Apple-ripening & cold weather

(Wherein I once more wander out of my depths and holler for help!)

How important is chilling to the “optimum” ripening of apples? One often hears that you shouldn’t pick one fruit or another until “after the frost” but what’s going on here? Is it that chilling is good for the ripening somehow, or just that there’s not much point in leaving the fruit to hang after the frost?

If the chilling is good for ripening in apples, as it appears to be in many pears, just what is the mechanism? And how variable is the effect from one variety to another? What vagaries might there be at play?

Thanks for throwing me a line. : -)

Apples, unlike some pears, don’t need any chilling to ripen to peak quality.

What can help apples reach high quality is cool weather during ripening. That’s not confined to frost at night. Just cool sunny weather in general helps apples reach peak quality. At least for some varieties and for certain characteristics.

The cool weather effects are what you sometimes read about. The effect is most pronounced with regards to coloring of the fruit. Not so much in regards to sugar or flavor. In hot climates only certain varieties reach good color. Others look way better if ripened during cool weather. Looks sells fruit so it’s important to large commercial growers not so much to homeowners.

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Thanks once again FN. Very helpful as always.

My apples are ripening, a little early it seems, and I’m sampling Liberties now - pretty surprising to have them this good this early. The color and crunch and juiciness are terrific and the flavor shows a lot of promise- they’re already better than any from last year.

We had an intense early hot spell in June, moderating tempertures through early August, and now we’re seeing crisp nights and fairly cool days. This could be a good year for this variety.

I enjoyed a Ginger Gold today and a State Fair yesterday. Both better than I’m used to this early. My first year with any significant number of GG and I’m liking them. State Fair, surprisingly was two weeks earlier.

Will be trying Pixie Crunch tomorrow.