When To Harvest Apples

Are you unsure about the best time of year to gather apples? The apple harvest has begun! Each year, the question of when to go apple picking in local orchards becomes a hot topic of conversation.

When it comes to apple picking, the month of September is usually the greatest time of year. Even though various types of apples mature at different times and the yield might vary from year to year depending on the environment, apple harvesting in the early autumn is almost certain to be consistent. 

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For the most part, temperate apple-growing regions get their first harvest of early cultivars like Gala and McIntosh in late August or early September. Granny Smith and Fuji apples are in season from late September to early October. Species like Cripps Pink and Fuji may be harvested in the latter part of October and early November (perfect for late apple-picking trips).

It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for ripening apples this time of year since the season changes every year. Learn how to identify whether an apple is ripe and ready to be harvested by reading on.

In What period Are Apples Ripe For Harvesting? 

Several variables affect the maturity of apples, including the cultivar and climate throughout the growing season. Farmers don’t designate a certain date for harvesting their crops since yearly trends are well known. Harvesting time is determined by how mature the apples are when they are in the field.

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Apples that are harvested too early are sour, tiny, and deficient in color on their peels. It is possible to over-pick apples and end up with apples that are mushy, mealy, and quickly deteriorate in storage.

Since apples are ripe for harvest, how do you tell? Fortunately, apples give out several signals that they’re ready to eat. On the other hand…not all apples will exhibit all of these characteristics. A wide range of exceptions may be found. Experience helps growers become better at spotting apple ripeness.

Apple Ripeness Symptoms

Some of the telltale markers of ripeness include:

  1. There is no difficulty in separating the apple stem from the branch. Fruit that isn’t quite ripe is difficult to remove off the tree.
  2. Make sure it’s not too soft. The texture of mature apples is firm and crisp, but not brittle. Apples should be firm and resistant to bruising.
  3. It’s time to savor! Crisp and juicy, not sour and starchy, are the characteristics of ripe apples. As an apple ripens, its acidity and starch levels fall.
  4. Unless it is a green apple type, the color of the background peel/skin (the portion of the apple skin that is not red) shifts from green to yellow.
  5. When you look within the stem depression, the color of the peel changes from green to yellow.
  6. Light green apple flesh is replaced with cream or white.
  7. From white to dark brown, the apple seed turns into an apple
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This is why it is so important to know when to pluck an apple from a tree. Observe it if you can find one in the forest! Red or yellow apples are common, and they should fall off the tree easily. Look for white flesh and brown seeds by cutting the apple in half. If the apple is extremely sour, it won’t taste very good.

Apples of various types ripen at varying rates and display a variety of maturity indicators. Changing temperatures, water levels, and sunshine intensity all have an impact on the ripening process of apples. When the days are warm and sunny but the nights are chilly and crisp, the red color in apple peels is more vibrant. It is possible for apples on the sunnier side of the tree to be ready for harvesting before those on the darker side. State Extension Offices and nurseries in your region can help you learn about the ripening trends of apples in your area.

Apple Season: The Annual Autumn Harvest Of Ripe, Local Apples

Now let’s see, what month are we in? The peak of the apple harvest occurs in September. While most of the apples we see in supermarkets are at their ripest in September, certain kinds are ready as early as July, and others aren’t ready until October or even November! You can see which apples mature at what time of year by checking out the listings below.

How long does it take for the apple harvest to begin? A wide variety of fresh apples may be purchased from late July through the end of the year. You’ll notice that certain varieties of apples take longer to mature than others! There is a wide variation of maturity dates for the types that are cultivated in a certain location.

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When it comes to apple planting, fall is the greatest time of year. During the fall, you may experiment with a variety of ripe apples and select a few types to plant in your yard.

Summer Apples: Early Apple Varieties

Some apples mature in the summer months of July, August, and September. Bulk sales of summer apples are less common since they do not keep well.

  • Anna Apple (July)
  • Gravenstein Apple (July)
  • Lodi Apple (July)
  • Dorsett Golden Apple (July-August)
  • Vista Bella Apple (July-August)
  • Early Blaze Apple (August)
  • Paula Red Apple (August)
  • Ginger Gold Apple (August-September)
  • Ozark Gold Apple (August-September)

Fall Apples: Mid-Season Apple Varieties

Apples that mature in September and October are often harvested. If you’re a regular at the grocery store, you’re more likely to encounter autumn apples. Classic apple varieties for autumn include:

  • McIntosh Apple (September)
  • Honeycrisp Apple (September)
  • Cortland Apple (September)
  • Golden Delicious Apple (September)
  • Ambrosia Apple (September)
  • Jonathan Apple (September)
  • Empire Apple (September)
  • Jonagold Apple (September-October)
  • Gala Apple (September-October)
  • Red Delicious Apple (September-October)
  • Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple (September-October)

You may wear your warm sweater and flannel when you go “apple picking” in the fall (see photo above). Remember the cute harvest basket!

Apples in Winter: Late-Season Apples

It’s time for the last apple of the season: late-season or winter apples Generally speaking, these apples are huge and may be stored for months at a time. Here are some of the most popular winter apples:

  • Fuji Apple (November)
  • Braeburn Apple (November)
  • GoldRush Apple (November)
  • Newtown Pippin Apple (November)
  • Wolf River Apple (November-December)
  • Enterprise Apple (November-December)
  • Pink Lady Apple/Cripps Pink Apple (November-December)
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After Picking, Do Apples Ripen? 

Certain apples can be harvested even though the tree is no longer producing them because of their maturity. If an apple falls from a tree too early, it will not mature. Apples that are too immature to ripen in storage will not be able to do so.

An apple that’s “mature” isn’t always ripe. A fruit’s maturity in apples simply means that it has reached the stage of development when it will continue to ripen on its own even after being taken from the tree. It’s possible that a “mature” apple isn’t really “ripe.”


Fruit for storage should be picked when “mature,” but not quite ripe. If you’re planning to eat an apple straight away, you may leave it on the tree for as long as you like!

Harvested apples lose moisture as soon as they are removed from their tree (this is why grocery-store apples are covered in thin sealing wax). Fresh-picked apples also retain their original color when stored.

2 thoughts on “When To Harvest Apples”

  1. I live in SoCal 200 yds from the ocean. My Fiji Apple tree already has full size fruit in July.
    Should I harvest now or wait until the Fall ?

    • if the apples come off easily with a simple twist or show signs of falling off the tree then I think it’s defiantly time to consider harvesting. Worth picking one and having a taste! I’m jealous as that’s an early harvest


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