Apples are a healthy food choice. They are convenient, fast and nutritious. Naturally fat and cholesterol free, apples are also a source of fiber. Currently, the average Alabamian eats only 1.6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (CDC) -- so maybe by eating a few more apples will help you towards the MyPlate guidance system emphasis to “focus on fruits” -- and make half your plate fruits and vegetables.There are many local apple growers in Alabama -- especially North Alabama. But wherever you purchase your apples you need to wash them and store them properly. Store apples in the refrigerator or in a cool place; ideally between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stored properly apples can be kept for up to a month.
For snacking the apple varieties Empire, Fugi, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious are excellent. For baking or cooking Golden Delicious, Jonathan, or McIntosh are good choices. A good cooking apple has a good sweet- tart balance and their flesh doesn't break down as they cook - there may be local varieties that can be found at your local farmers market. Ask at your local farmers market or roadside stand.Apples can be frozen, canned or dehydrated. Applesauce is a family favorite also. For more information about freezing, canning or dehydrating apples a good online resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) http://nchfp.uga.edu/search.html - they have information on making apple cider to making pear-apple jam.Pear-Apple Jam Recipe from NCHFP (http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/pear_apple_jam.html)2 cups peeled, cored, and finely chopped pears (about 2 lbs)1 cup peeled, cored, and finely chopped apples6½ cups sugar ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice 6 oz liquid pectinYield: About 7 to 8 half-pintsPlease read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.Procedure: Crush apples and pears in a large saucepan and stir in cinnamon. Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice with fruits and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam, and fill sterile jars leaving ¼-inch headspace.
Visit the Alabama Farmers Market Authority website to find out more information about local farmers markets and farm/roadside stands. http://www.fma.alabama.gov/Default.aspxCheck out the CDCs State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2013 for more information about how different states are developing programs and policies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/downloads/State-Indicator-Report-Fruits-Vegetables-2013.pdf
The U.S. Apple Association has a recipes too. October is National Apple Month. http://www.usapple.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=5
Submitted by Donna Shanklin, Regional Extension Agent - Human Nutrition, Diet & Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 256-737-9386
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