If there are crisp breezes and changing leaves in your part of the country, you might already feel like fall is in full swing. As you take your favorite flannel out of storage, you may be deciding which fall activities to participate in first. If you’re lucky enough to live by an apple orchard, apple-picking is likely at the top of your list. Read on to learn everything you need to know about apples this apple-picking season.
1. Finding Orchards
While some states have more orchards than others, like Michigan’s 180 orchards and Florida’s one orchard, each state does have at least one. Check out the United States orchard directory to learn about all of the orchards located in your home state (1). Or, if you’re in the mood for a road trip, you can even look into one that’ll be on your route.
2. Picking your Apples
The most fun part of apple picking is, of course, picking your apples. While you can show up and pick whichever ones catch your eye, why not put a little thought into getting the best apples?
First of all, you’ll be thinking about ripeness. No matter which type of apple you choose, every apple tastes better- when it’s at its peak ripeness. As a general rule of thumb, the ripest apples at the beginning of the season start around the outward most branches of the tree. So, make it easy on yourself and pick the apples you see first. As the season goes on, it works out well that the newly ripened apples are the ones now accessible closer to the trunk (2).
Once you pick the apples, you’ll also want to give special care to your handling of them. Once an apple bruises, it’s likely to rot faster. You can show care for your chosen produce by placing them in a tote bag. Bottom line, just try to not drop your bag!
3. Eating your Apples
While you’re surely going to try a few apples at the orchard, most of them will be eaten after the fact. If your apples are kept on the kitchen counter, they’ll last about a week before rotting. If you put them in the produce drawer in the fridge, they can last up to two months. So, plan accordingly when collecting your apples. Maybe you’ll use up a bunch for desserts, like apple pies, or maybe you’ll preserve some in a jam or jelly.
4. Health Benefits of Apples
As you eat your fresh fruit, you may wonder what the perks of eating an apple are. There are plenty, but here are a few of the top benefits (3):
1. High in Fiber
Fiber is important for your gut health, and each apple provides about 5 grams of it. So, an apple a day may help your digestion, even if it doesn’t keep the doctor away.
2. Lower Cholesterol
The soluble fiber in apples can help break down cholesterol, which can prevent build-up.
3. Support healthy weight loss
Since apples are full of fiber, they can help keep you full longer. This could potentially help you lose weight if eating apples is part of your balanced diet.