An Apple a Day

Recently, I was standing in front of a beautiful display of apples at a local grocery store. A very puzzled gentleman asked me which apples were for pies. His wife had given him the shopping list, but had not explained which type of apple to buy. If this sounds familiar, then read on.

Fall, the apple-picking season, is here! Whether you pick your own at an orchard, support your local farmer’s market or shop at the grocery store—with so many varieties available, anyone can get confused. Here’s an easy guide to help choose the best apples for your needs, whether baking, cooking, or just simply eating. 
  • For eating straight from the basket, crisp, juicy, and tangy varieties are best. Red Delicious is the most popular eating apple, but if you prefer a denser, tarter snack, try a Granny Smith, or a softer-fleshed McIntosh. Or check out the distinctive tastes of local farm varieties like Newton, Pippin, Macoun, or Sweet Sixteen.
  • To make applesauce, McIntosh is moist and flavorful. Cortlands and Braeburns also make good choices.
  • When baking, Rome apples are recommended because they hold their shape well. You can also try Fuijis, which are sweeter, wetter, and have a spicy flavor.
  • In pies, a mix of apples is best. Include Golden Delicious for sweetness and good shape, a tart apple like Granny Smith, and some flavorful varieties like Pippin, Winesap, Crispin and Jonagold.
  • To check out the entire world of apple varieties and usage, as well as delicious recipes, click here.
When selecting apples look for a shiny skin. Dull appearing apples will not be as crisp or as tasty. Your apples should be firm and free of bruises and punctures. Once you bring them home, keep your apples refrigerated. Fruit bowls are beautiful, but your apples will not stay crispy for long on the countertop. In fact, they will last 10 times longer when refrigerated.

Prepare your apple dishes just before serving to minimize browning. Protect cut apples from oxidation (which causes them to turn brown) by dipping them into a solution of one part citrus juice and three parts water.

And if by chance your apples should become soft and mushy, don’t throw them out! Peel, core, and slice them. Place the apple slices in a microwave dish. Sprinkle lightly with some brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, until your desired degree of tenderness is achieved. Serve warm. YUMMY!

And finally…does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Perhaps! Apples are filled with disease-fighting properties. They can help lower blood cholesterol, improve bowel functioning, and reduce your risk of stroke, prostate cancer and diabetes. So get your fill of apples this Fall, while they’re bountiful, affordable, and in-season. Warm cider, anyone?
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Member Comments

I love Fuji apples! Report
I started eating an apple every day with my lunch about six months ago. I have seen no downside. I have a fondness for Granny Smiths. Report
love apples Report
I love apples Report
thanks Report
Thank you! Lately, I’ve been loving the Sweet Tango & Envy apples! Crisp & sweet. Report
love your idea about making applesauce Report
Okay but Red Delicious apples have no flavor. I'm partial to honeycrisp or gala apples for straight eating, although they get pricy, even in season. Report
Apples... good 🍎🍏🍎 for you. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Thanks! Good information Report
Refrigeration is key. My third grade class went to an apple orchard (owned by our teacher and her husband) and I was surprised just how cold it was when we went into the storage area. It was near freezing. Report
Great article on apples. I was raised in Western Washington State where there are plenty of apple varieties available. My very favorite snack was a Red Delicious apple purchased from the vending machines at the U of W. That was 50 years ago. They were so crisp and sweet - and, of course, Washington-grown! Report
Great article. My son is infatuated with Honey Crisp apples. He will not eat any other kind. He loves the sweet, crisp taste. I love that they are usually huge and 1 apple can provide 2 servings of fruit. And they don't seem to brown as quickly as other apples, so I can cut up the apple into slices and give him half for lunch one day and the next day the other half is still palatable - he won't eat apples that have started to turn. Report


About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.