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Apples have a long recorded history of consumption throughout civilization, most likely originating in an area called the Caucasus, a mountainous region between what is now the Caspian and Black Seas. With over 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide, apples are one of the most popular fruits around the globe. About 2,500 known varieties of apples are grown in the United States alone. From over 100 types known to be produced commercially, fifteen popular varieties account for 90% of annual U.S. production. The average American consumes an estimated 17 pounds of fresh apples and 29 pounds of processed apples, for a total of approximately 46 pounds of apple products per year.
In Colorado, apples are most commonly available from mid-August through mid-October, with storage lasting until June. With apple orchards located in both the Eastern and Western parts of the state, Coloradoans have access to apples and apple products at a variety of locations and markets. Local apples are available almost year round due to industry use of controlled atmosphere storage.
|Gala||Red-orange with yellow stripes||Sweet Crisp||Good||Very Good||Good|
|Fuji||Red blush with green and yellow stripes||Sweet, Spicy Crisp||Very Good||Good||Good|
|Honey Crisp||Yellow with blush||Mildly Tart, Sweet Flavor||Excellent||Good||Good|
|Braeburn||Yellow w/ red stripes or blush||Very Firm||Fair||Good||Good|
|Jonagold||Bright red and Gold||Sweet Tart Firm||Very Good||Good||Very Good|
|Granny Smith||Green, sometimes with pink blush||Tart Crisp||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Jonathan||Light red stripes over yellow or deep red||Moderately Tart||Very Good||Excellent||Very Good|
|Red Delicious||Striped to solid red||Sweet Crisp||Good||Fair||Not Recommended|
|Golden Delicious||Yellow-green, pink blush||Sweet Crisp||Excellent||Very Good||Very Good|
Apples are a delicious, nutritious way to boost consumption of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. Apples are fat free and high in fiber. Apples contain natural fruit sugars, mainly fructose. The high fiber content of an apple allows sugars to be released slowly, maintaining healthy blood glucose levels and warding off hunger. Apples are high in Vitamin C and a variety of other disease fighting antioxidants.
Choose apples with the following characteristics:
*Bruised apples are good for making apple sauce and pies. Bruised or "less perfect" apples are called seconds and can often be purchased from a grower at a lower cost.
An apple continues to live and respire, even after it is picked. Although respiration cannot be halted completely, cooling apples postharvest can extend their shelf life. Bruising is the most common defect in apples; handle fruit with care to avoid soft spots. Always wash apples before eating or preparing. Apples are threatened by over 40 types of insects; therefore many orchards practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Rinsing apples with fresh water also reduces the potential for foodborne illness.
Apples keep best when stored in the refrigerator in the fruit drawer. At home, apples can last from 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator. Commercially, apples may be stored in a controlled atmosphere with an oxygen content lowered from 21% to 2.5% and the carbon dioxide content increased from 0.25% to 2-5%. With this type of storage, apples maintain their freshness for up to 12 months.
Select mature, firm apples. Wash well. Pare and core. Cut in rings or slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, or cut in quarters or eighths. Dip in 50/50 water and lemon juice solution for 10 minutes. Remove from solution and drain well. Arrange in a single layer on trays. Dry in dehydrator or oven set at 140°F until soft, pliable, and leathery, with no moistness in center.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
6 cups of sliced, peeled apples
1/4 c water
1/3 c sugar (adjust to taste)
Cinnamon to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients in 2-quart microwave safe baking dish. Cover and microwave on high power 6 to 8 minutes. Using a food processor or blender, blend the cooked mixture to the desired consistency. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Apples brown due to a compound called polyphenoloxidase. When an apple is cut, these compounds are released from the cell and cause a browning reaction on the fruit. The more Vitamin C the apple contains, the less the browning may occur. Dipping apple slices in a solution of 50% water and 50% Vitamin C rich lemon juice will help prevent extensive browning and can help maintain crispness.
Drinking fresh apple cider, especially if homemade, is a delicious way to enjoy your apples throughout the fall and winter months. However, fresh or unpasteurized apple juice or cider can cause foodborne illness from bacteria found on fallen apples. Follow this simple guide from the University of Georgia for safe methods to making apple cider.