If you’re looking for a fun fall activity you can do with the entire family on a crisp and sunny day in September or October, try apple picking. It’s a fun way to get everyone out of the house and in the fresh air. As an added bonus, you get to come home with a bushel of apples that will last you through the coming months.
Start by finding a local apple orchard that lets you come out and pick your own apples. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find several apple farms just outside town, or you may have to take a little drive. The Pick Your Own Website is a great resource for helping you find apple orchards in your area.
Once you find an orchard you’re interested in give them a call and find out what apple varieties they have and which ones are ready. This is also a great time to learn more about the best times to come pick and what other fun attractions and activities they may have available.
If you’re not familiar with the apple varieties they have available, do a little research and find out what those apples are like. You should be able to get a good idea about flavor, firmness, what the apples are best used for (eating apples vs. baking apples for example), and how long they can be stored. This is good information to have ahead of time. It also allows you to plan what varieties you want to pick and in what quantities.
Last but not least, it’s time to head out to the farm and have fun. Get an early start and get to picking apples. Don’t forget to taste them as you go along and have fun. It’s an experience and a great time to not only make family memories, but also teach your kids about where their food comes from.
Enjoy your day at the apple orchard and everything they have to offer. If you’re lucky, there may be hay rides and lots of tasty apple treats to sample and buy. You may even get to help make apple cider or learn more about Johnny Appleseed.
Explore the various apple orchards your region has to offer and find a few favorites that you can visit fall after fall. Then come home with your bushels of apples and enjoy them all throughout fall and winter.
How To Store Apples
Start by checking every single apple for bruising or rot. A single rotting apple stored with the rest will cause all your apples to ripen, and then over-ripen quickly. Only healthy apples that don’t have nicks or bruises and aren’t too ripe yet should be stored. Sort out the rest and use them for eating, baking, and cooking with right away. You can also preserve those apples by turning them into apple sauce or apple pie filling and canning or freezing the finished product as needed.
Sort your apples by variety, and then by size. Larger apples will go bad faster than others and different apple varieties have different shelf lives. You want to be able to eat and use the apples that will go bad faster first. Keep the smaller apples of long lasting varieties for last and you’ll have fresh and delicious apples well into winter and even early spring. Tart, thick-skinned apples usually last the longest. Keep that in mind as you pick different apple varieties.
Don’t store your apples in plastic. Instead choose crates or baskets that allow the fruit to breath. Apples emit ethylene, a gas that helps ripen fruit. You want the air to flow around your apples and allow excess ethylene to escape otherwise your apples will ripen and rot much faster. You may have heard of this principle in action when you put an apple in a brown bag with green bananas to encourage them to ripen faster. If you’re storing apples, you want to slow down that ripening process.
Store the crates or baskets of apples in a dark, cool place. Basements are great, provided they are dry and get good air flow. If you have a pantry, choose the coolest shelf or place in the room. Store your apples away from onions and potatoes for best results. If you are only storing a small amount of apples, the crisper drawer in your fridge is another good option.
Inspect your apples regularly and pick out any fruit that’s starting to rot. This will prevent all your apples from going bad. Get in the habit of inspecting your apple harvest once a week, or anytime to dig in to pick fresh apples for eating.
Local Pick-Your-Own/Buy Farms
Bains Orchard – Hillsboro, TN
Scott’s Orchard – Hazel Green, AL
2163 Scott Road, Hazel Green, AL 35750 (256) 828-4563 Website
Isom’s Orchard – Athens, AL
24012 US Highway 72 Athens, Alabama 35613 (256) 232-0808 Facebook
Shade Tree Farm and Orchard – Adams, TN
2087 Kinneys Road, Adams, TN 37010 (615) 696-2915 Website