They’re tart and sometimes sweet. Red, green, and sometimes yellow. When you think of the fall season, what’s the one fruit that comes to mind? Apples, of course! This month, apples are in abundance, so take advantage of the bounty and try some of the more popular varieties, such as McIntosh, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Gala, and Golden Delicious, not to mention a few of the more unusual varieties if you can find them, such as Crispin, Idared, and Jonagold. Apples are a great source fiber (particularly when eaten with the skin) and they also contain some vitamin C and the flavonoid quercetin, which have antioxidant properties. Below are a few tips for buying, storing, and enjoying apples, which make a healthy and satisfying addition to meals and snacks beginning on Phase 2.
Buying and Storing Apples
The skin of an apple is not the only indication of its quality, so try to shop for apples by touch as well as appearance. Avoid wrinkled, bruised, or soft apples. Remember that each apple has a distinct flavor and texture; some are better for baking, some for snacking. If you're not familiar with the different varieties, ask the produce manager at your supermarket or the purveyor at your farmers’ market for recommendations, and look for organic apples when possible.
Apples can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months. They should be kept in a plastic bag with holes for ventilation. Check them frequently and remove any that are bruised or brown. One bad apple can spoil the rest. When storing your apples in the refrigerator, try to keep them away from strong-smelling foods such as onions, as they will absorb the odor. If you keep your apples out of the refrigerator, put them in a cool, dry place and eat them as soon as possible.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Apples
Always clean the skins thoroughly before eating. Washing will remove dirt and pesticides. (If you prefer to remove any wax coating, however, you should probably use a special produce cleaner.) Don't cut an apple until just before you're ready to eat it: Once cut, apples turn brown through oxidation after just a few minutes of exposure to the air. You can prevent this by dipping the slices into a bowl containing 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water.
Here are a few delicious ways to enjoy apples:
- Have apples as a midmorning or midafternoon snack with 2 tablespoons of natural, no-sugar-added peanut or almond butter.
- Add thinly sliced apples to cheese or turkey sandwiches.
- Create a red leaf lettuce, avocado, and apple salad with a Dijon vinaigrette.
- Prepare an apple salsa to serve with meat or poultry: Combine diced tart apples with diced red bell peppers and onion, some minced jalapeño, fresh lime juice, and minced cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Make your own applesauce using Pippin, McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, or Gravenstein apples, for example.
- Bake apples and dollop with some fat-free Greek yogurt for a healthy dessert.