BY KIM HUGHES –
As you stroll through the produce section you’ll notice the many varieties of apples. You might see the ever popular, familiar Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Yellow Delicious. But what about those you might not be familiar with, like the Braeburn, Winesap, Fugi, Rome, or even Jonathon.
Apples should be stored in a dry, cool place for up to 1 week. If stored in the refrigerator they should retain their quality for about 1 month.
There are over 2,500 apple varieties grown in the United States and available on the market today. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth, or crisp and crunchy, depending upon the one you choose.
Braeburn is great for snacks and salads. It has high impact flavor and blends sweetness and tartness. It’s good in baking, applesauce and for freezing.
Fuji’s crisp sweetness and firm flesh make it an excellent eating apple. It’s equally good in baking and is a favorite for applesauce. Fuji store well and the flavor improves in storage.
Gala are crunchy, with a flavor that is sweet and tart with elements of tropical fruit that make these apples versatile and able to be paired with bold flavors. They can be put in salads, paired with poultry and served as a main dish, or boiled down to make savory sauces.
Golden Delicious can be enjoyed fresh or for baking. Add them to green salads, fruit salads or grain salads. Or bake them into crisps, crumbles, tarts, cakes, and breads. These pair well with savory items as well, such as cheese, onions, cabbages, and pork.
Granny Smith is green, tart, juicy, and crisp. An all-around apple excellent for pies, sauces, baking, freezing, snacking and salads, it is thought to have descended from an Australian grandmother named Maria Ann Smith.
Honeycrisp’s crisp yet juicy flesh has a sweet yet slightly tart flavor making it great for salads, baking, cooking or snacking.
Pink Lady has a firm, crisp, tangy-tart, sweet flavor and is great for baking and snacking.
Arkansas Black will keep up to four months in cold storage and improve in flavor and texture. The color is a vivid red to dark purple with golden hued flesh and a juicy fine grained, crisp texture. It can be baked, sautéed, roasted, and juiced to make cider and jams.
Regardless of the variety you buy, apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the lining of blood vessel walls, while the insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract.
When eating out of hand, eat apples with the skin on to increase your insoluble fiber content. Also almost half the vitamin C content is just below the skin. So peeling your apple means peeling away great nutritional benefits.
Get your free copy of Arkansas Fresh Apples by contacting the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture in Polk County at 211 DeQueen Street, Mena.