As the temperatures cool and the leaves start to fall, it’s also time to start planning for one of our favorite times of year, apple picking season! If you’re planning to head out to an orchard for apple picking or indulge in a delicious apple-inspired dessert this season, here’s what you need to know.
Picking the Perfect Apple
Whether you’re picking apples right from the tree or browsing the grocery store selection, there are a few things you should keep in mind when searching for the best apple of the bunch.
First, you should always examine the apple closely. Avoid things like bruises and decay that likely mean your apple is rotten. However, some scuffs and marks come from nature and the apple is just fine! You’ll also want to make sure the apple is firm to the touch and doesn’t indent easily.
Ripeness is also important. When you’re at an apple orchard, know that apples toward the outside of the tree generally ripen first. Color is your best ripeness indicator, and the apple should come off of the tree easily. Keep in mind that once an apple is picked, it will stop ripening.
Lastly, the key to picking the perfect apple is knowing what you plan to use it for.
Best Apples for Baking
Who doesn’t love a good apple pie? If you plan to use apples for a delicious apple pie, crisp, muffins, or strudel, you have a variety of options. Because you’re generally mixing it with sugar, you want a good mix of tart and sweetness with your apples to balance out the flavors. For example, try mixing sweet Golden Delicious apples and tart Granny Smith apples in a pie. Jonagolds, Braeburns, Crispin, and Jazz apples are also good for baking. Our amazing recipe for Irish Apple Cake topped with an Irish Whiskey Custard calls for Granny Smith apples, with a velvety custard sauce spiked with Jameson for a perfect fall dessert!
Perfect Apples for Applesauce
While you can use almost any type of apple for applesauce, softer apples tend to cook down faster. Just like with baking, a good mix of apples will give your applesauce the best flavor. Paula Red, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are all great options for applesauce.
Making big batches of applesauce takes a lot of peeling and coring, so we’d recommend investing in an apple corer and peeler to save you time and energy. While you have your apple corer and peeler out, you’ll probably want to whip up a batch of apple pie filling for these incredible cinnamon pancakes with apple pie filling and molasses whipped cream, too!
Delicious Apples for Snacking
Which apples you prefer to eat plain really is a matter of preference. If you’re looking for something sweet, you might prefer Galas or Fuji apples. If you like something a little more tart, try Cortlands. For a good mix of tart and sweet flavor, you can try Honeycrisp or McIntosh apples.
Of course fresh apples are delicious on their own, or dipped in honey, caramel, or peanut butter. If you’re looking to get creative, try adding chunks to a salad for added texture and flavor. Make apples the star of the show by adding them to a stunning cheese board at your next party!
Did You Know?
The United States grows about 200 unique apple varieties, with about 100 available in retail stores, according to the U.S. Apple Association. The top varieties sold in the U.S. are Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Jazz. Collectively, more than 240 million bushels of apples are grown each year.
While they are tasty, apples are much more than just a delicious treat. They are linked to numerous health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, helping with weight loss, and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
RSVP International’s kitchen gadgets and baking products can help you perfect your favorite fall apple recipe – like this delicious apple butter! Give it a try and don’t miss our other fall favorites over on our Pinterest page.