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,
large red from New Zealand; good for eating; stores well; ripens
crunchy, mildly tart, medium-sized red developed in upstate New
York; available in mid-September.
Fuji. Very 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.
Gala. Small, crisp
eating apple with a well-balanced flavor of sweetness and
tartness; stays firm in the refrigerator; good raw in salads.
Large yellow, sweet and good for eating or cooking; available in
early September. Be gentle: tends to bruise easily.
Tart, crisp, very firm, green; excellent for baking; ripens in
Crunchy, both sweet and tart; stores well; can ripen in
September, but best in October.
cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious; well-balanced blend
of tartness and sweetness; ripens in October.
tender, juicy and moderately tart; good for eating and cooking
(retains shape when baked); medium-sized dark to bright red.
to medium-sized spicy, mildly tart; can often be soft; good for
eating, sauces and juice.
Sweet, firm and crisp green; good for eating and cooking.
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 & 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]