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Apples

Apples

Apple of my eye...An Apple A Day... Forbidden it’s not; no fruit is more savored or favored. Apples make a sensational snack and a wonderful ingredient in your favorite recipes-no fruit tops the mighty apple.

Nutrition Highlights

An apple a day is perhaps one of the wisest sayings ever. Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants.

  • One small apple provides you with one full serving of fruit for only about 77 calories.
  • Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Be sure to eat the peel, which is more antioxidant-rich than the fruit’s flesh.

History

Bite into these fun facts:

  • The ancestors of the apples we know today still grow wild in central Asian mountains.
  • Legend has it that Alexander the Great discovered them in 300 B.C. It wasn’t until the 1600s that apples were brought to the United States and the first apple orchard was cultivated.
  • If you love apples, thank Johnny Appleseed, who set off with a sack of apple seeds over his shoulder in 1774. In this true tale, Johnny travelled west, scattering apple seeds along the way. He left a legacy of more than 1200 acres of apple nurseries.

Varieties

The number one fruit in America, apples are versatile, portable and available year-round. Some varieties are sweet, some are tart and some are best for baking. Apples taste sweeter and juicier when plucked fresh from the tree.

  • Select in-season varieties. If not in season, they may have been in storage and will not be as flavorful and juicy as fresh-picked apples.
  • Look for firm, ripe apples with no bruises or bug holes.
  • Choose apples that look fresh, are bright in color and have a fresh apple aroma.
  • Check that the variety is appropriate for your apple recipe. Apple varieties that are perfect for baking are not always the best choice for snacking.

Top Apple Varieties for Baking

Chopped or sliced apples for cakes or sauce can be less firm than apples used in pies. Choose the sweetest variety available for the best flavor.

    Variety   Use

Braeburn  Slightly tart and crisp

Gala  Slightly sweet and crisp
  Golden Delicious  Sweet and tender

Honey Gold  Sweet and slightly crisp
  Jonathan  Slightly tart and tender

McIntosh  Slightly tart and tender

Selection

Follow these tips to help you choose, prepare and eat or bake apples with ease:

  • A ripe apple will be firm, crisp, and sweet smelling. Red color alone isn’t a reliable indicator, as the optimal shade varies by variety.
  • Once picked, apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.

Tips for Baking Apples

Apples taste sweeter and juicer when plucked fresh from the tree. To keep longer, here's a few tips for choosing, preparing and baking with them:

  • Select in-season varieties. If not in season, they may have been in storage and will not be as flavorful and juicy as fresh-picked apples.
  • Look for firm, ripe apples with no bruises or bug holes.
  • Choose apples that look fresh, are bright in color and have a fresh apple aroma.
  • Check that the variety is appropriate for your apple recipe. Apple varieties that are perfect for baking are not always the best choice for snacking.

Storing

  • Apples love a temperature of between 32º F and 40º F. and keep best up to 2 weeks, refrigerated for full flavor and crunch.
  • Store apples in perforated plastic bags or containers that allow airflow to prevent them from drying out.

Preparation

Apples produce a natural coating of wax to protect their high water content and prevent shriveling. Wax is also the reason apples sometimes look white or chalky, only to shine up when polished.

Wash apples; most recipes call for peeled apples for baking. Apple skin becomes tough when cooked, but if you prefer, you can leave the peel on.

Apples are so beloved, they even have their own gadgets.

These gadgets work well and save time:

  • A lightweight, razor-sharp peeler quickly peels more quickly than a knife and will remove the peel without taking much apple flesh.
  • Upgrade to a crank-type apple peeler if you’re working with large quantities.
  • Corer: Helps eliminate the core and seeds in one swift move.
  • Slicer: For neat, uniform slices—perfect for pies, galettes, or fruit salads.

Awesome Uses for Apples:

From turnovers to tarts, pies to pastries, apples have an almost endless list of uses.

Applesauce and Apple Butter:  Use overripe or bruised apples for sauce.

As part of a dip or snack, toss cut apple pieces with water mixed with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

As a snack, just say cheese with one of these classic apple pairings:

  • Slices of aged sharp cheddar stand up to equally robust McIntosh apples
  • Nutty, crumbly cheeses like Pecorino contrast beautifully with sweet, bright apples like the popular Honeycrisp.
  • The acidity of Granny Smith apples cuts the rich tanginess of soft blue cheese, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola.

Bobbing for apples, anyone?

The Halloween tradition of bobbing for apples is harder than it looks. Fill a tub with water and add whole, unpeeled apples. Because they’re less dense than water, the apples will float or “bob” at the surface. Contestants can try to catch one with their teeth—no hands allowed! Suitable and fun for all ages.

From turnovers to tarts, pies to pastries, apples have an almost endless list of uses.

Helpful apple measurements:

2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped or sliced apples = 3 medium apples, or about 1 pound.
3 medium apples = 2 large or 4 small apples.

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