Pick­ing eating ap­ples and pears

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

You’D think it would be a dod­dle – just walk up to your tree, pick the fruit and sink your teeth into it – yes? Well, yes! Some va­ri­eties of ap­ple and pear are in­deed that sim­ple, but many aren’t. If your ap­ples or pears are dessert va­ri­eties that ripen in late-sum­mer and early to mid-au­tumn (eg ap­ple ‘Dis­cov­ery’ in Au­gust, ‘El­li­son’s orange’ in Septem­ber and ‘Pixie’ in oc­to­ber) then it’s just a case of es­tab­lish­ing when they are ripe.

You’ll find many hints in books and on­line for this point of per­fec­tion: “when the ap­ple seeds turn brown, when there are wind­falls, when the fruit parts eas­ily from the spur,” but the most re­li­able method is to take a bite out of one or two sam­ple fruits.

You’ll tell if that dessert va­ri­ety is ready – if it’s de­li­cious, tuck in, if your face puck­ers up (ap­ples) or it’s as hard as a rock (pears), wait a bit longer! Many of us grow dessert va­ri­eties of ap­ple and pear that ripen in stor­age (‘D’Arcy Spice’ ap­ple or ‘olivier de Ser­res’ pear).

With these, get them off trees in early oc­to­ber, be­fore frosts are due, and they’ll mellow in flavour and be ready for eating in com­ing weeks and months.

‘El­li­son’s orange’ is a dessert va­ri­ety which ripens in Septem­ber

‘olivier de Ser­res’ pears

‘D’Arcy Spice’ ap­ples

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