Advice on harvesting apricots

gellfex(6 NJ)July 3, 2012

I've got my 1st crop of apricots on a mature tree on a property we bought 8 years ago. It seems every spring something had caused fruit set to fail till now. The problem I have is it seems the fruit are all falling before being completely ripe. I was picking just now and fruit were literally falling off into my hands, shaking a branch at all caused a shower of fruit to fall! But most of these fruit still had some green. It was rare to find fruit on the tree without some green, but half the crop has already fallen to the ground.

Do I just bag ripen? Or not even bother with that if I'm making jam? Most recipes call for ripe fruit, yet I've seen many peach recipes (I've got peach trees too) that call for using slightly under ripe for jam. Any advice would be welcome, my family adores apricot jam and dried apricots.

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Slightly green works for me, and remember, color isn't the only indicator of "ripe" - if they're falling off the branch at a touch they are ripe for our purposes.

Like a roast that continues cooking after it's removed from the oven fruit continues ripening after picking. "Dead ripe" apricots are on the verge of being mushy. Yes, they may pick up a little more sugar but it comes at a price.

Keep in mind that slightly under-ripe stone fruit is easier to make jam with because it has more pectin than does fully ripe fruit.

Frankly, I'm jealous- I've killed off three or four apricot trees and am working on killing off the next one.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:09PM
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gellfex(6 NJ)

I've been impressed by how hardy the tree is even though it struggles to actually set fruit. When we bought the place there were 3 peaches, 3 figs, several grapes and a large mulberry in one city backyard 25x40. The place had been let to run wild and looked like the Mekong Delta with head high weeds and grapes climbing the trees, complete with hordes of mosquitoes! We took out the mulberry and had the trees pruned almost back to trunks. They came back vigorously, I have to really hack at the peaches every 2 years, and think I've learned something about them, most of my previous experience with fruit was grapes & kiwis. I also don't spray them at all, like most of my gardens. Harvesting the peaches is tough too, so many end up on the ground, and the tenants of the place aren't fond of that. It's sad, they have have peaches, figs and grapes in their yard and won't eat them!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 7:49PM
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