Looking for a crunchy, healthy snack that will satisfy your sweet cravings? Well, how ‘bout them apples! Touted as a “miracle food” and “nutritional powerhouse”, apples make a great addition to anyone’s diet. Available in a variety of colors- red, yellow and green, apples contain many essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They are a great source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C apart from being low in calories and free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. There are countless benefits of eating apples such as weight management, regulation of blood sugar, bone health and gastrointestinal protection. Like they say- “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”!
There are multiple varieties of apples that you can find at our markets. Some of the popular varieties include Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Cripps Pink and Golden Delicious. Each type varies in texture (from crunchy to crisp) and flavor (from tart to sweet) which determines how good they are to use in salads, pies, sauces and bakes. Usually, the crunchier varieties of apples such as red delicious and cripps pink make for excellent snacking varieties while varieties like granny smith and honeycrisp are often used in pies and bakes due to their crispy texture, complex sweet-tart flavor and the ability to cook down easily. To know more about each variety and where best to use them you can click here.
In order to pick the best fruit from the lot, look for pieces that are firm to the touch and free from bruises and blemishes. Usually, a brighter color indicates a fresher fruit. You can find out more about our apple vendors in the Available in August blog.
Tips to Store and Preserve Apples
Give your apples a thorough rinse and pat them dry once you bring them home. Clean apples can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks to preserve freshness.
You can freeze the firmer varieties of apples but you need to peel, cut and core them before freezing.
If you want to put large quantities of apples to good use, then applesauce and apple butter is the way to go! Using tender varieties will help eliminate the efforts of blending and pureeing.
In order to create applesauce, wash the apples and cut the large ones into pieces. Let them simmer until soft and add water, if required, in order to prevent them from sticking. Push the pulp through a food strainer or mill. And add sugar as per taste. Put the sauce back on the stove and bring to a boil. Pack it into hot jars to preserve freshness.
Apple Butter Recipe:
You can quickly make apple butter using the applesauce recipe we have described above. In order to do so, in a small saucepan add 2 cups of applesauce, sugar(as required), 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4th tsp ground allspice, 1/8th tsp ground ginger and 1/8th tsp ground cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil, and let it simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes on low heat stirring continuously every 3-4 minutes. Once cooled, store the butter in airtight containers in the fridge.
If you love making apple pies or baked apple goods, canning apples can make the process more quick and convenient! You can either can apple slices or apple pie filling depending on your needs. In order to do so, wash, peel, core, and slice apples. To prevent them from darkening, put in ascorbic acid solution. Drain and boil for 5 minutes in light syrup, water, or juice. Pack them into hot jars and cover with boiling cooking liquid.For detailed instructions and quantities, please click here.
Now that we’re well acquainted with how to pick the best apples, store and preserve them, here’s a scrumptious recipe that you can create with this delicious fruit.
OATMEAL BROWN SUGAR BAKED APPLES
Recipe Credit: Emma Christensen
4 medium apples, such as Jonagold, Fuji, or Honeycrisp
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in 4 pieces
1 cup hot water
Optional: Chocolate chips, Orange zest, lemon zest, grated ginger, candied ginger, raisins or other dried fruit, chopped nuts, cream cheese, mascarpone, peanut butter, Nutella
Place the oven rack in the middle compartment and preheat the oven to 375 °F.
Core the apples leaving half an inch at the bottom, effectively creating a 3/4th inch wide well. An apple corer can help ease this process, but the same results can also be achieved using a melon baller, grapefruit spoon or a paring knife.
In a bowl, combine brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and any of the optional ingredients.
Spoon this mixture in each of the wells of the apples, packing it firmly.
Arrange the apples in a deep baking dish, such as Pyrex 8*8 container and place a dollop of butter on top of each apple.
Pour some water on the bottom of the dish before covering it loosely with aluminum foil.
Bake the dish for 20 minutes. Remove the aluminum cover and continue baking for 20- 30 minutes until apples are soft and brown sugar has melted.
The dessert is ready once the skin of the apple has become wrinkled and soft and a paring knife when poked into the flesh sinks in without any resistance.
Serve your freshly baked apples with a scoop of ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream.
Store any leftovers in the fridge. They will last up to 5 days and can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave right before eating.