You’ve probably heard that eating apples are good for you but do you know these apple facts that will tempt even the most standoffish of fruit lovers.
Apples Are Great for Eating, Cooking and Storing
Whether red, gold, or green, apples are are eaten by the millions each day. They are considered a smart food and packed with nutrition, plus they are low in calories and high in soluble fiber.
Furthermore, apples are a super choice for eating or as part of a cooked dessert or even as a key ingredient of a main dish. And, with so many varieties, one cannot go wrong with choosing apples. They are simply a best fruit, no matter how you slice or dice it.
Still which is the best apple for eating and cooking? The answers can be found in the following sections. There you will learn which apples are great for eating, which ones are great for baking, and you will learn how best to store your apples so that they last a long time–that is, if you or your loved ones don’t get to them first!
Apples Are a Smart Food All Year-Round
Interestingly, apple varieties grow and mature at different times, which make apples a smart food to eat year-round. Despite the variables that affect this fruit, apples are usually available and shipped from various countries around the world, making them one of the most accessible fruits you can eat.
Variables that Affect Apple Production
Among the well-known variables, climate, temperature, and rainfall play an important role in determining how successful an apple crop is from one year to the next. These variables can also affect an apple’s size and even an apple tree’s total production. Add inclement weather and apple trees will not thrive as well. Too cold or too hot and apple production will also be affected negatively.
Yet despite this, it is nice to know that apples are grown all over the world. This means that if a year is bad for apples locally, grocers can purchase apples from an area elsewhere in the United States or around the world that does have apples regardless of the seasonal changes.
And because of its versatility and stability, apples can be shipped for long distances. For consumers, this is advantageous because they have the opportunity and the luxury of buying apples all year round.
Best Apples for Eating
People are fond of saying this old adage: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” As a best eating option, you can’t beat apples. A small to medium apple, is about 80 calories. And, as mentioned before, apples provide soluble fiber which aides in digestion–definitely a healthy choice.
Nutritionally sound, apples are packed with potassium and small amounts of vitamins C and A and B, as well as a host of minerals, including calcium and iron. Taking all of this into consideration, apples can’t be beat!
Still, if you were to ask someone what makes the best eating apple, you would get a different answer each time. Some apples are tart, others are sweet, and still others are a little bit of both. Nevertheless, there is an apple for everyone. Check out these top ten best eating apples:
- Honeycrisp (sweet)
- Fuji (sweet)
- Jonathan (tart)
- Golden Delicious (sweet)
- Cortland (semi-sweet)
- Empire (sweet)
- Red Delicious (sweet)
- McIntosh (mild, tart)
- Braeburn (Sweet, subtly, tart)
- Granny Smith (Tart, subtly sweet)
How to Make Candy Apples [Video]
There Are Many Ways to Slice an Apple
For creating quick slices, this is the perfect tool to do this quick and efficiently. Sturdy handles and by pushing downward makes slices with ease.
I love this tool because it both peels, cores and slices. You can easily make consistent slices within seconds. You’ll be able to get through a lot of apples using this tool. HINT: You can use this to peel, core and slice potatoes too.
Apple corers are perfect for preparing baked apples. Using downward pressure and with a twist, you can core your apples with ease.
Best Apples for Baking
Truth be told, almost all apples can be eaten raw. Yet there are a number of varieties of apples that are better suited for baking and boiling. What makes baking apples different from, say, the eating apples is that these varieties can stand up to higher temperatures.
What this means for you is that when you bake an apple pie using a baking apple, for example, the apples won’t turn to mush but will hold their shape despite the heat from the oven .
Listed are 10 varieties of apples that should be considered when baking. They are in no set order. One thing to note is that each variety bakes differently. For example, the more versatile apple, Golden Delicious, can be used for both apple pie and apple sauce, while the Granny Smith is better for baking but too tart for apple sauce.
One suggestion for all apple aficionados is to try the different apple varieties and see what works best for your recipe. Or, you can also mix and match. This is sometimes a great idea when you want the option to have different “tastes” in your cooking (i.e., tart and sweet).
Here are the top 10 apples for baking:
- Jonathan and Jonagolds
- Honey Crisp
- Granny Smith
- Golden Delicious
- Ida Red
Table: Harvest Time for Apples-Top Varieties in Midwest U.S.
Approximate Harvest Time
Mid to Late October
Apple Care and Storage
You might not know this, but apples are also known for their longevity. The thick outer skin and the firm flesh, allows for this fruit to be kept for a long time in the refrigerator if you follow a couple best practices:
- Keep apples damp and cold. If you can sprinkle yours first with a little water and put them in a sealed, zipped-locked bag, they will remain crisper, longer.
- If you want to keep your apples out on the countertop for the family to snack on, the apples will not last as long as if they were in the refrigerator and will only have a shelf-life of about a week or two.
- Whole apples do not freeze well. If you have a large number of apples and want to freeze them for pies or apple sauce, you will need to peel and core them, as well as adding a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice before putting the apples in a tightly sealed ziplock freezer bag. Adding sugar is optional, but suggested as sometimes the apples taste better with a little sugar. (Apple Hint: When using your thawed, sugared apples in a pie or apple sauce, you can cut back on the required amount of sugar when including the them in your favorite recipe.)
- The best temperature to store your apples in the refrigerator is 33 degrees F.
- It is always a good habit to wash your apple before eating. Regardless of whether your apples are farmed organic or not, your apples will have been handled a number of times. This isn’t a big deal. Just use a “veggie wash” or just rinse it well under cool running water, scrubbing the outer skin gently.
Here are the top five (5) apple varieties for storage:
- Honey Crisp. These have the best-refrigerated life expectancy. Just be sure to sprinkle them with water before you place them in a plastic bag, and they will last as long as six months. But because they are so delicious, they probably won’t last that long.
- Ida Reds. These come in second. They are excellent for apple pie and have a tart flavor. They will last about four months in refrigerator.
- McIntosh apples. These are an all-around good choice. They last about three to four months in the refrigerator. McIntosh apples are super for applesauce and a good substitute for making apple pie.
- Cortland apples. These last about three months in your refrigerator. They are semi-sweet and are excellent in apple pies. If you don’t have any McIntosh for applesauce, this is a great substitution.
- Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples. These two varieties tie when it comes to storage times. They’ll last about two to three month in your refrigerator. But, when it comes to apple pie and applesauce, they are both excellent choices.
More Ways to Eat an Apple
Finally, it doesn’t do any good to just look at an apple, although they are pretty in a bunch. Even so, check out these delectable cookbooks that focus only on apples.
Here you will find more delicious ways to prepare healthy recipes using this fruit.
Books are from Amazon.com. (Affiliate Link)
Copyright © 2012-2015 by Deb Melian, Dial M for Moms, www.dialmformoms.com All rights reserved.
ABOUT AUTHOR: Deborah L Melian is a Midwestern Mom, Foodie and Crafter and Product Reviewer. When she isn't writing on her two websites: DialMforMoms.com and DialBforBooks.com, you will find her sharing more tips and ideas on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, GOOGLE+ and INSTAGRAM