Many of you may have heard the familiar saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Although this may not be entirely true, the fall months are a great time to add more apples to your diet. Apples are in season August through October. During their season apples are more flavorful when bought locally and cost less. Apples are a good source of Vitamin C and a great way to add more fiber to our diet. Unpeeled apples have twice the fiber as a peeled apple and are richer in antioxidants. So when you can, keep those peels on and you just might save yourself a trip to the doctor!
There are thousands of apple varieties worldwide. Although there are fewer varieties available locally, it can still be difficult deciding which apple to use for which recipe. In general there are three main categories of apples: Eating, cooking, and all-purpose.
Crisp, crunchy, juicy apples such as Fuji, Gala, or Red Delicious are best for just eating. When cooked, eating apples lose a lot of their flavor and turn to mush.
Firm, tart apples hold their shape better in high heat and are better for cooking. These would include Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Rome Beauties.
All-purpose apples like Braeburn, Jonathan, McIntosh, and Pink Lady, can be eaten plain but tend to be slightly mushier when cooked.
Regardless of which type of apple you are choosing, there are some general guidelines on how to pick a good apple. Choose firm apples that are heavy for their size. They should have a smooth surface without any soft spots or holes. Some apples may have brownish freckles on the skin. This is usually caused by weather and does not affect the flavor. Larger apples are usually more mealy than small ones. If possible, buy organic apples when you can. Commercial apples are prone to bacteria, fungi, and viruses, making them one of the top chemically treated fruits.