Nothing marks the arrival of autumn better than apples, the quintessential all-American fruit. Apples are a great snack, and they’re a cook’s delight in sweet or savory recipes. Choosing organic apples is important, too; apples are #1 on the list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally.
Over 15,000 named apple varieties are recognized in this country — yet you won’t encounter the vast majority of them in supermarkets, because most don’t ship well. A mere 8 varieties account for 80% of US domestic apple production: Granny Smith, McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, York Imperial, Jonathan and Stayman Winesap. Try local farmer’s markets to find the special heirloom varieties that grow in your area.
Apples make a great out-of-hand snack, but they’re truly a cook’s delight for a wide range of hot and cold, sweet and savory recipes. Few fruits are more versatile; apples marry beautifully with a wide array of ingredients and flavors. Celebrate the season’s best wherever you are with the delicious inspiration of colorful, delightful apples!
Why choose organic apples?
- Apples are #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. You can lower your dietary exposure to pesticides substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and choosing organic for those items instead.
- When you choose Earthbound Farm certified organic apples (and apple slices), you’re getting fruit that’s been raised without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using farming methods that regenerate the soil and protect the health of the land and the people who work on it. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think organic apples taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruits like apples and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store apples
- Choose firm, unblemished apples with tight, shiny skins. If an apple is soft enough to dent with your fingers, chances are it will be mealy and tasteless.
- Apples continue to ripen after they’re picked. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks to prevent over-ripening and mushiness. And don’t let your apples touch one another; one piece of rotting fruit will taint the others.
Tips for using apples
- Apples are a cook's delight. They're extremely versatile, adding texture and flavor to salads, soups, chutneys and relishes, as well as desserts and sauces.
- Apples are generally divided into 4 categories: eating apples, cooking apples, cider apples and crabapples. Many varieties are suitable for both eating and cooking (baking), so which you choose is simply a matter of personal taste. In general, tart and firm-fleshed varieties are ideal for cooking; sweet, crisp apples are best for eating out of hand. Excellent choices for cooking are Granny Smith, Gravenstein (used in commercial applesauce), Pippin, Idared, Braeburn and Rome Beauty.
- To prepare apples, always wash them first under cool water. Peel if you like (remember that the peel is where many nutrients are), using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Then remove the core with an apple coring tool or by cutting around the four sides of the core. Once apples have been peeled or sliced, they turn brown (or oxidize) very quickly. To slow this process, toss them with something acidic like apple juice, cider, wine or cold water with some lemon juice added.
- As an alternative to indulgent desserts, try serving crisp apple slices with a selection of cheeses and some healthy nuts like walnuts or almonds.