‘Fresh from the tree’ is the obvious, modern, healthy, sensible answer to the question ‘how soon after picking should I pulp and press my apples. It is also, as our ancestors knew, totally wrong.
I have been looking through farming manuals and kitchen management books from the dim and distant past and all of them talk about leaving the apples in a pile for a week or two before crushing.
They don’t give any reason for doing this, but a bit of research revealed the scientific answer.
This process of leaving the apples before crushing allows the cells to start breaking down within the protective casing of the apple skin so when you do eventually press your apples more juice and flavour will be extracted.
Obviously it is doubly important that no rotten apples are in the pile and beware of split skins when piling your heap. Leave it out in the garden for a week before you start crushing, pulping, mashing or stamping and you should see a 15% increase in the quantity of juice you can extract from every kilo of fruit.
Whether this time actually affects the flavour is something I cannot yet answer. I have found no evidence either way and haven’t done a comparison test… yet.