Did you know that apples are part of the rose family? They’re filling, nutritious and one of the world’s most popular fruit. The apple made its way to North America in the 1600’s. There are about 100 varieties that are grown in the US for commercial use. Each variety of apple has a distinct taste, color and texture and are refreshingly sweet, occasionally tart and the skin of the apple is a good source of Vitamin C, pectin fiber and polyphenol antioxidants such as Quercetin.
Some varieties are considered “all purpose” and are good for both eating fresh and cooking and others are best suited for either cooking (those that are tart, mildly sweet with firm crisp flesh are best suited for baking such as Jonagolds, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Cortlandtand Braeburn) or for snacking (those that have sweet, juicy flavors such as Red or Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji or McIntosh).
Peak season for apples is between August-October, however, are typically available all year around in the stores. Look for apples that are firm, have no bruising or wrinkling on the skin. Apples are best stored at cool temperatures ~ 35 degrees F with high humidity away from other produce since they can speed up the ripening of other fruits. They can be stored ~6-8 weeks in the crisper draw of the refrigerator in a paper bag or can also be stored in a box, individually wrapped in paper towel or a newspaper, in a cool spot in the home such as an unheated basement, garage or cool pantry.
Apples stored on the countertop or table will ripen faster and should be consumed within a few days. If you cut an apple but can’t finish it, drizzle some lemon juice over the apple to prevent browning and put in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1-2 days.
Some ways to enjoy apples are:
Apple slices paired with cheese, nuts, or spread with either nut butter or sunflower seed butter
Chopped and added to salad
Sliced apple added to a sandwich for extra crunch
Baked in breads, muffins, pies and tarts