5 Great Tips for Enjoying Apple Picking Season
Fall is all about ripe pumpkin patches, Halloween festivities and of course, apples. Visit a local apple orchard where the trees are filled with fresh, delicious apples in every shade of red and a sweet aroma wafts through the air.
Apart from their delicious taste, apples are low in calories, high in fiber and have low fat and cholesterol content. Gorge on them, cook them into pies and tarts or pair them with different meats and cheeses in sandwiches. Be prepared to experiment; you might just find a combination or dish you’ll end up enjoying for the rest of your life
To make the most out of apple harvest season, here are a few tips to help you make your fall a “fruitful” and fun-filled one.
Plan in advance
Before you embark on your apple-picking spree, decide what you’re going to do with the apples. If you’ll be using them for cooking, select varieties to suit your dish. Try different combinations to tweak the taste of your dish.
Plucking apples from a tree
The apples toward the outside of the tree ripen before the ones toward the center. If you’re picking apples from a tree, select the ones hanging from the external branches as they’re sure to be ripe. To break the apple off, give it a slight twist and pull it either upward or downwards. Once you’ve plucked the apple, place it gently into your basket to avoid bruising.
Identifying a good apple
To choose the best apples, hold the apple in your hand to check its firmness. Good apples feel firm, have smooth skins and are bruise-free. Select the crisp, firm ones and leave the ones with wrinkled skins or brown spots. The best apples have a vibrant, uniform color and will have a longer shelf-life. Check each apple before putting it into your basket to make sure you pick only the best.
Cooking with apples
The Jonathan and Crispin varieties are good for making pies; the sweeter Fuji apples are better suited for apple fritters. Try the quick and easy Apple Galette recipe with the Pink Lady which is perfectly suited for baking as it retains its shape and the skin remains nice and pink after cooking. Golden Russet apples have a wonderful aroma and a rich flavor suited for making apple jelly. Use the slightly tartaric Gravenstein or Granny Smith varieties for making applesauce or apple-pecan breakfast buns. For a delicious mix of sweet and savory flavors, prepare a turkey, brie and apple sandwich with the Gala apple.
Best apples for snacking
If you enjoy the simple treat of snacking on raw apples, the Honeycrisp variety is delicious, crisp and sweet as honey. For the calorie conscious, McIntosh apples with their sweet and spicy flavor are a great choice. Sweet and juicy, Golden Delicious apples have been a longtime favorite for eating raw. The crisp Braeburn is a variety that tastes best when eaten raw or chopped and tossed in salads.