Apples mature over a long period of time depending on variety. Some varieties such as Lodi can mature in July and others as late as October. Here are some guides to help you decide when to pick your apples.
Color change: As apples mature, the skin color in areas of the stem and the calyx basin at the bottom of the apple turns from an immature green to a light-yellow color. Some apples will develop a red skin color before they are ripe, so this is not a 2021 Throckmorton Plant Science Cntr. Manhattan, KS 66506 (785) 532-6173 reliable indication of maturity.
Flavor: This is a good guide if you are familiar with the apples you have and know how they
should taste. Even if you do not know the characteristic flavor of the kind of apple you have, you
can still sample slices of a few apples and decide if they have a sweet flavor. If they are not
ready to harvest, they will taste starchy or immature. If apples have already fallen and taste a bit
starchy, store them for a period to see if they become sweeter.
Flesh color: As apples mature and starches change to sugars, the flesh changes from very light
green to white. When you cut a thin slice and hold it up to the light you can see the difference.
Days from bloom: The number of days from bloom is a reliable guide for general maturity time,
but weather conditions will have some influence. Some kinds of apples and approximate days
from bloom to maturity are Jonathan, 135, Delicious, 145, Golden Delicious, 145, and
Winesap,155 days. This process may be slower than usual due to the cooler weather this year.
Seed color: The seeds of most apples change from light green to brown as the fruit ripens. This
indicator should be combined with other changes since it is not absolute. The flavor of the
apples, the change in color of the stem and calyx basins and flesh color are important in deciding
if apples are ready to harvest. (Ward Upham)