A is for Apple

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A is for Apple

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

October is the height of Apple season in our Georgia and North Carolina mountains. Dotted along the Blue Ridge Parkway you’ll find roadside stands selling local varieties.  For our Georgia Mountains, it’s the Fuji and Pink Lady that taste the sweetest right now.  PYO (Pick Your Own) farms offer the perfect backpack snack for day hikers on the Appalachian Trail and since 25% of an apples volume is air, they don’t add too much weight to a hikers pack!

There are over 2500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.  Every region of the country has it’s own distinct varieties.  We encourage you to buy local produce.  Supporting local growers helps preserve the family farm.  By purchasing produce locally you are sure to be putting the most nutritious food on your family’s dinner table.  Now…how about them apples.

Selecting:
Select firm and bright colored fruit with smooth and shiny skin. Avoid bruised, soft or shriveled fruit. Apples should have a fresh scent. The color of the apple depends on the variety, from yellow to red. Also, the sweetness or tartness ranges on the variety as well. Try never to buy bagged apples on sale. Did you know that apples arrive at stores preserved with nitrogen?  Once the nitrogen seal is broken, the apples have approximately 23 days before they go bad.  Many grocers bag apples for quick sale after about the 20 day mark. 

Storing:
Keep at room temperature for a few days. Place unwashed fruit in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a longer period of time. If you prefer crisp apples, then apples will maintain their crispness better in the refrigerator. If refrigerating, store them in a clean plastic bag. Close the bag with a twist-tie and make a dozen holes in the bag. This allows ethylene gas to escape but also helps the apples retain moisture. Store apples in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 months. Check them often and remove any decayed apples. It is true, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch!

Nutritional Information:
Eating apples can in fact keep the doctor away! Apples are: fat free; saturated fat free; sodium free; cholesterol free; and an excellent source of fiber. Apples also help boost good cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. They work as an appetite suppressant, and contain flavonoids that are cancer-fighting antioxidants.Apples are high in Vitamins A and C, and because of their high fiber content, apples help to relieve constipation.

Yield:
1 lb. apples = 2 large apples or 3 medium apples
1 lb. apples = 1-1/3 cups applesauce
2.5 lb. fresh apples = filling for one 9-inch pie
1 lb. dried apples = 8 cups cooked apples

Most Common Varieties:

Golden Delicious has a firm white flesh and sweet crisp flavor. It is the preferred “all purpose” cooking apple since it retains its shape and rich flavor when baked or cooked. Golden Delicious are good for fresh salads and their skin is so tender and they don’t require peeling for most recipes.

Fuji’s were bred from a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties in Japan. Spicy, crisp sweetness and firm flesh make it an excellent variety for fresh eating. It’s also good in baking. Fuji flavor improves in storage like fine wine. Fuji skin color varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red. 

Gala is most peoples favorite fresh eating apples. It’s flavor ranges from sweet to tart. Gala is just the right size apple for snacking.  It is also good for baking.

Granny Smith has crisp mouth-watering tartness. It’s tartness is heightened when baked or sauteed.  It is the preferred apple pie apple.  Can be refrigerated for up to 240 days.

Winesap is the old-fashioned apple flavor. Winesap has a spicy almost wine-like flavor that makes it the cider maker’s first choice. The Winesap is a merlot wine colored apple, almost to a violet color.

Rome is a mild flavored apple whose flavor increases when baked. Rome apples have a bright red skin and sweet flesh. 

McIntosh is a crisp tart and sweet apple. It is a good all purpose cooking apple, but doesn’t hold up well to any long cooking process. 

Red Delicious are the beautiful apples. Large elongated apples with 5 perfect knobs at the base.  A rich red in color and juicy sweet. They are recommended for eating by hand and are not suited well for cooking.

Apples aren’t just for pies!
Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake from Georgia
Moppin Chicken Stuffed with Brie and Apples
Smokey Apple Cinnamon Meatloaf
Apple and Grilled Chicken Pizza
Outrageous Caramel Apples
Donna’s Candied Apples
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Casserole
Apple Dumplings

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