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From Instagram-worthy apple picking adventures to homemade apple pies and crisps, there is no sweeter fruit to celebrate the fall months than crisp, fresh apples.
Apple season is looking really, really good.
Grab your apple picking baskets; various varieties of apples are in season now through early March.
September marks the first appearance of popular Honeycrisp, Gala, Crimson Crisp, and SweeTango apples. The later, a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar! varieties, is a distinctively crunchy apple perfect for dipping into nut butter. Other September apple season varieties include Pippin, a slightly tart apple perfect for baking, and Jonathan apples, which are delicious in sauce.
October is a delightful month for baking apples including Ida Red, Rome, Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Northern Spy. Turn these into pies, crisps, cobblers, and other festive autumn desserts.
Crisp and tart Fuji, Empire, Braeburn, and Cameo apples are also peaking during October. Some lesser known October apple varieties include Stayman Winesap, Mutsu, Macoun, and King David. Search for these at your local farmers market or co-op throughout the autumn months.
Late season winter apples are the hardiest, and best for cold storage. These apples include Enterprise, Gold Rush, and York Imperial. Many apples found in the winter have been harvested earlier and placed in cold storage to either improve crispness and flavor, or to fill a gap in the grocery store apple void.
A new crop of apples will be appearing in grocery stores in the near future, including Washington’s Cosmic Crisp in fall 2019 and EverCrisp in 2018. Other new apple varieties include Crunch-A-Bunch and Bakers Delight, which were recently launched in the Midwest.
The Health Benefits of Apples
An apple a day boasts a variety of health benefits – plus it’s a tasty snack.
Apples are packed with nutrients including vitamins C, K, and B6, potassium, and manganese. They are also a good source of fiber (four grams per apple) and antioxidants noted to reduce oxidative stress and combat inflammation.
Numerous studies have linked apple consumption with reduced risk of certain cancers (lung and colon cancer, according to this 2008 study), cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. Apples are clinically shown to exhibit high antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol, according to a 2004 review.
Many of the antioxidants and phenolic compounds of apples are found in its peel. A 2003 study noted these peel compounds are filled with heart health benefits and should be consumed.
Apples fall in the number four spot on the Environmental Working Group’s 2017 Dirty Dozen list. Choose organic apples, which means they haven’t been genetically modified or sprayed with a cocktail of pesticides and chemicals.
15 Recipes to Enjoy Apple Season
Apples are delicious for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Need apple inspiration? Here is 15 delicious ways to use them:
1. Stuff cored apples with nuts and raisins and cook them in a crockpot for a sweet dessert.
2. Make hearty, cozy autumn muesli with apples, currants, and cranberries.
3. Add them to a bright and vegetable-packed winter quinoa salad.
4. A classic: bake apples into pie.
5. Cook fresh apples down into homemade applesauce. Yum!
6. Slice, sauté in coconut oil and cinnamon, and serve on ice cream.
7. Two words: hard cider.
8. Slice apples, toss with lemon juice, and add to a winter kale salad with feta cheese and cubed butternut squash. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and devour.
9. Dip them into chocolate for a festive Halloween treat.
10. Mash apples with sweet potatoes and sprinkle with a pecan streusel topping.
11. Chop apples and combine with pear to make the base of a homemade crumble.
12. Sauté apples and serve overtop a breakfast sweet potato bowl.
13. Roast apples and turn them into nourishing breakfast bars.
14. Dice apples and combine with tomatoes, jalapenos, and avocado for a hearty salsa.
15. Make baked maple-cinnamon apple chips to dip into vegan sweet potato dip.