With the warmth of the summer sun fading, it’s clear that fall is officially here. It’s time to enjoy the bright, colorful leaves; plump, orange pumpkins; the slight nip in the air; and of course, the sweet smell and taste of ripe, delicious apples.
More varieties of apple grow in New York than any other state. So it’s no surprise that we’re known as “Apple Country,” or that our largest metropolitan city is dubbed the “Big Apple.” With so many different flavor profiles to choose from, there’s sure to be one that you’ll love.
VERSATILITY: SERVING UP APPLES
Baked apples, apple pie, apple crisp, and applesauce are all classics when it comes to cooking and preparing apples, but sometimes simply taking a nice, juicy bite out of the fruit is the way to go.
Nyapplecountry.com is a great guide to help determine which apples are firm and sweet and which are tender and tangy. It also gives you an idea of the best uses for each. Some variety of textures are better for baking, while others are better for snacking.
Knowing what type of apple you’re looking for before heading to the orchard, farmer’s market, or grocery store, can help ensure that you’re going home with the best option.
HEALTH FACTOR: AN APPLE A DAY
While we can’t confirm that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” we can speak on behalf of the apple’s health benefits. Apples are packed with dietary fiber, and rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. So, what does this mean?
Well, according to various studies, the regular consumption of apples is linked to decreasing bad cholesterol and reducing your risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes.
PICKING THE PERFECT APPLE
There is a lot to remember when it comes to picking out the perfect piece of produce. Luckily, picking out apples is pretty straightforward.
Remember how we mentioned the sweet smell of apples earlier? Well, that’s a great place to start when picking your fruit.
A fresh and perfect apple should have a pleasant, sweet aroma. And while you have your apple under your nose, pay attention to the color. Apples with vibrant coloring spent their fair share of time basking in the sunlight. This results in great flavor.
Also, don’t be dissuaded by specks caused by nature. The real trait to avoid is any apple with soft spots and bruising.
When picking apples right from a tree, choose the apples on the outside of the tree over the ones in the center. These outer apples ripen first.
Some apples can be ready as early as mid-July in New York State, but the best time to gobble up this fall favorite is now.
Apple season officially kicks off with the start of September and runs through the end of October. So, grab your loved ones, head to your local orchard or market, and scoop up some of these healthy, harvest-time treats.