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How 'Bout Them Apples?

Everything you need to know to enjoy this fabulous fall fruit.

There’s new evidence attesting to the old adage: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Recent studies show that a daily dose of the fruit can help reduce the risks of colon cancer, stroke and heart disease. Apples are one of three foods (including red wine and pears) that have been found to reduce the risks of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women. They’re a great way to promote weight loss, too: A medium apple contains zero fat and cholesterol, and about 5 grams of fiber (more than most cereals) that helps aid digestion.

For maximum health benefits, don’t peel your apples. Two-thirds of the fiber and a wealth of antioxidants are found in the skin. Nearly half of the vitamin C lies directly underneath the peel.

Fall is harvest time for most apples. Dozens of varieties are available to suit every taste and culinary purpose. The following are some of the popular and widely available varieties.

·         Fuji — Dense, crisp and sweetly tart. Stores well and is excellent for eating fresh, using in salads and making applesauce.

·         Gala — Aromatic, crisp and juicy. Good for eating fresh, salads and pairing with soft, mild cheeses.

·         Golden Delicious — Sweet and juicy. Has a firm, crisp flesh that is good for eating fresh, baking and cooking.

·         Granny Smith — Bright green and tart with a crisp, sour apple flavor. Not good for applesauce unless you add a lot of sugar.

·         Honeycrisp —  Sweet and aromatic. Good for eating fresh and in pies and baking.

·         Jonathan — Small- to medium-size apples, slightly tart, crisp, tender, slightly aromatic. Has dark or bright red skins. Good all-purpose fruit for eating, cooking and baking.

·         McIntosh — Red-on-green fruit; crisp and aromatic. Excellent to eat fresh in the fall. Best in sauce. Do not do well when baked or used in pies.

·         Red Delicious — Crisp, juicy, low-acid fruit. Is fine for eating fresh soon after harvesting, but is often mushy and mealy in the long term. Recommended for salads and fruit cups.

·         Rome Beauty — Mild-flavored apple best for cooking and baking.

·         Winesap — This tart fruit is a good all-purpose apple for cooking and eating.

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