dcsimg

The Big Apple - Getting to the Core of Fall's Favorite Fruit

Crisp, sweet, and delicious, apples are a treat no matter how you eat them. In addition to being tasty, apples are also a guilt-free snack, offering numerous health benefits to their consumers. Most of us enjoy apples fresh, or in juice, pie, or applesauce, but there are many more ways to enjoy this fall classic when used as an ingredient in soups, salads, entrees, and, of course, desserts. Keep reading to learn tips on cooking with this quintessential autumn delicacy.

Culinary Arts

Finding the Perfect Apple

Most chefs agree that the best meals start with top-quality ingredients. To find the best apples for your favorite recipes, the supermarket should be your last stop. In many parts of the United States, the freshest (and hence most nutritious) apples are available at farmer's markets or pick-your-own orchards. Local growers often offer heirloom varieties of apples and can also be a great source of information on different ways to use them. Check out Chef2Chef's Farmers Market Directory to find a farmers market near you.

Variety is the Spice of Life

There are thousands of apple varieties in existence worldwide, but most of us are hard-pressed to name more than 5 or 6. While Golden Delicious apples are just that, why not broaden your apple horizons and try a Macoun, which many claim to be tastier than its relative, the McIntosh. Cox Orange Pippin is reportedly a great choice for desserts, and Honeycrisp is a highly coveted apple perfect for fresh munching. From Granny Smith to Fuji apples, you're bound to find the perfect variety for your recipe.

Even if you compare the more commonly known apple varieties available at your local supermarket it's obvious that not all apples are created equal. The best way to get to know the subtle differences among apple varieties is by testing them yourself. You may discover a new lunch box favorite or the secret ingredient for your soon-to-be-famous curry squash soup.

Harvesting and Storing Apples

For the best quality of apples, they must be harvested at the perfect time and stored properly. The harvest season varies from one variety to the next, and is the product of weather and other environmental conditions. Apples ripe for the picking should be firm, juicy, and crisp. Whether you're picking them yourself or buying them in a store, be sure that the apples you choose make the cut.

Larger apples don't keep as well as smaller ones, so it's best to separate the apples by size. According to Iowa State's Horticulture News, the fruit should be stored near 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and in a relatively humid environment (90 to 95 percent). Given these ideal conditions, many varieties, such as Red Delicious, may keep up to 5 months.

Have more apples than you can store? No problem! The surplus can be canned, dried or frozen. Note that frozen apples deteriorate quickly once thawed, however.

Creative Uses for Autumn's Apples

While few of us can resist a fresh apple pie, there's no need to relegate apples to dessert. Try some of these ideas to incorporate this healthy fruit into any and every meal.

  • Breakfast: Make yourself a bowl of apple-cinnamon oatmeal, or try jazzing up pancake batter with grated apples.
  • Snack time: Pair a crisp apple with cheddar cheese slices or almond butter for a healthy, energy-boosting treat.
  • Lunch: Give your salad a kick with some apple slices or try cottage cheese with apples for a light, nutritious midday meal.
  • Dinner: Apples go well with most meats and even seafood, in stuffings or sauces. For an easy, colorful side dish, sautée apples with red cabbage, onion, vinegar, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar. Apple is also a natural complement for pork.
  • All year long: Find your favorite variety, buy a bushel, and make and freeze applesauce so you can enjoy the flavor of fall year-round.

Recipes abound for this versatile fruit, and fall is the season to incorporate the delicious flavor, unique texture, and abundant health benefits of apples into your cooking repertoire. Get some apples, find a few new recipes and have fun!

About the Author:

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Greenville
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid