Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It’s Apple Season!

It is Apple Season! These days, there are so many varieties of apples available that you may be wondering which variety to buy.  Which apple is best for a specific use, how to store apples for best quality, or how many apples are in a pound or bushel?

Apples are considered a great snack food as an average sized apple contains about 90 calories and is about 85% water. That makes them thirst quenching and a quick energy provider with their natural sugars, plus the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.  They also make a great portable snack; take one along to work, school, or when you are running errands.

Apples may be displayed in a fruit bowl at room temperature for a short period of time but that will dramatically reduce their usable life. Apples will last the longest when kept close to 32 degrees. For most of us that would mean the refrigerator. Apples stored near 32 degrees in perforated plastic bags or covered containers will last 8-10 times longer than if stored at room temperature.

Here are some fun apple math facts:

3 medium sized apples equal approximately 1 pound
Pared and sliced, 1 pound apples yields 2 3/4 cups
A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds
A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
A bushel of apples will yield 15 – 20 quarts of applesauce
The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven.
·         Granny Smith apples are generally thought of as the go-to baking apples but there are others that hold up well under heat and balance the sweet-tart flavor.

·         The crisp texture of the Honey Crisp apple will hold firm when baked or caramelized.
·         Pink Lady apples will retain a distinct shape when diced and added to coffee cake or muffins. 
·         Jonathans are tart and tangy and have been pie favorites for many years.
·         Red Delicious are not good for baking. They are mild-flavored, sweet, and juicy.
·         Other apples good for eating fresh are Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn.  These apples also work well in salads.
Enjoy apple season this year and have fun experimenting with different variety combinations in your baking. Following is a favorite apple recipe. Enjoy.

Fruit Crisp

4 cups apples (peeled and sliced) or 1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches in light syrup or juice, drained

1/2 cup quick or old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour

1/3 cup white or brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup margarine or butter, cold (cut into chunks)

1/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or spray with cooking spray the bottom of an 8” round or square pan. Spread sliced apples or drained peaches over bottom of pan. Stir together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the margarine using a pastry cutter, knives, or by squeezing through your clean hands. (It will be easier to spread on the fruit with smaller chunks.) Add dried fruit or nuts, if desired. Sprinkle flour mixture over fruit. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until topping is golden and fruit is bubbly.

Source: Iowa State University’s Spend Smart, Eat Smart

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