An Apple a Day
There are many varieties of apples, but which ones should make it into your cart? From crispy Cameo and Honeycrisp to tart Granny Smith and mild Gala, apple varieties delight our palates and showcase great flavors alone or in dishes. Apples are versatile and grant the perfect sweetness to recipes without adding processed sugars. You may even want to challenge yourself to try a new apple variety each week over several months to determine a new favorite!
How theyâ€™re grown
- Apples are grown in trees in orchards, and once harvested they continue to ripen.
- Most apple trees, once planted, will take four to five years to bear their first fruit.
- Apples are notable for their adaptability to weather and climate. Most apples are grown year-round. However, optimal growing conditions exist in the fall.
How to shop for them
- Choose apples that are not bruised, discolored or soft.
- Select apples that have vivid color, intact stems and a smell thatâ€™s fresh and not musty.
How to store them
- Whole apples can be left at room temperature for up to one week while retaining peak freshness, or in the crisper drawer (away from other strong odors as apples are very porous) for up to three weeks.
- If deciding to peel or cut up an apple ahead of time, squeeze about one tablespoon of lemon juice on the flesh of the apple. The added acidity will extend the appleâ€™s shelf life and delay browning, while also adding a â€ścitrusâ€ť type taste. Use cut apples within two days.
- The best apples for freezing are Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Braeburn.
How to prepare and eat them
- Apples, just like many other pieces of produce, may have a food-grade wax application. The FDA allows the use of beeswax, shellac, petroleum or vegetable-based waxes or resins on apples. Itâ€™s always advisable to rinse produce in cool tap water prior to consumption.
- Apples donâ€™t need to be peeled. Additional nutrition, flavor and texture exist within the apple peel!
- Apples are great eaten by themselves or cut into slices and dipped in peanut butter. Try adding cinnamon to apples to capture that classic fall flavor any time of year!
- Apples pair well with nuts, including walnuts, pecans and cashews. Try making a chickpea salad with chopped walnuts, celery pieces and diced onion. Top with apple slices and toss with a light, creamy (dairy or non-dairy) dressing.
- Apples are a fantastic component of classic desserts like pies and muffins.
- Make your own applesauce! Heat apples to warm temperature in oven or microwave, add to a food processor and quickly blend (for chunky applesauce) or fully pulverize (for smooth applesauce).
- Nutritional highlights
- The old saying, â€śan apple a day keeps the doctor awayâ€ť may not be too far from the truth! A diet consisting of a variety of plants, including fruits, builds up our defenses against chronic disease and seasonal sickness. Apples are a great part of that diet, as they possess many nutritional benefits.
- Apples have zero cholesterol (as do all plants), are very low in sodium, have little to no fat, are packed with fiber and contain polyphenols, which inhibit oxidation and may fight inflammation.