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Apple harvest

But what do we really know about the apple? Did you know, for example, that the apple belongs to the rose family and that there are more than 7,000 varieties worldwide? Or that in Australia the yearly per capita consumption of fresh apples is 8.4kg according to the latest APAL statistics and the most popular varieties are Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Red and Golden Delicious, Fuji and Granny Smith? Or that an apple needs around 30 green leaves for optimum growth and that you can recognise a ripe apple from its broad and deep calyx and brown pips? What? You didn't know all that? Well, you're no different from many other people.

But there are many more things worth knowing about the apple. Many mistakes can be made with the apple harvest and the storing of the fruit. Nothing is more disappointing than biting into an apple that has been harvested wrongly or too early, where the aroma has not been able to develop correctly and the vitamins have not had a chance to form properly.

So, here are some tips and tricks for the apple harvest and storing the fruit!

• Essentially, apples must always be picked with caution. Please don't just rip them off the branches. An apple is only ripe for harvesting when it can be picked easily, i.e. when the stalk of the apple comes away from the tree easily if you twist it.

• Further indications of an apple being ready to harvest are a wide and deep calyx and brown pips. Readiness for picking and eating differs, however, from variety to variety. Your best bet is to have a look at the seasonal guide on the Aussie apples website - http://www.aussieapples.com.au/aussie-grown-varieties

• And as well as making sure you pick apples at the right time, it is important to avoid putting yourself in danger, since picking often involves some daredevil moves. This is because the best-looking apples always hang hidden away right at the top of the tree and are consequently difficult to reach. So please always consider your safety.

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