When are quinces ready to pick?
Quince harvest 2020: when is the quince harvest time?
A basic distinction is made between apple quince and pear quince. The two varieties differ in shape. The apple quince is more like an apple, while the pear quince has a more elongated pear shape. The time of harvest is the same for both varieties. The time has come in autumn every year. This also applies to the 2020 quince harvest.
The fruits themselves indicate when the quinces are to be harvested. There are a few points where it is very easy to see that the fruits are ripe and that the harvest time has begun. But that's not all, because the harvest should also be carried out correctly, which is especially important for storage later.
Quinces usually ripen in the first half of October. Depending on the weather, this point in time can shift forwards or backwards, so it is crucial to recognize the signals when the right degree of maturity has been reached. These are the ripening characteristics of the quince:
- Fruits are fully developed
- Fruits have turned from green to yellow
- Fluff on the fruit disappears
- Fruits are shiny yellow when the fluff is removed
- Fruits have a distinctive scent
- Fruit is easy to pick
Once the quinces have reached the right degree of ripeness, they are easy to harvest and ideally are picked. Although the fruits are very hard, owners of quince trees should not be fooled because the fruits are very delicate. Garden owners either climb the tree with the ladder to harvest or they use a suitable picker for apples. Depending on the culture, the quinces do not become real trees, but rather develop similarly to bushes with a short trunk. In this case, the fruits can usually even be picked while standing.
If the trees are regularly cared for and thinned, this makes harvesting easier. This makes it easier for gardeners to get to the fruits and not accidentally shake off the fruits right next to them. It is not common for the quince to snap out close-fitting fruits during the growth phase. It does develop a lot of fruits under good conditions, but not so many that they would hinder each other's development.
When picking it is important to ensure that only fully ripe and undamaged fruits are picked. Depending on the weather, the quince may already develop putrid spots on the tree. Since picked fruits are usually stored, they should not come into contact with fruit that is undamaged. Damaged fruits can infect a healthy quince, which in a very short time will ruin the entire harvest. Especially when the harvest time is postponed, there is a high risk that damaged fruit will still hang on the tree.
Pick up windfalls
With lush trees, it is sometimes almost impossible to harvest everything by hand. The fruits then inevitably fall to the ground. Due to their firm structure, these fruits can still be stored to a limited extent, but should be used as early as possible and before the fruit is picked.
You have to look very carefully at windfalls. The fruits should also not be damaged despite the fall. Fruit with bruises that have already changed color should be sorted out and not stored at all. Such fruit can be used directly.
As with the fruits picked from the quince harvest, the windfalls are also laid flat in boxes and stored in a suitable cellar. There are even special fruit boxes with dividers so that the fruits do not touch each other. Such dividing elements are sometimes not very cheap, but they promote an optimal distance between the fruits.
If you don't have the opportunity to wait for the right harvest time in 2020, you can harvest the fruits a little earlier. However, they should already be discolored and at least a slight scent must be perceptible. The fruits can still ripen a little in the warehouse, but only compensate for a few days.
Quinces can only be stored for a limited time despite the correct harvest time. The fruits should be used up or processed by around Christmas, as the shelf life then decreases drastically.
At the latest when it is stored, it can be seen whether the fruits were harvested at the right time. When it comes to storage, you should also pay attention to a few points:
- Consume fruit without a stem quickly
- no storage together with other fruit such as apples
- no storage of unripe fruits
- no storage of overripe fruits
- Do not remove any remaining fluff until you are ready to use it
Under favorable conditions, fruits picked in exactly the right window of harvest time can last up to three months. Above all, careful handling promotes their shelf life, which is why it is important that there are no unnecessary stresses during harvest such as pressure in a large harvest bucket.
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