Apples are among the most popular types of fruit in the US. According to the US Apple Association, the country's growers produce about 50 pounds of fresh and processed fruit per person every year.
Apples' taste and versatility help explain their popularity, along with their well-deserved reputation as a healthy alternative to candy, chips and other snacks.
Relatively few of the nearly 100 commercial apple varieties account for most of this abundance. Each not only provides a slightly different flavor and texture but is also better suited to some usages than others. Here's the top five:
- Fuji is, as its name suggests, a native of Japan. Sporting a yellow-red skin, its sweet crispness makes it excellent for snacking, salads and freezing, but it can also be used for pies and sauce.
- Gala, a New Zealand variety, features a reddish-pink color. Besides being suitable for snacks and salads, this juicy, very sweet apple also freezes well.
- Golden Delicious has crisp, pale flesh that resists browning. This makes it a kitchen all-star, as suitable for baking and saucing as it is for out-of-hand eating.
- Granny Smith, a green variety, is famous for its crisp, tart flesh. It is suitable for all uses.
- Red Delicious, another old-fashioned variety like the Golden, features a mildly sweet crunch and a deep red skin. The classic snacking apple, it also goes well in salads.
Conventional apple growing often involves pesticides, so try to find organic apples whenever possible. Some growers practice integrated pest management (IPM), which tries to minimize chemical usage by relying more on biological pest controls.
Apples last to six weeks when refrigerated and kept away from strong-smelling foods. Use a mixture of one part lemon juice to three parts water when slicing or chopping apples to keep them from turning brown.
Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped Golden Delicious apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Yields 12 muffinsDownload Recipe
Spicy Apple-Filled Squash
1 acorn squash (about 1 lb)
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp melted butter
2 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
dash ground cloves
Yields 4 servingsDownload Recipe
Source: both recipes courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.