An apple a day…

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…is a pretty good idea!

Perhaps the most readily-identified fruit, apples are loved for their great taste, versatility in preparation, and nutritional benefits. Of course, the term “apple” is quite a broad one, as there are more than 7,500 varieties! This means you could have a different type of “apple a day” for over 20 years without repetition.

The fall apple varieties, which ripen in mid-September, tend to store well and include both the red and golden delicious, the Jonathan apple, and the Cortland, a favorite for making applesauce. These differ primarily in their color, texture, and flavor. For example, the golden delicious has a tender skin and mild flavor, whereas its counterpart, the red delicious, has a thicker skin, firmer texture, and sweeter flavor.

Whatever the variety, all apples store a wealth of nutritional value. One apple provides 12% the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of dietary fiber and 10% of vitamin C, as well as calcium, potassium, and iron. Since they contain natural sugars, they rank high on the “snack satisfaction index” as well!

In addition to tasting great in their natural state, apples can be steamed, baked, boiled, or even grilled! Dried apples make a tart treat ideal for camping trips; stewed apples are a great side dish especially as the nights get cooler. With their versatility, it’s no wonder they’re a featured ingredient in so many recipes.

Which variety do you prefer? With so many options in the apple kingdom, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to experiment. Recently, it was reported that there was a resurgence in “heirloom apples”: varieties popular decades or centuries ago that had faded out and are making their comeback, with colorful names such as Sheepnose and Nickajack.

Whatever the color, size, shape, texture, or flavor, the popularity of the apple – and its place in American history – will always be there. Take a bite today and enjoy!