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An Apple a Day

Apples

Nashville, Ark. – We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” No wonder, since apples are super nutritious! Now is the time to enjoy a crisp, cool apple since they are in abundance at the local grocery stores.

            Apples are high in Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They are also low in calories, fat and sodium. One medium apple has 80 calories, 159 mg of potassium and 3.5 grams of fiber, if you eat it with the skin on.  

            Apples were brought to America by colonists and spread throughout the country by John Chapman, alias Johnny Appleseed. Back then there were only a few varieties of apples. Today, there are about 2,500 known varieties of apples that are grown in the U.S. Thirty-six states grow them commercially.

            Some of the more popular varieties include Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden and Red Delicious, Granny Smith and McIntosh. While all of these can be eaten fresh off the tree, some are better for cooking. Tart apples, such as Granny Smith and McIntosh are best used when making pies, breads or cakes. Fuji, Braeburn, and Gala are best when eaten raw because they are naturally sweet. Red and Golden Delicious are all purpose apple varieties that can be eaten raw or cooked.

            Apples are a very versatile fruit. They can be used in pies, muffins, salads, cakes, and breads or just eaten raw. Pair them with a great dip and they make a perfect snack. Apples can be preserved for later use by freezing or canning them.

            When purchasing and storing apples, there are some tips to keep in mind. They include:

  • Purchase apples when they are ripe for best flavor. Green varieties should have a greenish-yellow color.
  • Choose apples that are free of blemishes. They should be firm and have no bruises, skin breaks or decay spots. A soft apple indicates it is too ripe. The texture will be mealy and not crisp.
  • Choose the apple variety that is best suited for its intended purpose. If you plan to cook it, choose a tart, cooking variety. If you plan to eat them raw, choose one of the sweeter varieties.
  • Approximately three medium-sized apples equal 1 pound. One pound of unpeeled apples yields about 3 cups of peeled, sliced or diced fruit.
  • Apples stored in a fruit bowl on the counter will last about 1 week. Store ripened apples in the humidifier compartment of the refrigerator in an unsealed plastic bag for up to 1 month.
  • Apples brown when they are cut or cored. To slow down the browning effect, dip cut apples in 1 quart of water with 3 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or three crushed 500 mg vitamin C tablets or use a commercial ascorbic acid mixture.

            Apples are a great snack anytime of the year. They require little or no preparation, other than rinsing under cool water. Choose to eat them with the skin on and you will increase the fiber benefits.

            For more information on eating healthy or learning how to preserve apples through home canning or freezing, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            This recipe was shared by a friend, Cynthia Lance, several years ago. My family enjoys this dip throughout the year and especially during the fall. The dip is also a favorite each year during Child Care Provider training. It is super easy to prepare!

Apple Dip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup butterscotch chips

2 Tablespoons vinegar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

            Microwave milk and chips for 2 minutes or until melted. Add 2 Tablespoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon and mix. Serve with apple slices.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

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