For best quality and flavor, allow fruit to ripen on the tree. The best way to tell when they are ripe is to taste them. When they are sweet and full-flavored, they are ready to pick.
If you plan to store apples or pears, however, you should harvest them before they are fully ripe. In general, early-ripening apple and pear cultivars do not keep well. Their fruit should be eaten or preserved as soon as possible.
Always harvest with care. Handle fruit gently to avoid bruising it. For long-term storage, keep fruit in a refrigerated area or cold cellar. Store only fruit that is in excellent condition and of the highest quality. Do not store diseased or damaged fruit.
Grapes have the longest history of all the cultivated fruits and are among the most widely grown. The fruits are used to make juice, jellies, wine, and pies, and the leaves can be used in cooking. Grapes also are delicious eaten fresh, and their popularity has increased since the development of new seedless table grape cultivars for the Northeast and the Southeast.
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