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October is celebrated as the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch month, an opportunity to promote both local foods and healthy snacks. The Apple Crunch encourages schools, clubs, or employers to choose a day in October and serve fresh local apples. In southern Ohio many of our schools have already, or will be, participating in the Apple Crunch by serving apples from our local orchards. children grabbing apples

Apples are a healthy snack which provides both soluble and insoluble fiber in one food. Soluble fiber helps to prevent cholesterol buildup, reducing the risk of heart disease; and insoluble fiber helps move food through your digestive system. The Vitamin C in apples is an antioxidant; important for skin, bones and healing. Vitamin A, also in apples, plays a role in vision, bone growth, and our immune system. A small to medium apple is a low-calorie snack with only 75 to 80 calories per apple. Apples are also fat, sodium, and gluten free.

Select firm apples that are free of decay, bruises, broken or shriveled skin with an intact stem. Store apples in the refrigerator in a perforated, plastic bag away from other fruits. Apples produce ethylene with may cause other fruits to prematurely ripen. Use within three weeks. Before serving wash under running water.

fresh applesWith over 7,500 varieties of apples it may be hard to decide which apple to select. Each variety has different qualities, think about how you plan to use the apples to help you in the selection process. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth or crisp and crunchy. Some varieties are perfect for baking, others work better in salads, and some are best for eating fresh – like those we will select for the “Great Apple Crunch”. For example, Jonathans are tart and great for baking. Galas (my personal favorite) are sweet and good for eating or salads. Granny Smith apples are tart and great for baking. The Ohio Apple website has a great guide to provide information about varieties, their taste, and what they are best used for. Go to http://ohioapples.com  to find out more. Apples fortunately have a great shelf life and can be used in numerous ways when cooking – think salads, cake, muffins or bread, in pancakes, sandwiches, oatmeal, or hot in chili, stuffing, or with sweet potatoes or squash. Apples are a very versatile fruit. The USDA What’s Cooking Mixing Bowl has over 140 recipes that are economical and most are healthy, find them at http://go.osu.edu/applerecipes .

If you have the chance, select locally grown apples to have optimum flavor, prevent loss of nutrients, support the local economy, promote a safe food supply, and know where your food was grown. If you would like to join the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch purchase local apples, possibly from an orchard or your local Farmers Market, and eat them as a snack or with a meal. Apples are inexpensive to serve as part a program with youth at a school or in a club, or as a treat at your next staff conference. Consider bringing along an apple an apple slicer/corer – as some people find it difficult to eat the skin of an apple (especially young children who may not have their front teeth.) Post your own photos on social media showing your students, co-workers, or family members crunching apples in October and use the hashtag #GreatAppleCrunch or #OhioAppleCrunch. Feel free to email me your apple crunch pictures to Lisa at barlage.7@osu.edu.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Oho State University  Extension Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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As we quickly transfer from summer to fall, the thought of biting into a wonderful, fresh Ohio apple comes to mind!  Is there anything quite as good – and good for you? A medium raw 2 ½ inch apple contains Vitamin C, Potassium, about 4 grams of fiber and only about 75 calories.

In 2008, the average U.S. consumer ate an estimated 16.4 pounds of fresh-market apples and 33.3 pounds of processed apples, for a total of 49.8 pounds of fresh apples and processed apple products.

Eating apples helps promote a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.  According to the U.S. Apple Association, the health benefits of apples and apple products were first recorded as early as medieval times; giving rise to the modern version of an old English saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Ohio alone produces over 40 varieties of apples so it should not be difficult to choose one that fits your needs, whether for eating or baking!   You can choose from the sweet Honeycrisp , Cameo, Fuji, Gala, and Golden Delicious which are wonderful for eating raw and using in salads to the tart Granny Smith, Empire, and Jonagold which are perfect for pies and other baking needs.

Proper selection and storage are important for your apples to have the best flavor.

  • Select firm apples, free of bruises, decay, broken or shriveled skin.
  • Fruit should be ripe when picked to have good flavor, texture, and storing ability.
  • Apples should be well colored.
  • Keep your apples in the refrigerator; 32-35 degrees F is ideal.
  • Store in a perforated, plastic bag.
  • Check fruit often for any signs of rotting and discard spoiled apples.
  • Wash apples by rinsing in cool water just before eating or adding to a recipe.

There are probably as many serving ideas for using apples as there are apple varieties.

  • Make applesauce by peeling and dicing 4 or 5 apples and cooking over medium heat with 1 cup of water and 2 -3  teaspoons of cinnamon for about 30 minutes.
  • Apples can be paired with dried cherries or cranberries for colorful chutney.
  • Put cut up apples in a green, leafy salad to add crunch and flavor.
  •  Thinly slice apples and cheddar cheese, and place the combination between two slices of whole-grain bread. Grill for a tasty sandwich.
  • Cut apples into slices and offer to children with a low-fat vanilla yogurt dip.
  • Put an apple and some peanut butter in your lunchbag for an afternoon energy snack.

So whether it’s a fresh crisp apple for an easy snack, a refreshing apple salad or a piece of warm apple pie, takes advantage of this time of year to enjoy locally grown fresh apples!

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Apples   http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5507.pdf

U.S. Apple Association http://www.usapple.org/

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