September is the time for apples! A trip to an apple orchard is a New England tradition for all ages, and whether you chose to pick your own or purchase a peck of pre-picked apples, visiting a local orchard for the sights, smells, and produce is always worth the trip. In New England, Apple crop harvests are higher than last year (from 5% in Maine to 51% in New Hampshire, according to the New England Apple Association), making this season a great one to try out new varieties of apples and experiment with recipes.
Apples come in a variety of species and flavors to satisfy most everyone’s palate. From crisp and tart to mild and firm, apples are a versatile and healthy snack that may be enjoyed freshly picked from the tree, peeled, made into apple sauce, apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple salad (such as Waldorf salad) or apple juice and cider. Apple recipes are endless, and this is the best time of year to try out, experiment with, and enjoy this very plentiful New England fruit.
New England Apple Facts and Tips:
1. There are over 40 different apple species grown in New England
2. Once an apple tree is grafted and/or established it may take up to four years to produce fruit.
3. Most apple trees reach their peak production point at approximately 10-12 years.
4. Apple trees can live for 100 years or longer.
5. Orchards typically keep an apple tree for 20-30 years.
6. Apple trees should be pruned in the early spring.
7. When picking apples from the tree, be sure to twist the fruit stem off. Pulling apples down off a tree can damage tree limbs.
8. Place apples gently in a bag or box after picking — they bruise easily.
9. To prolong the life of apples, store them in a cool area, preferably in the refrigerator. An enclosed porch that does not reach freezing temperatures is also a good option. If you are unable to store in a cool spot, put apples in a crate or ventilated box away from other stored vegetables like onions and potatoes and mist with water every week or so.
To find a New England apple orchard near you, please visit: http://www.newenglandapples.org/index.php?catcont=zipcode2