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Butler County

Picking Apples and Pears

apple tree

How do you know when to pick apples or pears? Several varieties of pears and apples are ripe and ready to pick but how do you know when they are ready to harvest? For apples there are a couple factors that play a role in determining when to pick the fruit:

  • Days from bloom- many varieties list how many days from bloom time till the apple will be ripe. Weather can influence the number of days but as a rule of thumb you can get pretty close with this measure.
  • Flesh color- As apples ripen the flesh turns from a light green to a white color. Pick an apple and cut it open, if it’s green it’s not ripe yet.
  • Seed Color- As the apples ripen the seeds turn from green to brown signaling the fruit is ripe and ready to eat.
  • Color change- As apples mature, the skin color around the stem and at the bottom turns from a green to a light yellow color. This isn’t always reliable in red apples which maybe red instead of yellow.
  • Flavor- If you know what this variety is supposed to taste like you can use flavor as an indicator the fruit is ripe.

Pears are ripening now through October however unlike apples we don’t wait till pears are fully ripe in order to harvest them. Pears develop a gritty texture if left to ripen on the tree. Pears that are ready to harvest change to a darker green color and some varieties have brown spots on the skin. The fruit will separate easily from the stem when they are ready to be picked. Pears should be stored at refrigerator temperatures for two days to several weeks depending on the variety then left on the counter to ripen for several weeks.

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Have questions? Contact our office where our Horticulture Extension Agent will assist you with questions.

Phone: (316) 321-9660

Email: callae@ksu.edu