For the first time since we planted it eight years ago our apricot
tree is fruiting. Here in Denver there are often late storms that
freeze out any blossoms, but not this year. We have fruit almost as
large as a tennis balls. When is it ready to pick? I've read that
commercial apricots are picked quite green and ripened off the tree
and this is why they are dry and mealy. Indeed, this is why I stopped
buying apricots decades ago. Ours are very juicy but still a bit hard.
The ones that fall on the ground are wonderful but mushy from
Should I wait to let them get soft on the tree or pick the soft-ish
ones now and ripen them in a bag at room temperature? I don't know
what to do; we're going to have bushels and bushels...
I like to take mine when they turn a particular deep orangish red. They
will not all be ripe at the same time, so daily, you will want to just pick
the ripest ones. I test them by sticking my thumb in the cleft next to
where the stem attaches. If it is nice and easy to split the fruit, then it
is ready. It also depends on what you want to do with them, as to how
firm/soft you want them. You can take them, and let them ripen in the
fridge for a few days if you're afraid of the squirrels or birds getting
them. A squirrel will strip a whole tree in a day, throwing away the meat
and keeping only the seed. ;-(
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I allow them to ripen on the tree to give the best flavour. If you have
never had tree-ripened stone fruit of a good cultivar they will knock your
socks off. You will need to check them every day or two and harvest
progressively as they will not all ripen on the same day. Once they start
to colour and soften slightly (which I take it has happened) your task will
be to take the best fruit off the tree each morning and bite into it. It's
tough but somebody has to do it. You will learn to tell if they are ripe by
touch and smell fairly quickly.
With peaches and apricots, I try and leave them on the tree as long
as possible to get their maximum sweetness and flavor. However, when
They start to feel soft, I pick them. For me, they should be soft
on most of the surface. Sometimes the fruit will ripen first on one
side that faces the sun. Of course, picking them a bit hard will give
you a longer shelf life, but store them in the frig, in any case. Fpr
canning, you also want them to be slightly firm.
I envy your apricot crop. My Moorpark kind of fizzled out this year,
but I should have a good number of Redhaven peaches.
I have had to learn pretty quickly! It was indeed an awesome crop; we
had a lot of fruits that were almost as big as a medium peach. The
trick *is* to pick daily. I couldn't so I rigged a 20'x20' bird
netting under the tree to try and keep the fruits from hitting the
ground and bursting open. Many still suffered damage from hitting
branches on the way down . :(
The taste was spectacular; way beyond anything I've had from a store
or private stand. We're having the tree pruned this winter to clean up
the squirrel damage so I expect (if we have another easy Winter), I'll
have to deal with this again next year. If I had it all to do again
I'd have planted a peach. I (and our friends and co-workers) can stand
to eat only so many apricots...
Thanks everyone for the help.
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