This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.
Nothing makes me happier in Fall than the smell, site and taste of nice ripe apple, a bite of hot apple crisp with melting ice cream or a sweet glass of apple cider. Apples are Fall, and Fall is my favorite time of year! Apples are versatile, portable, inexpensive, and unlike a lot of other fruit, they keep really well. That makes apples the perfect solution for all the snacking things for your family. The question is how to pick the best apple for the job.
Apples only have about 90 calories, and are packed with soluble fiber, a high water content, vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients we don’t fully understand. This means that the benefits of eating an apple far outweigh the sugar content that sometimes gives apples a bad reputation as a snack. Turns out they are actually the perfect healthy snack for your kids and so easy to grab on the go.
One of my favorite fun Fall activities is apple picking and we go almost every year to the nearest apple farm to enjoy picking apples, eating cider donuts, and riding the hay wagon. If you’re looking for a fun fall activity you can do with the whole family on a crisp and sunny day in September or October, try apple picking. It’s a fun way to get everyone out of the house and in the fresh air.
That being said, I also love to stock up on all kinds of apples at our local grocery store while they are in season and full of flavor. Fall is when apples really come into their own.
You can find the tastiest, freshest apples from September through November and you can find some great Weekly deals.
When you head to a well-stocked grocery store, you’ll find all sorts of different and interesting apple varieties. Some are perfect for eating as is, while others lend themselves to baking, cooking with, making apple sauce and the likes. Of course some varieties store better than others. Here is a great list of apple varieties and their characteristics you can use as a guide for how to pick the best apple for the job you have in mind. You should be able to get a good idea about flavor, firmness, what the apples are best used for (eating apples vs. baking apples for example), and how long they can be stored. This list will help you plan what varieties you want to purchase and in what quantity.
Fuji apples are very sweet, very juicy, nicely crisp and a pretty pink color. They are a snacking favorite at this house and also work well in a baking blend of apple varieties.
Gala apples are great for eating and to make apple sauce. Don’t try to bake with these apples. They tend to fall apart when you cook them. My kids love gala apples for snacking!
Golden Delicious apples keep their shape well during baking, making them perfect for pies. They are also delicious eating apples that store well.
Granny smith apples are one of the best apples for baking. They hold up well in pies and crisps, and add a nice tartness to any dish. We like to use Granny Smith in cooking one dish meals as well, and surprisingly some of my kids also like to snack on these despite the tart flavor.
Honeycrisp apples are my absolute favorite. Honeycrisp apples are the perfect blend of sweet and trt and have the perfect crunch as well. I like to hide them in the fridge crisper to chill for a couple hours and come back later for a tasty snack. (If I don’t hide at least one, I won’t get any as my family devours these apples.)
Jazz apples are a nice snacking apple with a blend of sweet and sharpness and a firm texture. Jazz apples also work well in baking.
These apples are a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. They are best eaten fresh or used in apple sauce.
Jonathan apples are anther variety that’s perfect for baking pies and cakes. They hold their shape well and have a nice crisp flavor.
McIntosh apples are best eaten fresh from the tree. They don’t hold up well to baking, but make delicious apple sauce.
Pink Lady apples have a naturally sweet crunch described as zippy. These apples work great for snacking! Pink ladies also brown more slowly after slicing, making them perfect for salads, fruit trays or any fresh preparation.
While I am not a fan of this vintage apple variety from my childhood, it remains a favorite of my kids for snacking, and if I take them with me to Food Lion this is inevitably what they will pick.
Once you get home with a pile of apples — and inevitably I come home with more than I know what to do with because they all look so tasty — its time to figure out how to store them. The first thing I like to do is go through my apples and check again for bruises or nicks since it seems like some of those always slip into my bag. I slice those up right away and set a tray out on the kitchen counter for hungry kids. My crew is used to me cutting up and setting out fruits and vegetables that need eaten.
Next I sort apples by variety, and then by size. Larger apples will go bad faster than others and different apple varieties have different shelf lives. You want the family to eat and use the apples that will go bad faster first. Keep the smaller apples of long lasting varieties with thick skins for last by putting those in the bottom of the basket.
Speaking of baskets, don’t store your apples in plastic. Instead choose crates or baskets that allow the fruit to breath. Apples emit ethylene, a gas that helps ripen fruit. You want the air to flow around your apples and allow excess ethylene to escape otherwise your apples will ripen and rot much faster.
If you are only storing a small amount of apples, the crisper drawer in your fridge is another good option.
If you stock up on apples the next time you use Online Shopping with pick up or delivery, its so nice to make applesauce fresh for dinner, make a jar or two of apple butter or serve diced apples, onions and pork as an easy one pot meal for your family. We also enjoy apple quick bread, apple crisp, apples in salad, and baked whole apples with ice cream. Apples are the perfect addition to dinner or snack time throughout the Fall months and with this handy guide you can pick the perfect apple for any of these delicious ideas!