Harvest of the Month: Apples

As the cooler months of fall approach, it’s the perfect time to include apples as part of a healthy diet. Apples peak during the fall, and the crisp, tart flavor ties in nicely with the season. If there is an apple orchard in your area, taking an afternoon to pick apples is a great way to create family memories and stock up on apples for the season. When you get home, use the crop to make fresh applesauce, or share a bag or two with your friends and neighbors. Apples are also a portable, easy-to-eat snack that can be included in school or work lunches.

How to Select

Look for firm fruits with rich color. There are several types of apples to choose from, so decide whether you want a sweeter or more tart fruit based on your plans to enjoy them cooked or raw. Keep in mind that Red and Golden Delicious apples are among the sweetest apples. Braeburn and Fuji apples are slightly tart, and Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture well during cooking.

How to Store

Apples can be stored for a relatively long amount of time (3 to 4 months). Storing them in the refrigerator can help minimize loss of nutrients. The saying “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” is true. Bruised apples damage other apples by releasing ethylene gas. It’s important to handle apples carefully and remove any damaged ones from those being stored in bulk.

How to Prepare

Apple skin is high in nutrients, so even if the recipe you’re using requires peeled apples, consider leaving the skins for their nutritional value. Thoroughly rinse the entire apple under a stream of pure water while gently scrubbing the skin with a natural bristle brush for 10-15 seconds to remove any pesticide residues or other contaminants. Prevent apple slices from browning by putting them in a bowl of water with a spoonful of lemon juice. Sliced apples freeze well in plastic bags or containers for use in future recipes.

Try this recipe for homemade applesauce.

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