Whether you’re cooking, baking or just plain snacking, there’s an apple for you.
By Lisa James
Perhaps poet Robert Frost could write “I have had too much of apple-picking,” but his opinion doesn’t hold much weight among the fruit-consuming public. According to the US Apple Association, the country’s growers produce about 50 pounds of fresh and processed fruit per person every year. Apples’ taste and versatility help explain their popularity, along with their well-deserved reputation as a healthy alternative to candy, chips and other snacks.
Relatively few of the nearly 100 commercial apple varieties account for most of this abundance. Each not only provides a slightly different flavor and texture but is also better suited to some usages than others. Here’s the top five:
• Red Delicious features a mildly sweet crunch and a deep red skin. The classic snacking apple, it also goes well in salads.
• Gala, a New Zealand variety, features a reddish-pink color. Besides being suitable for snacks and salads, this juicy, very sweet apple also freezes well.
• Golden Delicious, another old-fashioned variety like the Red, has crisp, pale flesh that resists browning. This makes it a kitchen all-star, as suitable for baking and saucing as it is for out-of-hand eating.
• Granny Smith, a green variety, is famous for its crisp, tart flesh. It is suitable for all uses.
• Fuji is, as its name suggests, a native of Japan. Sporting a yellow-red skin, its sweet crispness makes it excellent for snacking, salads and freezing, but it can also be used for pies and sauce.
Conventional apple growing often involves pesticides, so try to find organic apples whenever possible. Some growers practice integrated pest management (IPM), which tries to minimize chemical usage by relying more on biological pest controls.
Apples last to six weeks when refrigerated and kept away from strong-smelling foods. Use a mixture of one part lemon juice to three parts water when slicing or chopping apples to keep them from turning brown.
Whether you are looking for a quick snack or a versatile ingredient, it’s time to pick apples for your family’s table. —Lisa James
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 cup lowfat milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped Golden
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and allspice in a large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg; stir only until ingredients are blended. Fold in apples and nuts (if using).
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease 12 muffin cups and pour in batter until almost full. Bake about 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Yields 12. Analysis per muffin: 157 calories, 4g protein, 6g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber, 24g carbohydrate, 122 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission (www.bestapples.com)
1 acorn squash (about 1 lb)
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp melted butter
2 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
dash ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1-quart baking dish.
2. Halve squash and remove seeds; cut into quarters. Place quarters, skin side up, in dish and cover; bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Turn squash cut side up and top with apple mixture. Cover and bake 30 minutes longer or until apples are tender.
Serves 4. Analysis per serving: 88 calories, 1g protein, 3g fat, 3g fiber, 17g carbohydrate, 24 mg sodium
Recipe courtesy of the washington apple commission (www.bestapples.com)