Judging ripeness of cider apples?
So this year my browns apple and my Kingston black finally have decent crops.
The browns is supposed to be a mid season apple...comparable to say honey crisp, which would put it two weeks out or so.
The Kingston black is a late seaon apple and should be more like mid October.
And yet, the browns has been dropping fruit steady for the last week plus...perhaps as much as a third of the total crop. They are nicely colored but the seeds are only half dark. Taste is ok, but I have no real experience evaluating cider apples and do not expect them to taste good off the tree. Normally if I see dropping like this one is I assume its time is come, but those seeds....
The Kingston black is holding its fruit for the most part. A few large ones have dropped. And those seeds are fully colored, but the fruit is holding quite firm.
My problem is that I really will need the full crop from the browns to press enough to fill out my carboy. I have been keeping the drops, but their life is going to be limited in this heat. I am tempted to pick the tree clean this weekend and crush the load. Even then it may be marginal for a full batch, and i am tempted to pick the small crop on the Kingston black to fill it out....but are they ripe?
Any insight or experience on judging the ripeness of English cider apples appreciated.