Apple Time!


Apples grow in nearly every state in the Union. Buy fresh ones from local orchards and enjoy their juiciness and crisp texture.

By FamilyTime

 

The apple is probably America’s best-loved fruit. We eat them raw, baked, fried, and covered with sweet caramel. We slip apples into lunch sacks and encourage our kids to munch on them after school. Apple juice is as familiar as milk to most households.

In the fall, we eagerly buy fresh-pressed cider from farmstands and apple orchards and drink it icy cold or hot and mulled. And now that the crisp, cool days of the season are upon us, enjoy local apples! 

Know Your Apples
More than 7,000 varieties of apples grow in the world, although most are unknown to consumers. Sample the apples from local orchards because, without doubt, fresh apples are better than any others.

When you can’t find freshly harvested fruit at a local farmstand or orchard, turn to the supermarket or green grocer for apples.

The most popular apples in the United States are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, and McIntosh. These are all good and thanks to the efficiency of modern transport and refrigeration, are available nearly all year long.

The largest crops come from cooler regions, with Washington State and New York producing the most apples. These are harvested in the fall and winter, so now is the time to begin looking for the best apples these states offer.

Selecting, Storing, and Preparing Apples
Some apples are red and shiny, some green, and others golden. Whatever your preference, choose fruit with unbroken skin and no visible brown or soft spots.

Unless you are going to eat them in a day or two, store apples in the refrigerator for a week or longer. Held at room temperature, they continue to ripen.

While the skin is edible, many recipes call for peeled apples. Use a vegetable peeler or small sharp knife to remove the skin. Some apple lovers derive pleasure trying to peel the entire apple in a single long spiral. (Remember Meg Ryan’s character doing so in Sleepless in Seattle?)

Apples need to be cored. Use a special apple coring tool (sold in supermarkets and kitchenware shops) or simply cut the flesh away from the center of the fruit with a small knife.

Apple flesh darkens when exposed to air. To prevent this, sprinkle peeled and sliced apples with lemon juice or a little vinegar.

Apples at a Glance
Following are brief descriptions of some of the more popular apples sold.

Cortland: These are tart red apples with firm, bright white flesh, best for eating out of hand or for making in applesauce.

Gala: Developed in New Zealand, these sweet apples are crisp and juicy with yellow skin. Eat them raw or gently sauté them.

Golden Delicious: While these golden-skinned apples are good eaten raw, their firmness, sweetness, and juiciness make them great for baking and cooking.

Granny Smith: Bright green with firm white flesh, these are good eaten raw, baked, and sautéed.

McIntosh: Macs have bright red skin and white flesh. Good for applesauce, they are most often eaten raw.

Pippin: The best-known pippin apples are the Newtown pippins. They have pale green or yellow skin and a tartness that makes them favorites for pies.

Red Delicious: These look like Snow White’s apple – but do not always taste as good as they should. Long storage makes them mushy. Buy them in season for eating raw and for applesauce.