“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And that is no kidding! Some of the benefits of eating apples include: whiter, healthier teeth, helps protect against and fight Alzheimers, protects against Parkinson’s, Curbs Cancers, decreases risks of diabetes, reduces cholesterol, reduces gallstones, supports a healthy heart, and more! Apples should be on the list of foods to eat and foods to preserve.
We are currently in the peak season of apple production with a bumper crop in some states. Here is some interesting information about apples, their varieties, and how to best preserve them.
There are over 7500 varieties of apples grown in the world today. Apples are originally from Central Asia where its wild ancestor still grows. The apple is a pomaceous fruit of the rose family and has been grown for thousands of years.
Apples were brought from Asia to Europe and then to North America by colonists. The story of Johnny Appleseed isn’t a fable. Thanks to him and many others who planted the seeds wherever they went, North America has been plentifully supplied with apple trees.
In 2010, 69 million tons of apples were grown world wide. With so many varieties available, different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses. Commercial growers usually stick to a select few. What is your favorite apple? Most of us only taste a handful of varieties in our lifetime.
Whether buying apples from the store, orchard, or picking them from your own tree, choose the preservation method that best suits your apple variety. You can safely store a box of apples for a few months in a cool, dark space that has some ventilation. Choose apples that are free of defects, bruises, skin breaks, or any decay.
Here is a list of commonly sold apples and food preservation methods:
Freezing: (not really the best way to preserve apples) Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan and Granny Smith.
Sauce and Apple butter: Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Gravenstein and McIntosh.
Pies: Jonathan, Jonagold, and Granny Smith
Out of hand eating: Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and any apple that you like.
Cakes: Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome, Granny Smith, Jonagold
Drying: any apple can be successfully dried. We especially like to dry them in discs with the seed center in the middle. With a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on them, they make wonderful tree ornaments at Christmas time.
You might want to consider preserving some specialties that bring variety and spice to your winter diet. Some of our family favorites include apple pie filling which we use as a topping on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or for a delicious pie. Applebutter is also a huge favorite. It takes a lot of applesauce and a lot of time to get a little applebutter, but it is yummy! Applesauce is a delicious, nutritious sweet treat in the winter and it is a great substitute for oils in baked goods. I usually don’t substitute more than 50%, but applesauce makes everything wonderfully moist and a lot more nutritious.
My number one favorite is an apple cake that everyone loves. Served warm with hot vanilla sauce, it is a scrumptious treat on cold fall nights. I’ve included the recipe for you to try. Years ago I cut it out of a magazine so I don’t really know who to give credit to, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.
Fresh Apple Cake
4 c peeled, sliced apples
2 c sugar
2 c flour
1 ½ t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
¾ c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 c chopped pecans
Apple Dessert Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, stir together apples and sugar. Add dry ingredients; stir well. In separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into apple mixture, blending until thoroughly moistened. Stir in pecans. Pour into greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Serve with warm Apple Dessert Sauce. Yield: 12-15 servings
Apple Dessert Sauce
1 c sugar
½ c butter
½ heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
Place all ingredients in a pan and stir. Bring to boil over medium high heat cooking for 3 minutes. Serve warm.