Welcome to October everyone! Want to know what makes me love October so much? No, it’s not Halloween! It’s Apples! October is Apple Month and I have the privilege of living in Apple Country. In Central New York, there are over 80 apple orchards; you can find apple orchards and farms where you can pick your own of almost everything on a great website called Pick Your Own.
In honor of this fantastic month, I am going to review 10 different apples in this blog and I will explain why the adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” still holds true today.
There is such a wide variety of apples to choose from. Here are some of my favorites and what I like to use them for:
Braeburn: This type of red apple has a sweet and tangy flavor It’s super crisp with yellow flesh. Kids tend to love this type. I pack them for my girls as a snack.
Cortland: This great, all-purpose red apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1898. It is deliciously sweet, with a hint of tartness and snow-white flesh. Looking for an apple to include in a fruit platter? Pick this one because it doesn’t turn brown quickly! I love putting Cortland apples in my salads. Cortland apples with toasted walnuts over a bed of salad greens is an awesome treat!
Crispin: This type of green apple is very sweet and super juicy. I find it to be the perfect baking apple. And if you are looking for crunchiness, this crisp apple is one to try for sure! Yummy!
Empire: Developed by Cornell University in the 1940s, Empire apples are available at almost all of the orchards in CNY. These red apples are the perfect blend of sweet and tart. They are a great choice for apple sauce or apple pie.
Fuji: This red apple is a blend of Red Delicious and Ralls Janet, an antique apple that goes back to the late 1700s. One of the sweetest apple varieties, you can make apple sauce with this apple without any sugar and even those with an intense sweet tooth will be 100% satisfied!
Gala: A great choice for snacking, Gala is a variety developed in New Zealand. It’s got the mild flavor that “picky eaters” prefer, plus a striking bright yellow-red color that also makes it visually appealing. The skin is especially thin on this type of apple, making it easy for kids to eat.
Ginger Gold: This golden apple is one of the first available in early September. It is sweet with mildly tart overtones. It is also slow to brown, so this is another great choice for fruit platters.
Idared: Developed in Idaho, Idareds are a cross between two old-time New York apples, Jonathan and Wagener, that were first grown in Penn Yan in 1791. Tinted pinkish-red, Idareds make a beautifully colored applesauce. Cook the apples with the skins on and strain the sauce to get the best pink color.
Jonagold: Jonagold is another success story from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. It’s a cross between mellow Golden Delicious and tart Jonathan apples, and creates a great aroma when baked in apple pies. Pan-fry this red apple with a little coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon for an unbelievable delicious dessert!
Zestar!: Yes, this type of apple truly has an exclamation point in its name. A Zestar! Is an early-season apple that’s juicy, with a light and crisp texture. Developed at the University of Minnesota, Zestar! trees are especially hardy and handle cold weather beautifully. Like the name says, there’s zesty flavor and crunch when you bite into one. This is one of the longest–lasting apples. It maintains its crunch and flavor even after weeks in a refrigerator.
So, why does an Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?
It’s mostly about the soluble fiber in apples. Most Americans do not get nearly enough fiber in their diet! Women are supposed to get at least 25 grams of fiber a day and men should aim for 38 grams. How does fiber help your health. To name a few of the benefits, fiber normalizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels and aids in achieving healthy weight by keeping you full longer. You won’t find fiber in meat or dairy, and definitely not in processed food! Apples are a good choice for fiber. Keep the skin on and you’ll get about 5 grams of fiber in one medium apple.
Apples also have pancreatic-cancer-fighting flavanols: Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 percent.
Also, red apples contain the antioxidant quercetin, which does an amazing job boosting your immune system. How convenient is it that apple season coincides with the start of cold and flu season! Get jarring applesauce for the winter!