By Jennifer Stefancik
Purdue Extension Educator
---- — Greetings to all of you! This fall has been a very busy time of year in our office. Lots of events, meetings and trainings going on. I have just returned from attending our national conference a couple of weeks ago and was able to gain some resources and program ideas to share with our county here and my co-workers around the state. Harvesting is now underway and farmers are busy getting crops in out of the fields. So be on the lookout for tractors and slow moving vehicles. It has been very dry lately, but thanks to some showers we got lots of rain over the weekend. This time I would like to share with you some facts about apples for National Apple Month in October.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the United States. Thirty-six states grow apples commercially. October is National Apple Month, the only national, generic apple promotion in the United States. Originally founded in 1904 as National Apple Week, it was expanded to the entire month of October. Apples come in all shades of red, green and yellow. Apple varieties range in size from a little bigger than a cherry, to as large as a grapefruit. Check out the following information on apple facts and how to eat them in safe and delicious ways.
Eating apples in safe and delicious ways: Apple varieties and uses. There are about 2,500 varieties grown in the US. Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji and Granny Smith are typically available year round. Apples are great as a snack or cut up in a fresh salad. Many varieties are great for making cooked products. Apples used in baking include Braeburn, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Honey Gold. Apples used in pies include Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonagold, Jonathan, and Granny Smith.
Apple nutrition facts. Apples are fat, cholesterol, and sodium free and a good source of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and vitamin C. It’s a good idea to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content. One medium 2 1/2-inch apple, fresh, raw, and with skin has approximately 81 calories. Nutritional value will vary depending on variety and size.
Preparing and serving produce safely. According to the Food and Drug Administration, you should wash raw fruits and vegetables very well before you peel, cut, eat or cook with them. Wash your hands with hot soapy water before and after preparing food. Do not wash produce with soaps or detergents; this may leave residue on produce that is not safe to consume. Use clean potable cold water to wash items. After washing, dry with a clean paper towel. This can remove more bacteria. Don’t forget that homegrown, farmers market, and grocery store fruits and vegetables should all be well washed.
Prevent cut fruit from turning brown. Keep cut fruits, such as apples, from turning brown by coating them with an acidic juice such as lemon, orange or pineapple juice. Or use a commercial anti-darkening preparation with fruits, such as Fruit-Fresh®, and follow the manufacturer's directions. Another method to prevent browning is to mix them with acidic fruits like oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and other citrus fruit or pineapple. Prepare the acidic fruit(s) first. Then, cut the other fruits, mixing them with in the acidic fruit(s) as you prepare them.
Yogurt Dip for Apples • Ingredients: 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 apple, sliced. Makes 1/2 cup dip. • Directions: Combine yogurt, cinnamon and vanilla extract in small bowl. Dunk apple slices and enjoy!
Authored by or Adapted from Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Nutrition Specialist. Healthy Bites Newsletter, http://food.unl.edu/web/fnh/healthy-bites, July 2013.