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Apple season has officially begun in Southern Illinois. Whether you prefer red or gold, sweet or tart, you will certainly find a variety for any purpose at our local orchards and farm markets. Golden Supreme and Gala apples are currently available with Jonathan, Gold and Red Delicious to follow soon. Later in the season, you will find Suncrisp, Fuji and Granny Smith among many others.

Storing apples

Slightly underripe apples can be stored in a cool place for up to two weeks to ripen. Apples that are ripe enough for eating will keep in your refrigerator for several weeks. Put them in a single layer in the crisper compartment or in a moisture resistant container that allows for some ventilation. Remember that apples aren’t an overly social fruit. They don’t like touching one another. This can cause parts of the apple to go soft, which could lead to one or more going in bad quickly. If you plan to store apples in the refrigerator for a long period of time, you can wrap them individually in brown paper bags and stack them in the crisper.

Cooking with apples

Apples are a very versatile fruit and can be used in sweet and savory dishes alike. Use them to complement the main course, add to salads, use in breads and desserts, or simply eat by themselves. The flavor, texture, and juiciness of your finished recipe could vary slightly depending on the kind of apple used.

Raw apples will darken when the cut portion is exposed to air, especially if they have come into contact with the iron in a knife or chopper during the cutting process. You can prevent this by mixing the cut apples with juice from a lemon, orange, grapefruit, or pineapple before adding the apples to other ingredients in your recipe.

Granny Smith apples are the go-to for baking but Gala, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious also hold up very well in cooking and baking. Use softer varieties like Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Braeburn for applesauce and apple butter. Red Delicious, Fuji, and Jonagold are perfect for including in salads.

Apple trivia

There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples in the world and the only one native to North America is the crabapple!

An apple tree can grow up to 40 feet high and can live over 100 years. Apple trees will take 4 to 5 years to bear their first fruit.

Have you ever Bob for apples? Apples can float because over 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air. This game began as a Celtic new year tradition to try to determine one’s future spouse.

A pack of apples is roughly 10.5 pounds and a bushel of apples is about 42 pounds. That’s a lot of apples!

In Ancient Greece, tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. If she caught it, she accepted the proposal!

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