Selecting, Handling & Cooking Apples
When selecting and handling apples, follow these tips:
- Select firm apples-free from bruises.
- Be sure to handle carefully, bruised apples do not store well.
- Striped apples and apples with patches of green are often of excellent quality, depending on the variety.
- Skins should be a light, fresh-looking color. Deep green background color often indicates immature fruit.
- Smaller apples keep longer. Buy as many apples as can be used within a reasonable time.
- Freckles (russet) on Golden Delicious indicate ripeness.
- Keeping apples crisp means keeping them cold. All apples should be refrigerated to prevent quick ripening.
- Apples ripen 8 to 10 time faster at room temperature.
- Store apples in a ventilated plastic bag or hydrator drawer to prevent absorbing other food flavors.
- Dipping peeled apples in lemon juice or salt water helps prevent the flesh from darkening.
- Apples, like many other fruits, produce ethylene gas which promotes ripening. Realize that fruits such as peaches, pears and bananas produce ethylene gas and are sensitive to the ethylene produced by apples.
- Storing these fruits in close proximity to each other may hasten the ripening process. Oranges, pineapples, and tangerines make good storage companions for apples because they do not produce ethylene gas and are not sensitive to it.
Cooking ideas and tips:
- Generally, the tart taste of an apple is best for cooking, while sweeter apples are preferred for snacking and for salads.
- Use apple juice or cider to glaze turkey, ham or chicken.
- Poach fish fillets in apple juice or cider.
- Mix mayonnaise with equal parts of apple juice as dressing for fruit, ham, chicken.
- Mix sour cream and apple juice with chopped herbs to make dip for raw vegetables.
- Use apple juice instead of liquid in recipes for corn muffins, biscuits, breads, rolls, pancakes, waffles and omelets.
- Fold apple juice thickened with cornstarch into whipped topping with finely chopped fruits and nuts for an easy parfait.
- For a fast and healthy syrup for pancakes, waffles or french toast, thicken heated apple juice with cornstarch and lemon juice.