- Gather when possible on a fine day, or if this is impossible make sure that apples and pears are carefully dried with a cloth and left exposed to the air for a while before being put into their final stage.
- Do no pick out the stalks of immature fruit as this will only encourage rotting.
- Ripe fruit will be found to separate easily from the twig to which it is attached.
- Pick each fruit with care separately, not a cluster altogether.
- Use scissors for clipping dessert raspberries, gooseberries and currants.
- Out of reach fruit, such as apples, pears or plums can be picked by fixing a piece of netting or a canvas bag to the end of a long stick, and attaching it so as to form a cup: the ripe fruits are leveled off with the stick so that they drop into the bag.
- Do not tumble the fruit heedlessly into a basket and damage by bruising; for preference, use a soft lined basket.
Different varieties require different treatment. Certain early dessert kinds, such as Beauty of Bath, Lady Sudely, James Grieve and Grenadier (cooking), best left to ripen on the tree and are more suitable for immediate use.
Other varieties have late keeping qualities and if gathered too soon will be liable to shrivel and lose their flavor; examples are dessert: Cox’s orange Pippin, Blenheim Orange, Ribston Pippin; Cooking: Newton Wonder, Lane’s Prince Albert, Bramley’s Seedling.
These are however, gathered before they are absolutely ripe in order to store before the frosts set in. This applies especially to the larger proportion of cooking apples. Fruit that is damaged by maggots, etc. will drop early and this must not be taken as an indication that good fruit is ripe.
Fruit of early kinds (Clapp’s Favorite, Doyenne du Comice, etc.) should be gathered before it will separate easily from the twig, when carefully raised on a level with the stalk; its best laid out and allowed to ripen for a few days prior to eating. The crop can be brought a few at time into a warm room. Very few early varieties can be stored.
Late dessert kinds should be left on the tree until mid-November (Pitmaston Duchess, Easter Beurre etc.) this also applies to certain stewing varieties such as Catillac and Bellisimo d’Hiver. The large proportion of pears should be gathered towards the end of October.
Storing Apples and Pears
Apples and Pears to be stored should first be sweated by being laid in heaps and left to heat for about 14 days. They should then be stored on trays or boxes in single layers, keeping the varieties separate, preferably in a cool, dry, dark cellar. There will be no need to cover expect during frost. An average temperature of 45°F is sufficient. Fruit must be looked over periodically and any decaying fruit removed.
If cellar is not available, a dry, well ventilated shed, preferably with a brick or concrete floor, may be utilized. For very choice of keeping varieties of apples (Cox’s Orange Pippin, Lane’s Prince Albert etc.) a good method is to wrap each fruit in clean tissue paper or in specially prepared sulphate wraps.
If storage space is limited, apples can be clamped in the same way as potatoes and will keep well.
To get the best results the largest berries should be picked first round about Whitsuntide, this will give the others a chance to swell. Pick about every 14 days.
Black currants should be picked just before they are quite ripe but when the larger proportion of berries have turned black. Red currants for dessert use should not be picked until all berries in the bunch are red, but for cooking they can be picked while yet only a pinkish red color.
Cobnuts and Filberts
These will store well in new flowerpots or in stone jars, and a little salt should be sprinkled in between as they are packed. It is important to keep the nut free from damp; if there is no tight stopper available be sure to cover the top with a thick layer of salt. The jars should then be kept into a dry frost proof shed. Cobs and filberts can also be packed into tins and sealed.
These should be picked when quite red, before the deep reddish purple color is evident. Picking with the stalk is not necessary.
The crop should be picked before fully ripe. Pinch off from the stem with the finger and thumb, a short distance from the fruit. In warm, sunny weather the plants should be looked over for ready fruit every day.
Can be left until quite ripe if the raspberries are intended for jam making and picked without stalks. If they are for dessert purposes the berries should be picked when fairly firm and just turning red in color, but do not leave until quite ripe, and leave short stalks attached. Raspberries are quite easily bruised, and great care is necessary if they are intended for bottling.
These should b placed in a shed in single layers, and the shells allowed to dry. After they are dry, some twenty at a time should be shaken vigorously in a bag or cloth to separate the husk from the nut.