that, it is necessary to sort out the apples, selecting fruits with stalks for storage without wormholes and mechanical damage.

It is recommended to store apples of different varieties in different containers, you should also sort them by size – small, medium and large. After that, we store the crop using one or more of the following methods..

Putting apples in storage

For apples, it is better to allocate a separate pantry or cellar. The fact is that these fruits, during storage, emit a lot of ethylene – a gas that contributes to the early ripening of other vegetables. The increased content of ethylene in the cellar leads to the fact that root crops (potatoes, carrots, beets, celery) sprout strongly and spoil faster. Therefore, it is strongly discouraged to store apples together with these vegetables..

How to properly harvest and store apples

Before laying apples, the room should be well cleaned and disinfected. The walls are whitewashed with a solution of freshly slaked lime and copper sulfate in the proportion: 10 liters of water, 150 g of vitriol, 1.5 kg of lime. The floors are sprayed with a solution of ferrous sulfate (450-500 g) per 10 liters of water.

Late apples, depending on the variety and temperature and humidity indicators, can retain their nutritional value for 4–7 months. Ideal storage conditions in this case are considered: air temperature from 0 to + 3 … 4 degrees, relative humidity at 85-90%. If the humidity is lower, apples wither quickly..

Any container is suitable for winter storage, the main requirements for which are purity and strength. These can be wicker baskets, wooden, cardboard or plastic boxes, which should be thoroughly cleaned before use..

There are various ways to store apples in winter..

Simple styling

Apples are laid with the stalks upward in one, two or three layers, without shifting anything. Thus, you can lay a lot of apples, but this method is considered the most “short-lived”, the bookmarks should be checked regularly to prevent the spread of possible foci of decay.

Paper wrapping

Each apple taken separately is wrapped in paper napkins or plain white paper and placed in a prepared container with the stalks up. If all the fruits are healthy, then apples can be stored for a long time in this way..

How to properly harvest and store apples

Interleaving (pouring)

The most optimal way of winter storage. The best material in this case will be well washed and dried sand with the addition of ash in a ratio of 1:10. Sand with ash is poured onto the bottom of the prepared container with a layer of 3-4 centimeters, then the apples are laid out so that they do not touch each other. They fall asleep with sand again. This way you can lay 3-4 layers.

Instead of sand with ash, you can use other materials: sawdust, leaves or shavings of trees (not conifers), onion husks, sunflower husks, peat or moss.

Storage in the ground

If there is no cellar on the garden plot, you can save the apple harvest in the ground. To do this, dig a trench 50-60 cm deep, 30-40 cm wide in advance. The bottom of the trench is covered with coniferous spruce branches or juniper branches – this will protect the bookmark from rodents. Apples are packed in plastic bags of 4–5 kg each and placed on the bottom, then covered with earth. To protect against severe frosts, dry foliage can be poured on top.

How to properly harvest and store apples

Carbon dioxide or ultraviolet treatment

The apple harvest is wonderfully stored in the cellar in plastic bags, into which carbon dioxide is pumped through a small hole using a siphon for carbonating water. The hole is then quickly sealed.

Some summer residents treat apples laid in one layer with a bactericidal ultraviolet lamp for 30-40 minutes. The lamp is suspended at a distance of 1.5 meters, the apples are turned over once for even processing. This method allows you to destroy most of the harmful fungi and bacteria that cause the development of rot.

By putting the apple harvest in storage, you can enjoy the fragrant healthy fruit all winter and be sure that your body does not suffer from the chemicals that are often present in the fruits sold in winter in supermarkets..

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