As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples come in a ton of different shapes, sizes, colors and varieties. Each variation has its own distinct flavor, and are a great healthy snack. They can also be one of the best ingredients in the next drink you pour from your blender.
How to tell if Apples are Ripe
Once apples are picked from the tree, they stop ripening. So if you’re picking from your own tree patience better be a virtue you possess. It takes time for them to mature and ripe.
As apples mature, the flesh softens. Immature apples are hard. Mature apples should be firm and crisp, but not hard. You can test apples at your local super or farmers market by applying some pressure to the fruit with your thumb. The harder you have to squeeze before you feel the apples give, the crisper the apple is.
The flesh should give a little as it matures, but you don’t want it to give too much. When apples are past ripeness they become brown and soft or mushy. Make sure to pick fresh apples and use them within a few days, before they get mushy. A mushy apple might be ok for apple sauce, but for smoothies yuck!
As in all things in life, some experience is required to perfect this skill.
Fun fact: If you’re picking your own apples from an orchard, apples ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center and apples from the sunny side of the tree, typically the southern side, ripen first.
Peak Growing Season
Apples may be available for purchase year round, but that doesn’t mean they’re at their peak all year long. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and bought what you felt like was a defective bunch?! It may be due to what month you purchased them in. Apples are a fall crop. They can be ready off the tree as early as July 15, but prime picking season is between mid-September and late October. Depending on the weather apples can be picked as late as Halloween.
One cup of Apples
Calories: 65 Calories from Fat: 2 Total Fat: 0 Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1mg Total Carbohydrate: 17g Dietary Fiber: 3g Sugars: 13g Protein: 0g
The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C. The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
NEVER Freeze Apples without Preparation
Let's face it, we all make mistakes a time or two... or maybe a bit more often than that. This was one of my mistakes. I was actually making some caramel apples at the time. Online I had come across a great recipe for caramel that I could tell from the ingredients alone would be magnificent. Mine ended up turning out a little runny. So, after dipping the apples in the caramel, I put them in the freezer to help harden them. One of the batches ended up staying in the freezer overnight.
The apples thawed and turned to mush. It was as if the whole apple was bruised, like those ones you avoid at the store. It was terribly disappointing, so I want to keep you from experiencing this great pain. If you do want to freeze apples for later use in something (like SMOOTHIES!) then there are a lot of tutorials online for how to do so properly. If only I had known this sooner, those poor caramel apples wouldn't have suffered the consequences of my ignorance.
Freezing Apples Whole with the Skins On 1.Wash the whole apple, drain, core and dry. 2.Place them in freezer bags and freeze. 3.When you're ready to use them, run cold water over each frozen apple, just before peeling. 4.Apples frozen whole can be used for pie, apple sauce or in other recipes that call for cooked apples.