An apple a day keeps the doctor away has been an old adage, but it is quite a meaningful one for apples are rich in vitamins, iron and fiber. Apples are not just fruits but also great food ingredients which can be part of your meal in the form of pies, sauces, desserts etc. Apples are grown in abundance around the world and there are thousands of varieties. They can normally be categorized as cooking apples and dessert or eating apples.
Many different varieties of apples are available in the market. They come in different colors like red, green and yellow. Some popular varieties include Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smiths, Jona Gold, Pink lady, Gala, Braeburn, Golden Delicious (Dessert Apples), Ida Red, reverend W Wilkes, Grenadier, Blenheim Orange and Bramely (Cooking Apples). While cooking, apples have a stronger flavor due to their higher malic acid levels. The different varieties differ in taste, crispness and juiciness.
When you buy apples pick the fruits that are firm, with no wrinkles, bruises or blemishes. Avoid shiny looking fruit as that could be because the fruit has been waxed. Dry looking brown patches are the result of excessive sun exposure and do not mean that the fruit is spoiled.
All you need to do is wash the dessert apples before eating. The cooking apples will however need to be peeled, preferably with a peeler, so as to remove less flesh. Cut the apples into quarters to remove the core or you can use a corer if your recipe requires whole apples. To keep your apple pieces looking fresh, rub a little lemon juice on the cut surface or put them into some water with a little lemon juice.
If you would like to store your apple for sometime, individually wrap them in newspaper and remember never to pile them for single layer is the only way. Place them in a wicker basket or wooden crate. Check on them regularly as “one rotten apple will spoil all others”
Dessert apples can be deliciously combined with cheese and used for Waldorf salad. You can cook apples whole with stuffing of mince meat or dried fruits. These are then dusted with sugar and a little butter before being baked in oven. Apples can be used to make delicious caramel apples, apple pies or crumble, stewed apple sauce for pork or game. You can even add grated apples to muesli.