When should I harvest apples?
The harvest period for apples varies from one cultivar to another. In Iowa, ‘Jonathan,’ ‘Red Delicious,’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apples are normally harvested in mid-September, late September, and early October, respectively. While approximate harvest times are helpful, the actual harvest time often varies by one or more weeks from year to year due to weather conditions during the growing season. Taste, texture, and color should be used to harvest apples at the correct stage of maturity.
Apples should be harvested when the fruit are firm, crisp, juicy, well-colored, and have developed the characteristic flavor of the variety. Fruit harvested too early are astringent, sour, starchy, and poorly flavored. Apples harvested too late are soft and mushy.