Apples: An American Favorite

September 17 00:00 2001 Print This Article

Apple season is upon us. While you may not immediately notice it since many varieties are available year-round, the time from September to February is the peak period for an assortment of particularly delicious and distinctive apples. Apples are not a major source of any particular nutrient, but they do provide useful amounts of several important vitamins, including C, A, and B, as well as potassium, iron and phosphorus. This well-rounded nutritional profile, and their good supply of dietary fiber, provides the foundation for the apple's longstanding healthful reputation.

The sweet, crisp Red Delicious is America's favorite apple, making up nearly half the crop. It's great for eating out of hand or including in fresh salads, but is not suitable for cooking. Golden Delicious (no relation to Red) apples are a better choice for cooking, making a particularly flavorful apple sauce. The Rome Beauty, a slightly tart, firm fruit that's just starting to make its appearance in markets this year, holds its shape in tarts and pies and makes wonderful baked apples. Other apple varieties favored by cooks include the Granny Smith, Fuji, Winesap, Jonathan, Cortland, McIntosh, Stayman and Northern Spy.

As a guide when cooking, three medium apples equal a pound, and a pound of unpeeled apples yields about three cups of peeled and sliced or diced fruit. Cortland and Golden Delicious do not discolor as quickly as other varieties when sliced, and all cut apples will stay fresh-looking longer if tossed with some fresh lemon juice.

Even though apples are more often associated with fruit pies and other desserts, their superb flavor and texture can be a wonderful complement to many savory dishes. Whether grated, sliced, or cubed, apples add instant zip without overpowering the flavor of other ingredients. Their subtly sweet flavor merges perfectly with a range of pungent spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, chiles, mint, and even oregano.

Jazz up your morning toast with the fresh flavor of Apple Cherry Fruit Spread, which highlights the wonderful flavors of the season's best apples without any added sugar.

Apple Cherry Fruit Spread

Ingredients

  • 3 Jonagold apples (or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine apples, cherries, fruit juice and cinnamon stick. Cover and bring to simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Uncover and reduce the heat to low, cooking 15-20 minutes longer, or until apples are very soft but retain their shape. Remove the cinnamon stick and add lemon zest to the apple mixture.

  2. In a blender or food processor, pure the apple mixture until a chunky spread forms. Chill before serving, and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

    Each two tablespoon serving of spread contains 22 calories and less than one gram of fat.

    Click here for more Apple Recipes
    from The Gourmet Connection Magazine.


Source: AICR

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