Did you know?
- Two-thirds of the fiber and many of the antioxidants in an apple are located in the skin!
- Food-grade wax sprayed on apples helps to maintain the freshness and moisture content of apples.
Apples have a long recorded history of consumption throughout civilization, most likely originating in the mountainous region between the Caspian and Black Seas. With over 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide, apples are one of the most popular fruits around the globe. About 2,500 known varieties of apples are grown in the United States alone. From over 100 types known to be produced commercially, 15 popular varieties account for 90% of annual U.S. production. In the U.S. we consume an estimated 17 pounds of fresh apples and 29 pounds of processed apples, for a total of approximately 46 pounds of apple products per year. One pound equals about 3 medium apples so we need to step up consumption to reach an apple a day!
In Colorado, local apples are most commonly available from mid-August through mid-October, with storage lasting until June. Having apple orchards located in both the Eastern and Western parts of the state, Coloradans have access to apples and apple products at a variety of locations and markets.
Choose apples with the following characteristics:
- Firmness, crispness, lack of mealiness
- Free from physical or insect damage
- Good color, no bruising* or pitting
*Bruised apples are good for making apple sauce and pies. Bruised or “less perfect” apples are called seconds and can often be purchased from a grower at a lower cost.
An apple continues to live and respire, even after it is picked. Although respiration cannot be halted completely, cooling apples postharvest can extend their shelf life. Bruising is the most common defect in apples; handle fruit with care to avoid soft spots. Always wash apples before eating or preparing and dry with a paper towel. Apples are threatened by over 40 types of insects; therefore many orchards practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Rinsing apples with fresh water also reduces the potential for foodborne illness.
Apples keep best when stored in the refrigerator fruit bin. At home, apples can last from 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator. Commercially, apples may be stored in a controlled atmosphere with an oxygen content lowered from 21% to 2.5% and the carbon dioxide content increased from 0.25% to 2-5%. With this type of storage, apples maintain their freshness for up to 12 months.
Select mature, firm apples. Wash well. Pare and core. Cut in rings or slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, or cut in quarters or eighths. Submerge in 50/50 water and lemon juice solution for 10 minutes. Remove from solution and drain well. Arrange in a single layer on trays. Dry in dehydrator or oven set at 140°F until soft, pliable, and leathery, with no moistness in center.
Easy Microwave Apple Sauce
- 6 cups of sliced, peeled apples
- 1/4 c water
- 1/3 c sugar (adjust to taste)
- Cinnamon to taste (optional)
Mix all ingredients in 2-quart microwave safe baking dish. Cover and microwave on high power 6 to 8 minutes. Using a food processor or blender, blend the cooked mixture to the desired consistency. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Common Colorado Apple Varieties
|Bright red with bands of yellow
|Light red stripes over yellow or deep red
|Balanced flavor Tart-sweet
|Sweet Tart Juicy
|Yellow with blush
|Mildly Tart, Sweet Crisp
|Yellow-green, pink blush
|Mild flavor Crisp
|Red blush with green and yellow stripes
|Sweet-tart Very crisp
|Yellow w/ red stripes or blush
|Crisp, firm, tart
|Green, sometimes with rosy blush
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Apples are a delicious, nutritious way to boost consumption of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet. Apples are fat free and high in fiber. Apples contain natural fruit sugars, mainly fructose. The high fiber content of an apple allows sugars to be released slowly, maintaining healthy blood glucose levels and warding off hunger. Apples are a good source of Vitamin C and a variety of other disease fighting antioxidants.
Why do apples turn brown after they have been cut?
Apples brown due to an enzyme called polyphenoloxidase. When an apple is cut, these compounds are released from the cell and cause a browning reaction on the fruit. The more Vitamin C the apple contains, the less the browning may occur. Dipping apple slices in a 50/50 water and lemon juice solution will help prevent extensive browning and can help maintain crispness.