True or false

Asked September 27, 2016, 6:33 PM EDT

Is it true that harolson apples starch turns to sugar after the first frost? My apples are beautiful red and starting to fall from the tree. I've been told they are not truly ripe until then. True or false????

Cascade County Montana

1 Response

This is neither true nor false. Yes, after the freeze the apples will produce more sugars as the starches break down. However, waiting until it freezes does not necessarily mean you are going to have a better apple. And, as the sugars break down, it can reduce storage capacity.

Really, the best way to tell if an apple is ripe, is to cut open the apple and look at the seeds. If the seeds are brown to black, the apple is ripe. When the seeds are ripe, the apples will begin to drop. If you wait too long, nearly all the apples will drop and you will have harvested nothing. It is a bit of a game, but first check the seeds, and then taste.

By the way, just in storage, the starches will turn to sugars. So, it isn't solely dependent on a frost as the wives tale states...

I hope this helps shed some light on when to pick the apples.