By: Whole Foods Market®
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SIGN UPIf an apple a day seems improbable, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at this fruit’s versatility. From sandwiches to salads and sweet to savory, apples can easily be incorporated into meals all day long.
Apples are far more than a perfect snack in a naturally portable package. They are especially tasty in baking because they pair well with the flavors of vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace, cardamom, clove and other spices. They also create a deliciously sweet flavor contrast when paired with savory flavors like rosemary, sage and lemon. Apples complement pork, winter squash and bitter greens and offset a range of cheeses, particularly cow’s milk cheeses, pungent washed rind cheeses and many blue cheeses. What’s more, a large apple is an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of vitamin C.
Selecting & Storage
Although many apple varieties are available year round, late summer through fall is peak season for most types. With more than 7,000 varieties of apples cultivated worldwide, you could taste a different one every day for more than 19 years and never eat the same kind twice! Here are a few options to try:
Gala. Mildly sweet and fragrant, this variety is a good choice for snacking, drying and making applesauce or salads.
Fuji. Extra crisp and sweet, these are a good pick for snacking, baking and for salads.
Honeycrisp. Crisp, sweet, slightly tart and aromatic, this popular variety is terrific for snacking, baking, cooking and salads. They are only in season for a limited time — get them while you can!
Sweetango. Marked by their crispness and sweet-tart flavor, choose this variety for snacking, cooking and salads.
Granny Smith. Crunch, tart and juicy Granny Smiths are often used for snacking, baking, juicing and making applesauce and salads.
Braeburn. This variety is crisp, firm, sweet, tangy, juicy and aromatic and a delicious choice for snacking, baking and poaching.
Cameo. Sweet-tart and firm, cameos are good for snacking, baking and making applesauce.
Jonagold. Characterized by its crispness and juicy honeyed sweetness, this is a great option for snacking, baking and cooking.
Red Delicious. Known for being juicy and very sweet, these are good for snacking, salads and juicing.
Golden Delicious. Firm, very sweet, juicy, these apples are a good choice for snacking and baking.
No matter which variety you choose, look for apples that feel firm, smooth and heavy for their size, with no bruises or wrinkling on the skin.
Store apples in a bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. As apples ripen, they give off ethylene gas, which shortens the storage life of some other vegetables, so keep them in their own compartment. For the same reason, you can use apples to ripen avocados and bananas more quickly by placing them in a paper bag together.
6 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF APPLES
- Sliced. A Fresh Take on Apple Pie focuses on the flavors of fresh apples rather than baked.
- Diced. Add diced apples to salads and slaws, fold them into muffin and bread batters or sprinkle them over grain salads. Try diced Granny Smiths in this Creamy Apple, Celery and Grape Salad or Galas in this Chard with Bacon and Apple side dish.
- Puréed. Simple to make, applesauce pairs with breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. This applesauce recipe uses two types of apples and the sugar is optional.
- Stewed. Make a tasty topping for waffles and pancakes or stir them into your morning yogurt or oatmeal.
- Stuffed. Bake one filled with cranberries and almonds.
- Dried. Dried Apple Slices make a delicious after-school snack.
For healthy eating tips, hundreds of recipes, cooking techniques, meal plans and more, visit Whole Foods Market’s Healthy Eating resources.