It's apple-picking time!
Jennifer Fishburn, University of Illinois Extension
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[September 04, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- What tastes
better on a cool fall day than an apple plucked right off the tree?
Well, maybe a fresh apple pie, homemade applesauce or apple butter.
This month the fruit is ripening in many backyards and commercial
Besides tasting good, apples are also good for you. They're
fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. A medium-sized apple
has about 80 calories and 5 grams of dietary fiber. With more
than 2,500 varieties in the United States alone, there is an
apple to suit nearly every taste bud. Local orchards offer
several varieties, including:
Tangy, large red from New Zealand; good for eating; stores
well; ripens in October.
crunchy, mildly tart, medium-sized red developed in upstate
New York; available in mid-September.
sweet all-purpose red; one of the best for keeping -- will
retain its crisp, juicy texture for several months of cold
storage; available in mid-October.
crisp eating apple with a well-balanced flavor of sweetness
and tartness; stays firm in the refrigerator; good raw in
Delicious. Large yellow, sweet and good for eating or
cooking; available in early September. Be gentle: tends to
Tart, crisp, very firm, green; excellent for baking; ripens
Crunchy, both sweet and tart; stores well; can ripen in
September, but best in October.
Large cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious;
well-balanced blend of tartness and sweetness; ripens in
Crisp, tender, juicy and moderately tart; good for eating
and cooking (retains shape when baked); medium-sized dark to
Small- to medium-sized spicy, mildly tart; can often be
soft; good for eating, sauces and juice.
(Crispin). Sweet, firm and crisp green; good for eating and
Common sweet, crisp, juicy eating variety available in
mid-September; medium- to large-sized red; easy to identify
by its five distinct bumps on the blossom end.
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all-purpose yellow with orange blush; a good keeper.
juicy apple with a wine-like, spicy, tart flavor; a sweet cider
favorite; medium-sized violet red; available in mid-October;
good for long-term storage.
Ripe apples should be easy to pick with the stems attached. Roll
or twist the apple so its stem separates from the tree. Handle
fruits carefully to avoid bruising. With refrigeration, firm,
unbruised apples will keep from several weeks to several months.
Here are a few tips for picking apples: Be sure to call ahead to
confirm the orchard's hours of operation, availability of apples and
apple varieties currently available. Wear clothes that you can get
dirty. Avoid picking apples from the ground. Watch out for
yellowjackets! If you're planning to bake, you'll need about 2
pounds of apples to make one 9-inch pie.
This fall try at least one new variety. To learn more about apple
varieties, recipes, festivals, growing and storage, visit the
University of Illinois Extension's Apples and More website at
It's a fact -- local produce is fresher, more nutritious and
better-tasting than food picked before it's ripe and shipped long
distances. Check out a local apple orchard or visit a vendor at one
of the farmers markets.
[By JENNIFER FISHBURN, horticulture
University of Illinois Extension, Logan-Menard-Sangamon Unit]