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Apples

The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a common English-language proverb which implies that if you want good health, eat an apple. Whether this is a clever marketing ploy to sell apples or gospel truth, one thing is for sure, the apple is one of America’s favorite fruits. It is evidenced by the fact that per capita, US consumption is at 28 pounds per year and the US is the second-largest apple producer worldwide, second only to China.

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Genus: Malus
  • Species: M. domestica
  • Binomial name: Malus domestica

Apple Trivia

  • There are over 2,500 apple varieties that are grown in the USA, but only one is native to North America, the Crabapple.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family
  • It takes around 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider

Apple Buying Guide

Due to the number of apple varieties, you should first determine what you plan to do with the apples before purchasing. Here’s a quick guide to determine which apple to pick for the right situation.

  • Granny Smith Apple – Perfect for baking or mixing with other sweeter ingredients due to its tart flavor
  • Golden Delicious – Look for gold-green colored fruit, this indicates that it was picked ripe (full-green color means that this was picked too early) The Golden Delicious variant has a sweet-tart profile and is very versatile. Can be used for cooking or eating fresh.
  • Fuji Apples – Sweet and crisp flavor that’s perfect for snacking and juice production.
  • Mcintosh – This variant has a wine-like flavor and can be super sweet. Suitable for eating fresh and drying.

There are countless other apple varieties to list. The best way to learn more about apples that are available locally is to check with your local farmers’ markets.

Apple Production & Farming in Texas

Commercial apple production in Texas is limited due to the number of chilling hours in Texas. Temperate fruit trees need a certain number of hours of winter chilling to break down their growth inhibitors to allow them to bloom and flower in the spring.

The most successful apple growing operations in Texas are located in the Davis Mountains and the High Plains near Lubbock due to low bacterial and fungal diseases and higher winter chilling hours.

The flavor of locally grown apples have been described as outstanding, but some warm weather spells can cause red varieties to have a paler color. While this does not affect the overall taste of the apple, this is a problem for commercial growers that have specific requirements for the color of the fruit.

The lack of chilling hours can also have a very stressful impact on trees and can kill young apple trees that have not appropriately acclimated.

Pesticides:

Apples usually are on top of EWG’s Dirty Dozen list because they contain an average of 4.4 pesticide residues, some of them in very high concentrations. Since commercial apples are doused in chemicals after they are harvested to preserve the outer skin, it is well-advised to wash and scrub your store-bought apples (some even advocate peeling them) before consumption.

To avoid this, try visiting your local farmers’ markets to see which locally grown apples are available in your area.

Geography:

Climate plays a significant role in apple production. The number one factor that plays a role in successful apple production is the number of chilling hours. Many varieties of apple require a high number of chilling hours which makes the Pacific Northwest, along the Great Lakes and New England the center for US apple production.

Apple trees also thrive in deep, well-drained soil with a PH of 6.5-7.0. Commercial apple production is largely unsuccessful in areas with alkaline soil due to cotton rot.

Packaging:

Growers can tell if their apples are ready by using devices that check the starch level, sugar level, and looking at the seed color. Of course, the old fashioned taste test is also utilized. The perfect apple should be high in sugar and low in starch when it comes to harvest.

Apples are handpicked and are gently rolled into bins for storage to avoid bruising. The apples are then floated on water chutes to wash off any dust and grime on them. They then pass through a scanner that checks for color, roundness, shape, bruising and other deformities.

The entire packing line from start to finish is in a temperature-controlled environment to keep them from spoiling prematurely. Some producers spray chemicals on the apples to help them stay the perfect color longer on supermarket shelves.

 

Eating Apples

Depending on the variety of the apple, they can be eaten whole, added to dishes and salads, and made into apple juice or cider.

Unless the apple you have purchased is certified organic, it is advisable to thoroughly wash the apples in warm water before consumption.

Storage:

Store apples in the refrigerator crisper drawer in a plastic bag with holes or cover with a damp paper towel. For cut apples, you can dunk them in a sodium chloride solution, which is basically salt and water, for about ten minutes to prevent them from oxidizing (turning brown) in the fridge. Just make sure to give them a good wash afterwards to remove the salty taste.

Remember not to store apples with other vegetables or fruits because apples give off ethylene gas which may cause the other fruits or vegetables to decay faster.

Cooking:

Apples have an almost unlimited number of cooking uses with the most well-known one being the apple pie. Apple pairs well with cinnamon they are usually used together in a number of recipes.

Apples can also be made into crispy chips which makes a great snack all year round.

From pies, cakes, tarts, sauces and juice, if fruit can be used in a recipe, it’s a good bet that apple can be used as a substitute for it.

Nutrition:

Apples are an exceptionally healthy fruit with the research and common knowledge backing it.

  • Carbs
    • Apples contain 13.8 grams of carbs per 100g of fruit or approximately one medium apple
    • Apple’s glycemic index is low, ranging from 29-44 which makes them perfect for snacking without affecting your sugar levels
  • Fiber
    • A medium-sized fruit contains 4g of fiber which is 17% of the required daily intake for fiber
    • Fiber helps moderate blood sugar levels and maintains gut health by flushing out toxins in our guts
  • Protein
    • A medium-sized apple only contains 0.3 grams of protein, making then a negligible source of protein
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • Vitamin C: Apples are a good source of vitamin C that is an antioxidant that helps maintain overall health and immune system response
    • Potassium: This is the main mineral in apples, this promotes heart and muscle health when consumed in high amounts

When Are Apples in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 126 6%
  • Carbs: 33.4g 11%
  • Sugar: 25.1g 0
  • Fiber: 5.8g 23%
  • Protein: 0.6g 1%
  • Fat: 0.4g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0g 0%
  • Sodium 2.4mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 11.1mg 19%
  • Vitamin A 131IU 3%
  • Calcium 14.5mg 1%
  • Iron 0.3mg 2%
  • Potassium 259mg 7%
  • Vitamin E 0.4mg 2%
  • Vitamin K 5.3mcg 7%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg 5%
  • Folate 7.3mcg 2%
  • Magnesium 12.1mg 3%
  • Phosphorus 26.6mg 3%
  • Manganese 0.1mg 4%
  • Copper 0.1mg 3%
  • Zinc 0.1mg 1%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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