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An apple a day

September 23, 2009|By LYNN LITTLE

Apples are in season and ready to eat. Apples can add variety, color and nutrition to your meals.

Choose apples that are tart for cooking or apples that are sweeter for eating. At farmers markets or grocery stores, there is enough variety that you can find an apple that is just right for your tastes.

Apples are a good nutritional bargain, providing about 20 percent of your fiber for the day; vitamins including C and beta carotene (if you eat the peel); minerals including potassium, iron, and calcium; about 80 calories and 18 grams of carbohydrates; no fat or cholesterol; and fructose (fruit sugar) which provides energy for a quick energy boost

Apples that ripen in late summer are not good keeping apples. They should be eaten soon after ripening. Apples that ripen in the fall are better to keep for use into the winter.

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Some apples crumble when cooked, and those are best used for applesauce. If the apple keeps its shape when cooked, it is good for baking whole.

When you buy apples, look for fruit with a smooth skin and few bruises. Bruised apples will not keep long. Choose those that are bright in color.

To store apples, refrigerate them in a plastic bag or in the crisper drawer. Check the stored apples often -- one bad apple will spoil the whole bag.

When you cut a raw apple, the cat part might turn dark. To prevent this, dip the pieces in a tart fruit juice -- such as lemon, orange, grapefruit or pineapple -- before combining with other ingredients.

Check with local Washington County orchards to determine what varieties of apples they have available. Go to www.marylandapples.org has information on local apple orchards, varieties of apples, apple recipes and much more.

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.




Apple salad for two



1 large apple, diced
2 tablespoons salad dressing or mayonnaise
1/3 cup seedless grapes, halved
2 tablespoons walnut pieces
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Chill. To make a main-dish salad, add 6 ounces grilled, diced chicken breast.

--courtesy of University of Maryland Extension

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