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How To Tell If Apples Are Ripe

Updated on November 23, 2013

Apples are the most popular fruit in the world.

There are dozens of variations of apples with the most popular types of apples being cortlandt, yellow delicious, red delicious, granny smith, empire, and gala.

Nothing screams "fall" more that going apple picking and bringing home a bag of your own apples picked right from the tree.

Whether you are planning on going apple picking or purchasing apples in the store, you can learn here how to determine whether an apple is ripe.

On The Tree

If you plan to go apple picking in an apple orchard and need tips regarding whether apples are ripe on the tree, follow these tips.

First, you should look at the color of the apples. As you likely know, apples come in a wide range of colors--yellow, red, green and a combination thereof. You must know what type of apple you are looking to pick in order to know if is the right color and ready for harvest. For example, Yellow Delicious apples are green when they are immature. When they are ready for harvest, they will be completely yellow. If they are partially green they are not ready. Whereas for apples that are a mix of red and other colors, such as red blush or striped apples, you must look at the part of the apple that is not red. Those areas are typically green when immature and will turn into a yellowish color when the apples are ready for harvest,

Ease of Separation
Another way to determine whether apples are mature and ready for harvest is to look at how easily they will separate from the tree when you are trying to pick them. When picking an apple, do not pull the apple down from the tree, instead twist it upward with a rotating motion. If it separates easily, it is mature and ready for harvest.

Note: Some orchards will spray a "stop-drop" spray on their trees. If such a spray has been applied, the easy of separation test will not be applicable as even mature apples will not separate from the tree easily.

Fruit Drop
Look at the bottom of the tree to see if quality, mature apples have fallen to the ground. This is an indication that all of the apples on the tree are nearly mature or already mature.

Softness and Flavor
After picking an apple from the tree, taste it to test its maturity. When an apple is slight soft and tastes sweet and juicy, it is mature.

At The Store

If you are shopping for apples at the store and want to know how to chose the right apples to purchase, follow these tips.

The first step is probably the most obvious, you want to look at the apple, specifically the skin of the apple. A good rule of them is the shinier the skin, the juicier and crisper the apple.

Note: Some farms will spray their apples with wax and other materials to make the skin look shinier, so this test is not always an indication on how juicy and crisp an apple will be.

The next step is to pick up the apple and squeeze it. The harder the apple, the crispier it likely is. An apple should barely be squishy. An overly squishy or mushy apple is likely overripe.

Next, you should smell the apple. A ripe apple will have a sweet, fresh smell.

Finally, hold the apple up to your ear and tap it with one finger. If you hear a hollow sound, the apple is ripe and crisp. If you hear a flat or thud-like sound, the apple is not crisp.

How Should I Store Apples

When you get home, with your freshly picked or purchased at the store apples, you should store them in your refrigerator's crisper.

Also, you may want to hold off on eating those fresh from the tree apples for a few days as apples continue to get sweeter after they have been picked.

Learn How to Pick Apples

© 2013 Maya Frances


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