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Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cool, crisp mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons. Haze is usually less this time of year. Sometimes, it seems you can almost see forever on a sunny fall day. Another reason I like fall is because of one of my favorite fruits, the apple. Who doesn’t enjoy hot apple cider to warm the insides on a cool fall day. On my birthday, each December, my wife Carole already knows what I want for dessert, apple dumplings! She makes the best!
Don’t forget to join the community celebration of the Apple Festival this coming Saturday and Sunday in Bedford (September 10-11, 2011). There will be lots of food, crafts and entertainment for everyone! And there will be apples too.
You will find a wide selection of tasty apples at local roadside markets in the coming weeks including Melrose (great apple dumplings), Cortland, Jonathan, Red Delicious, Golden delicious, Mutsu, Stayman, Ida Red, Rome, Fuji, and Braeburn. Local grocery stores may also have Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and a few other apple varieties available to the consumer.
Apples are a very versatile fruit and can be used for snacking, salads, pies, sauce, baking and freezing. However, some apple varieties are better suited to specific uses. For example, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples are recommended for all uses, from snacking to baking and freezing. While I really enjoy the taste of Golden Delicious, I have never developed much of a taste for Granny Smith. But, that is just me. You may differ in your own preferences.
Apples possess many potential health benefits. They contain phyto-chemicals that play a role in decreasing heart disease, controlling diabetes, and reducing the risk of cancer. The majority of the apples’ disease fighting factors are in the skin. A medium size apple has about 75 calories and is a good source of fiber which aids digestion. The apple is also low in sodium and high in potassium, and it tastes great! Apples are also low in fat and are cholesterol free.
When selecting apples, UK Extension and USDA specialists recommend consumers choose firm, crisp, well colored fruit. Avoid fruit that is soft or shriveled skin, bruises or worm holes. Handle apples gently to avoid bruising. Use apples that have blemishes or bruises as soon as possible. Once apples are ripe, they will keep a week or longer in the refrigerator vegetable drawer or plastic bag.
For more information about apples and their specific uses, contact the Trimble County Extension Office at 502-255-7188.
Michael Pyles is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture.