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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.

Apple Storage

Apples will ripen six to 10  times faster at room temperature than refrigerated. Most apples will keep two weeks in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Granny Smith and Fuji apples will keep a bit longer.

Store apples in a plastic bag in the refrigerator away from strong-odored foods such as cabbage or onions.

Cooking and Baking With Apples

They are extremely versatile and available for a good part of the year. Besides eating them out of hand, apples are delicious in breads, in crisps, in apple butter, baked and sautéed as a side dish. For a low-calorie appetizer or snack, replace crackers with apples and slices of cheese.

Rub cut apples with lemon juice to keep slices from turning brown.

Three medium-sized apples weigh about 1 pound.

A pound of apples, cored and sliced, measures about 4 1/2 cups.

Buy about 2 pounds of whole apples for a 9-inch pie.

One large apple, cored and processed through a food grinder or processor, makes about 1 cup of ground apple for applesauce.

The following are some tasty recipes to help ensure that you can get your daily apple intake.

Roast Quail With Apple and Calvados
Chicken or game hens can easily be substituted for quail in this low-calorie dish.

Curried Chicken and Apple Stew Over Basmati Rice
Use one of the excellent canned curry sauces widely found in markets everywhere and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

Braised Red Cabbage With Apple
Red cabbage benefits from long slow cooking. Serve this dish with roasted meats or game.

Shaved Fennel, Green Apple and Pecorino Romano Salad
A good quality olive oil is important to the success of this simple salad.

Fennel, Carrot and Apple Slaw
This light and healthy side dish is great with grilled meats.

Cheddar, Ham and Apple Panini
A dollop of mango chutney will add pizzazz to an already winning combination of ingredients.

American Apple Pie
This dessert is delicious served plain, or topped with vanilla ice cream.

German Apple Cake
A thick, moist cake complemented by a crunchy streusel topping. Make ahead and freeze for up to six months.

Spiced Baked Apple With Walnuts
The aroma of apples and cinnamon will warm your winter kitchen. Leftovers can be reheated and served with a little cream.

Creamy Morning Millet With Apples
This will add some delicious variety to your morning hot cereal.

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