As October draws to a close, the beautiful fall weather has been wonderful to enjoy some trail riding. What’s your favorite fall activity? I hope that you and your family or friends can make time to create special memories! This time of year, there is an abundance of apples and the aroma of your favorite apple pie or cobbler can entice your family into the kitchen! How do you make sure they are safe for your family? Here are a few tips to remember when enjoying your next crisp and juicy apple:
First wash your hands and clean counter tops, cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water.
Wash your apples under cool running water, when you are ready to use them. Don’t use detergent or bleach as they could cling to the skin or penetrate through minor blemishes. Research done at the University of Maine indicates that vegetable washes were not proven to be any more effective than plain water rinses and were much more expensive. Waiting to wash apples before use deters bacterial growth, but if you choose to wash before storage, dry them thoroughly with paper towels.
Store your apples in a cool, dark place. If you choose the refrigerator, they will remain crisp and juicy longer. Use the section in your refrigerator where you can control the humidity and allow a high moisture level.
Whether you are buying apples at the grocery store, visiting the nearby orchard, or picking apples from your backyard, choose the apple variety that meets your needs. Varieties that are good for freezing include: Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan and Granny Smith. Varieties that are good for making applesauce and apple butter include: Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Gravenstein and McIntosh. Red Delicious apples are best eaten fresh. They do not freeze or cook well. If you are not sure which variety is the best to use, ask or check out the chart at Ohio Apples (http://www.ohioapples.com/ohio_apples_useschart.htm).
When selecting your apples, remember that their flavor is best when they are at the peak of maturity. To judge the maturity of apples, don’t go by size. Choose apples that are free of defects, such as bruises, skin breaks and decayed spots. Russeting, or little brown spots on the skin of the apple, does not affect quality. Also look for firm (hard) apples since soft apples tend to have a mealy texture and overripe flavor.
How can I preserve these apples while they are at their peak? Apples can be dried, made into applesauce or apple butter, or even made into a delicious apple pear jam. Apples do not make the highest quality canned or frozen slices, but they can be preserved by those methods, also. Check out National Center for Home Food Preservation or http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for detailed recipes. If you have further questions on preserving your apple product, feel free to give me a call at the office at 330-264-8722