Magazine article Sunset

The Secret to Perfect Apples Is in the Bag

Magazine article Sunset

The Secret to Perfect Apples Is in the Bag

Article excerpt

Perfect apples don't grow on trees. Orchardists thin, spray, sort, wash, and even wax the fruit before it goes to market. Backyard apple growers usually settle for less, consigning the scabby, wormy fruit to the compost pile or the cider press.

But there's a simple way to improve your apple crop: bag it.

This technique was developed in Japan, where orchardists slip a small bag over each fruit in early summer. The bags protect developing fruit from codling moths (the source of worms), apple maggots, sunburn, russeting, and scratching from nearby twigs. They can also help protect fruits against diseases such as scab and mildew.

The process is labor-intensive, but it gives you near-perfect fruit at harvest time. Apples protected by bags emerge looking as if they'd been waxed and polished. The beauty is more than skin-deep: "Bagged apples can be firmer, providing a nice crunch when bitten into, and, depending on variety, can have slightly more sugar compared with regularly grown apples," says Eric Curry, a researcher for the U. …

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