Apples are climacteric fruits: they continue to ripe after the separation from the tree. Thus, they continue to develop from the time of harvest to their consumption. If apples are harvested before they reached their optimum ripeness for consumption, the duration of their ripening can be extended through cooling and other storage conditions. The ideal moment for harvest is when the apple is at the beginning of its ripening. At this stage, the fruits are externally fully developed but are not suitable for the immediate consumption, as the taste has not developed yet.
However, harvest should not occur too early, as that can lead to underdeveloped, badly coloured fruits with deficient eating quality. Fruits harvested too early are more prone to physiological deficiencies, such as skin browning.
At the same time, harvest should not be conducted too late either: if apples are harvested too late, they might age and get overripe during storage. This can lead to many qualitative deficiencies, as soft, mealy, rotten fruits without flavour and a tendency to rottenness.
Some measurements can contribute to an ideal quality for storage: a balanced fertilization and the regulation of both growth and the number of apples on the tree can prevent an unbalanced mineral equilibrium.
In addition, a gentle and careful harvest can largely prevent the appearance of dents. Several pickings, instead, enable a consistent ripeness and a better colouring of the remaining fruits on the tree.
|SÜDTIROLER LANDWIRT NR. 4
||Quality retention during storage