An orchard owner, whose apples we use for juicing, was perplexed as to why Orchard Origins’ apple juice tasted so much better than his own. The apples, after all, were the same variety; picked at roughly the same time and from the same orchard. The answer was simple. He had pressed his apples the day after picking whereas Orchard Origins had stored the apples until January to allow the flavour to develop and as a result produced a far superior juice.
As discussed in a previous blog 5 Ways To Tell If Your Apples Are Ready To Pick , every apple has an optimum time for picking and eating, but it isn’t necessarily the same time.
As a rule of thumb, [although as with every rule of thumb there are always exceptions] the later in the season an apple ripens the longer it can be stored. Apples that ripen early, such as Irish Peach and Beauty of Bath, tend to deteriorate quickly and should be eaten soon after picking. Some of the firmer fleshed mid-season apples such as Lord Lambourne and Laxton’s Fortune are more forgiving and with correct storage will keep for two to three weeks. The Cox’s Orange Pippin and Blenheim Orange can be stored for as long as four to six weeks.
The late season apples, generally those with a hard, dry flesh that have a deeper, more complex taste, such as an Egremont Russet or a Braeburn need time for their flavours to develop fully. A Bramley Seedling eaten straight off the tree is a rather thin, tart offering. Kept until January or February it will make the most delicious pressed juice. Adams Pearmain, Ashmead’s Kernel and Fiesta are all late season apples that store well and can be kept for three months or more.
If you are interested in learning more about pressing apples for juice or cider, Orchard Origins is holding a series of courses in the autumn and New Year. Details can be found here