How to live apple-y ever after

Apple picking

Now is the perfect time to go apple picking—most orchards are open to the public in September or early October. Simply Google to find a farm or orchard near you, then plan your day. You can read reviews and find the best farms—closest isn’t always the best. You may also want to call ahead to ask which apples are available, as different orchards will grow different kinds at different times. And don’t forget to bring a reusable bag to stash your precious loot.

You’ll want to steer clear of trees with apples strewn on the ground. This is a sign that it has past the point of ripeness. When you’ve found your tree, choose apples from the outer part of the tree first, as apples ripen from the outside first. Next, gently pull and twist the apple off the tree. If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s probably not ready to pick. Move onto another one.

Leave the stems on your apples—this will help keep them fresh. And gently place your apples in your bag to avoid bruising them. Wash apples only when you’re ready to eat or use them; this will help prevent them from spoiling sooner. Keep them in the crisper away from other fruits—apples emit a gas that can speed the ripening of other produce, so it’s best that they’re stored solo. Apples will stay fresh for a month or two in the fridge (love long-lasting produce!), which will allow you to whip up plenty of amazing apple creations.