Fall is apple time in Eugene. Many varieties of apples thrive in the Willamette valley including Braeburn, which ripens in early October and stores well. Jonagold and Gala ripen in late September and have a crisp flavor. Fresh picked off the tree, a juicy ripe apple is hard to beat.
“Picking apples directly from a tree is easy. Roll the apple upwards off the branch and give a little twist; don’t pull straight away from the tree. If two apples are joined together at the top, both will come away at the same time. Don’t shake the trees or branches. If the apple you are trying to pick drops, (or others on the tree) go ahead and pick it up. They’re perfectly fine! A visitor who grew up on an orchard says to try to leave the stem on the apples. He says that helped them store longer!” – pickyourown.org
Dried apple chips are a popular preparation method for preserving the bounty. Apple Sharlotka is a delicious dessert that is as beautiful as it is tasty. Fallen or beat up looking apples still make a good applesauce but give them a good dunk in cold water with some salt added to ease out any worms first, then rinse them well in water with some vinegar added to release any grit.
Store apples and pears in clean wooden or cardboard boxes that are ventilated to allow air circulation. If you have a crisper drawer in your refrigerator, use it for apples, it works beautifully.
- Picking and Storing Apples and Pears: from the Oregon State University Extension Service