You’ve probably heard the old saying, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” How much truth is in that saying? These handy fruits are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, which make apples a perfect food to incorporate in a healthy lifestyle. Loaded with fiber, apples have been shown to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and aid in weight loss efforts. All are benefits that may keep the doctor away. No wonder the apple is Vermont’s official state fruit!
There are more than 7,500 types of apples worldwide, and many are grown in Vermont. Apple varieties range in flavor and texture, so try some new (to you) types to find your favorite. Here are some great apple varieties that are found in orchards near you:
- MacIntosh: This apple variety is arguably the most well-known in New England. Their juicy and aromatic nature makes them great for every use. Excellent for making sauce, desserts, or simply eating as is.
- Cortland: Juicy texture and mild sweetness make this a good apple for baking, drying, or freezing. Firmer than MacIntosh, Cortland holds its shape better during cooking.
- Honeycrisp: A bright red and pale green outer skin holds a crisp, yet juicy inner flesh. This apple is great for snacking and salads. As the name indicates, it has a light sweet flavor.
- Liberty: This apple is favored for commercial use and storing due to its hardiness. The red skin contains juicy, yellow flesh that is great for baking and desserts.
- Northern Spy: Presenting a dark purplish red skin with a creamy white center, this variety has a sweet flavor with a fine texture. Northern Spy apples keep well and are commonly used for desserts or processing.
- Golden Delicious: The distinct greenish-yellow color and flavor of this apple make it a favorite for many. Sweet aroma and a crisp, juicy texture make this a great option for cooking, desserts, or eating.
- Empire: Ready to pick in late September; mildly tart and sweet, has juicy firm white flesh; high quality dessert apple good for culinary uses.
With dozens of apple varieties to choose from this time of year, you cannot go wrong. Embrace fall and apple picking season with a trip to a local orchard for the largest selection of apple varieties. Once you’ve found a few favorites, you can add apples to any meal.
- At breakfast, try an apple to your smoothie, or top your pancakes, cereal or oatmeal with sliced apples;
- At lunch, add some slices in your sandwich or salad for some crunch;
- Apples are also great for sauces and savory chutneys to add flavor to you dinner meal; and
- Of course, apples make great baked desserts.
It’s easy to include an apple a day!
Kathleen Van Wyck is student in the University of Vermont Master of Science in Dietetics program. She is completing a research project with Nutrition Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.