Many of the fall and early winter apples will bear picking when the seeds are first browned and before they are fully colored. The Fameuse, Wealthy, Alexander, Jonathan, Grimes Golden, and many of the Russian varieties will complete their coloring and ripen with unimpaired flavor if picked much earlier than is usual. Such early picked fruit should be barrelled when dry and stored ranked up on their sides under a hay- or straw-covered shed with free air-circulation until wanted for sale in early winter. If the cold becomes severe enough to endanger freezing, the barrels can be protected by a straw covering. Some methodic growers known to the writer keep Fameuse, Wolf River, Lubsk Queen, and other handsome fall apples worth twenty cents per bushel into winter, with profit in the way stated by waiting until the last of November before removal from the shed to the cellar. The straw- or hay-covered shed has done good service at the west, as it does not heat up in the sunshine like an enclosed building of wood or even brick. But I have had even better success in storing fall apple barrels on their side in a dirt-covered cave. This was closed during the day and opened on two sides during the night. In this way the cooler air of the night was stored for use during the day. The autumn pears can also be picked when the seeds first turn brown. If picked when the stem parts quite readily from the spur and properly stored such varieties as the Kieffer and Mongolian snow will develop dessert quality never attained when ripened on the tree. For distant shipment most fall varieties of the pear picked when hard will ripen up in the covered crates or baskets in a cool, dry room. But it pays best to mature them before reaching the market.
In different sections the season for picking a given variety varies exceedingly. As instances, the Rhode Island Greening and Northern Spy will ripen on the trees in Iowa or Kansas if left until the usual time of picking in western New York. In the dent-corn sections of the west and southwest winter apples are picked when the seeds are brown and the stem parts from the spur without rupture of the bark. Over the west and southwest winter apples must be picked three weeks earlier than in the Atlantic States. Yet picking at proper time is more imperative in the southwest than in New York, as even the Ben Davis will get mellow on the trees if left until freezing weather is feared. In picking, varieties of the season of Jonathan and Fulton are picked first, and the tougher late apples, such as Willow and Stark, last of all.
The essentials to good keeping are picking when the stem parts quite easily from the spur, picking when dry, handling as carefully as eggs, and getting them as soon as possible into a relatively dry, cool place. The old idea of "going through the sweat" before placing in the cellar has no foundation. Apples or other fruits will sweat at any time if when cool they are exposed to a current of warmer air loaded with moisture.