To get the best possible quality from your juice, it’s important to harvest them at exactly the right time.
You might think that it seems obvious how to tell when your apples are ready for apple pressing. But don’t be fooled by false starts and incorrect signals. Apples vary from variety to variety in terms of when they are at perfect ripeness for juicing, and given there are over 2,500 varieties in the UK, it’s no wonder that you might not be sure.
However, don’t fear, there are a few common signs that should tell you when they are ready. Here are my top tips for knowing when your apples are ready to be turned in to delicious juice.
Don’t be fooled by dropping apples
There is a phenomenon called ‘June Drop’ where Apples naturally shed some fruitlets in early or late summer. This process may give you the impression that your apples are ready, or indeed seem alarming. However, this is natures way of focussing on the best fruit, and discarding the rest. This particularly happens if the weather conditions aren’t right for the tree to support all of the crop (i.e. if there has been a prolonged dry period. It is not usually a cause for concern as a good crop of apples is often left on the tree.
Confusingly, June drop can happen in June, July, August or even September. Importantly, don’t make the mistake of assuming that dropping apples indicate your tree is ready for harvesting. If you pick the apples now, they will be sour, hard, and under-ripe.
Look for Brown Pips
Take an apple, cut it in half, and inspect the pips. If the pips are dark brown, your apples are probably ready for harvesting.
White or pale pips normally (in most varieties) means that your apples have not reached full maturity yet.
Do the Twist
For most varieties, your apples should come off the tree with a quarter turn. You shouldn’t need to yank them or bash them off with sticks. If you need to tug them too hard, chances are, they aren’t ready yet.
The Taste Test
Of course, the most important test is the taste test. If your apples are sour, your juice will be sour. Unfortunately, pressing apples does not magically turn your juice into something sweeter. Make sure your apples taste delicious, and your juice will be incredible.
How to tell if your apples are ready for pressing
In summary, do the following tests to find out if your apples are ready for pressing: Pips, Twist, Taste.
Caution: Do not let your apples become over-ripe. Mushy, sweaty, powdery apples are not good for pressing (they block up the press, the filters and the tubes).