It’s August, and here in the U.K. that means it’s very nearly the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas! what do you take me for? I’m talking about Orchard Harvest Season, of course.
Cheap cherries are already in the shops, plentiful plums should hopefully soon follow, and then we can look forward to picking the first early apples towards the end of the month, with a bounty of fresh orchard produce – lots more apples, plums, damsons, pears, medlars, quinces and more – to follow right up until the end of the year1All being well. Weather – and squirrels – allowing, of course.. Which means it’s time to dust off our collecting baskets, maybe – if you’re lucky enough to have one – get the tripod ladder out of storage, and get ready for picking, packing and processing all that lovely, lovely fruit!
With all that in mind, I thought it might be a good time to dust off a few harvest-related advice pieces that I’ve previously posted here on Orchard Notes, on the off-chance they might be helpful and/or generally informative. Click through if any of the following sound like something you might like to brush up on.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s definitely a wrong way to pick your apples and pears, and of course that means there’s a right way to do it too, without damaging the tree and reducing next year’s crop in the process.
This article will show you how to deploy the “Cup, Lift, Detach” method to maximum effect.
If you’ve got a mystery apple or pear tree that you’d like to identify, then you’ll need to know how to match the key characteristics of the fruit to the bewildering array of varieties and cultivars available, and where to look for good information on the subject.
This article sets out the best way to build a fruit type profile, and includes links to numerous info sources that will help you achieve a positive identification.
Nobody likes the sort of surprise that involves finding extra protein in your fresh fruit. Especially if you only realise there’s a maggot in your apple after you’ve bitten into it…
This article will help you spot the tell-tale warning signs of maggot infestation, before you take that bite.
Not every apple will make it off the tree in picture-perfect, storable condition. Some will be bumped and bruised; some will be maggot-holed, pigeon-pecked or squirrel-nibbled; some will have a touch of scab or bitter-pit. But all is not lost! If a decent part of the apple is undamaged then it can still be put to good use.
This article shows you how to clean, peel, chop and cook up your knocked-about apples into a delicious spiced apple compote, for eating right away, or storing in the freezer for months.
There you have it, a few top tips for getting the best from your apple and pear harvests. I do hope these articles helpful, or at least somewhat informative. If there are any other topics on a similar theme that you’d like me to write about, please do drop me a suggestion, via the comments, or by email if you prefer.
How about you? Do you have any top tips to add? Any fruit harvest stories to share? Again, please do feel free, via the comments.
- 1All being well. Weather – and squirrels – allowing, of course.