What has more than 7,500 varieties worldwide?
Can be eaten raw or cooked?
Comes in a variety of colors?
And if you eat one a day, it helps keep the doctor away?
If you’re guess was APPLES, then you are correct!
Even though eating “An apple a day” will not keep the doctor away, it is certainly a step in the right directing to eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Apples are highly nutritious, delicious, low in calories, and relatively inexpensive. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, therefore decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, as well as provide bulk in the intestinal track to help cleanse the digestive system. Each apple, when eaten with the skin on, contains a total of 5 g of fiber, which is 20 percent of your daily recommendation of fiber (25-35grams per day). The skin not only provides nutrients but it is also a protective layer for the apple and provides the aroma and flavor of the apple when ripen.
Depending on your flavor/texture desires, you can find an apple that suits your taste as apples can be sweet, tart, soft, crisp, or crunchy depending upon the one you choose. Some of the more popular apples include:
Red Delicious – Most popular variety and America’s favorite eating apple. Striped to solid red in color, with rich, sweet, mellow taste. Suitable for snacks and salads, not recommended for pies or cooking. Most widely available of all varieties, can be purchased year round nationwide.
Golden Delicious – Yellow color, rich, tangy, sweet, juicy flavor. Texture and shape similar to Red Delicious. Resists browning when sliced. All purpose apple. Desirable for salads, snacks, fresh desserts and baking. Available all year.
Granny Smith -Green coloring, moderately tart and very firm, all-purpose apple. Available nationwide year-round.
Jonathan – Light red stripes over yellow or deep red darkening to purple in areas. Rich semi-tart flavor. All-purpose apple. Available September until spring mainly in the Midwest.
Fuji’s spicy, crisp sweetness and firm flesh make it an excellent fresh eating apple. It’s also good in baking or applesauce and stores well. Fuji flavor improves in storage like fine wine. Fuji skin color varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red. It was bred from a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties in Japan.
Gala is one of my absolute favorites for fresh eating. It is heart-shaped with distinctive yellow-orange skin with red striping. Gala is just the right size for snacking and is great in salads, good for baking and very good in applesauce.
Braeburn has high impact flavor. The crisp, aromatic Braeburn blends sweetness and tartness just right for snacks and salads. It’s also good in baking, applesauce and for freezing. Braeburn color varies from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red. Braeburn was discovered as a chance seedling near Nelson, New Zealand in 1952. Its probable parents are Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith.
With such a plethora of apples, you can do anything from going to a local apple orchard and picking apples, to fall apple festivals. You can also make and preserve apples so you can enjoy them year around. If you know your way around a kitchen and would like to make your kitchen smell like apples I suggest trying some of my favorite apple recipes.
Chicken and Apple Salad….along with so much more!
Enjoy and don’t forget to eat an apple a day fresh from the orchard!
University of Illinois Extension (Apples and More)