There are lots of varieties of apples that come in all shades of reds, greens and yellows. Now apples are popping up in the stores and farmers markets and some are labeled with unfamiliar names. Each variety has its own unique taste and characteristics.
To get the best value for your dollar is important to be literate about the many varieties of apples, how to select, and the best way to store apples.
Here are a few varieties harvested in October. First are the Mutsu/Crispin varieties. They are sweet yet just a bit tart, great for snacking or baking. A second and not-so-familiar variety is the braeburn. They are sweet, yet when baked, they retain their shape, unlike some that cook down quickly. One last variety is the cameo. These are best for snacking as they are a cross between red and yellow delicious varieties.
Whichever type strikes your fancy, choose apples that are firm, without soft or bruised spots or wrinkled skin, and have a pleasant smell. Always wash apples with cold water before eating. Some apples are waxed to preserve freshness and increase storage time. It is best to leave the peel on as it contains a gram of fiber and half the vitamin C in an apple.
When storing apples, it’s best to store in a cold place. To keep apples crisp, keep them cold. Most like the refrigerator as 34 degrees is ideal. Apples ripen 8 to 10 times faster at room temperature.
Also, place apples in a ventilated plastic bag or hydrator drawer to prevent them from absorbing other food flavors.
If you cut an apple and want to prevent browning, just sprinkle a few drops of lemon or orange juice. All cut fruit should be refrigerated within two hours.
There are a wide variety of apples grown in Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit www.pennsylvaniaapples.org.
Here is an easy way to enjoy a baked apple. You only need a microwave!
Microwave Baked Apple
1 apple, medium with core removed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
Nonfat butter spray or olive oil spray
Place apple on plate with opening facing up (cored apples should have bottom intact). Stir sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a separate cup, and sprinkle into and onto apple.
Sprinkle raisins on and around apple.
Spray with nonfat butter spray or olive oil spray
Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper.
Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Let sit outside of microwave for at least 30 seconds before eating. It will be hot.
Top with vanilla yogurt for a great snack or dessert. Enjoy!
• Add chopped apples to your favorite sandwich
• Add chopped apples to your favorite salad recipe
• Add apples and sliced cabbage to sauerkraut when heating (takes the bite away)
• Add sliced apples onto top of pork chops when baking
Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at [email protected]