Wednesday, 8 September 2010

An apple a day doesn't just keep the doctor away - it also counts as one of your 5-a-day!

It's now September and my how the summer has flown past! Good news though as apples are ripening and are becoming ready to harvest!

We have 5 apple trees around our house and only 1 tree so far have apples ripe enough to be picked! But I've made the most out of it and had everyone bringing 'shirt-fulls' back in :D

Apple harvesting tips:

Check the ripeness of the apples:

- Select firm, bruise-free apples
- The color completely depends on the variety
- Apples should be crisp and firm
- Squeeze the top of the apple near the stem. If the apple isn't ready, it will be easy to indent and you may see some juice.
- Apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the apples on the outside of the tree will ripen first.

Picking the apples:

- Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don't pull straight away from the tree. 
- If two apples are joined together at the top, both will come away at the same time. 
- Don't shake the trees or branches!  
- If the apple you are trying to pick drops, (or others on the tree) go ahead and pick it up. They're perfectly fine!
- Try to leave the stem on the apples.  Apparently, it helps them to store for longer but I've never had unstemmed apples so don't know how true this is.


- Once picked, don't throw the apples into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad quicker.
- Don't wash apples until just before using to prevent spoilage. 
- Keep apples cool after picking to increase shelf life.  A cool basement is ideal.
- A refrigerator is fine for small quantities of apples
- Keep your apples in a plastic bag if storing with other produce. This stops gases released from other foods spoiling the apples faster than usual.
- High humidity helps to to keep the apples from shriveling, but don't let them get actually wet! 
- Boxed apples need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won’t freeze. Freezing ruptures all of an apple’s cells, turning it into one large bruise overnight!
- Apples and potatoes should never be stored together because, as they age, potatoes release a gas making apples spoil faster. Just don’t store them right next to potatoes.
- Prevent contact between apples stored for the winter by wrapping them individually eg. in sheets of newspaper.

More apple tips and facts!
- Apples contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories.
- Apples are ranked No. 1 in antioxidant activity compared with other fruits and vegetables. 
- A serving of apples has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease.
- An apple a day doesn't just keep the doctor away - it also counts as one of your 5-a-day!
- A cake will stay fresher if you you cut an apple in half and store it with the cake.
- Apples will not crack while they are baking if you peel a 1-inch band around the middle or top.
- Lemon juice is good to prevent discoloration of apples, most fruits - mushrooms too.

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