Pick of the Month: Apples


applespickofmonth

This month’s pick is apples, a favorite, healthful snack that is inexpensive and widely available. Like the root vegetables featured last month, apples are another storage food that keeps well into the winter, even though they are harvested in late summer and fall.

You may even still be able to find North Carolina apples in stores, though apples from Washington seem to be more common this time of year.  With 200 commercial apple producers and over 9000 acres of  bearing trees, North Carolina ranks 7th in apple production nationwide.

The health benefits of apples are many.  The pectin in apples can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while the fiber they contain can assist in weight loss by helping you feel full.  They are good source of immune-boosting vitamin C and contain compounds that can fight certain cancers, boost brain power and even help breathing problems such as asthma.  Wow, maybe an apple a day really would keep the doctor away!

Apples varieties vary in taste, firmness, color, ripening time, and keeping ability.  In fact, there are over 7500 varieties of apples grown worldwide.  However, only about 100 of those varieties are grown commercially.

To store apples at home, keep them as cold as possible without freezing.  Apples stored at room temperature will soften ten times faster than those held under refrigeration. Never store apples near potatoes.  The potatoes give off a gas that will cause the apples to spoil faster.

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