According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, the United States produces roughly 9 billion pounds of apples each year, a distant second from China. While the state of Washington is our lead producer, it may be surprising to hear that every state in the U.S. produces apples. The availability of apples is convenient, but with over 7,500 different varieties, it leaves questions as to which apple variety to choose.
Sweet apples include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, and Honeycrisp. Red Delicious is a popular snacking apple but is not great for baking or freezing. On the other hand, Golden Delicious, is probably the "Best All Around" apple, perfect for snacking, baking and freezing. Other all-purpose apples include Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, Fuji and Jonagold. Granny Smith apples are tart and keep their shape when cooked, also making them ideal for pies. McIntosh, a sweet-tart apple falls to pieces when cooked so is excellent for making applesauce. Winesap apples get their name from their slightly tart, spicy, wine-like flavor making them a top pick for cider.
No matter which apple you choose, allow for about 2 pounds of apples to fill one nine-inch pie. Store them in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer and away from other strong odor foods. Apples release ethylene gas, which can be damaging to lettuce and other produce. Happy apple picking!
Applesauce (Printable PDF)
8 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices
½ cup water
2 lemon slices
½ cup sugar (optional)
? teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Combine apples, water and lemon slices in a large saucepan. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until apples are part sauce with some chunks. Stir often to prevent burning. Applesauce should be thick; add more water if necessary. Add cinnamon and nutmeg; discard lemon slices. Stir in sugar if desired. Leave sauce chunky or put apples and lemons through a food mill or coarse sieve. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
Yield 5-6 cups
To Freeze: Increase spices to twice the indicated amount, as they lose flavor during freezing. Refrigerate until chilled. Pack cool applesauce into rigid freezer containers to within ½-inch from the top and seal. To use: thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water for 3 hours.
Nutritional analysis per serving (with sugar): 120 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams sodium, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 0 grams protein