Got an email from: Jackie Turner who asks an interesting question on the topic of russet apples
“My husband always heard you need a good hard freeze before making cider from them. Is this true in your opinion?”
So the question is should you wait until after the first hard frost before picking your russet apples?
Well that’s not quite as silly as it first sounds. Russets are generally late croppers and utterly delicious but famously tough skinned and with a close texture. A long time ago somebody realised that if you wait until after the first frost the apples get softer.
What happens is that the frost causes the cells in the apples to break when the water inside them expands as it freezes. This means that because the cell walls are broken, when you press those apples, a lot more juice can come out.
This doesn’t just apply to russets of course. Any apple will produce more juice if the cell walls have been weakened.
Rather than wait for the first frost, some people put their apples in the freezer overnight and then let them thaw out the next day before pulping and pressing.
Others simply leave the apples in a pile in the garden or orchard wait for that first frost to do the same job.
Impatient idiots like me have never bothered with this and simply pulp and juice apples when I have enough of a crop, regardless of the weather.