Apples are a healthy snack and available in the winter

Nutritious apples are often thought of as a fall fruit. Several varieties, including local Michigan apples, can be found well into the winter months.

Most people think of apples as a favorite fall fruit, but many varieties, including local Michigan apples can be found into the winter months. The Michigan varieties that you tend to find during the winter are the red and gold kinds like Red Delicious, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Ida Red and Empire. Other varieties from different geographic areas may be found as well.

Why choose apples? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if eaten with the peel, they are a great source of fiber and some vitamin C. Apples are ideal because at about 95 calories, they make a great grab-and-go snack. For something a bit more satisfying you can add peanut butter, low-fat cheese or low-fat vanilla yogurt. Apples are also great additions to meals. You can add them to salads, side dishes, or bake them for a healthier dessert. For ideas and recipes, the Fruits and Veggies More Matters website has a Top Ten list of what to do with apples.

When looking for apples in the store, pick out those that have a smooth, firm texture and still have the stem intact. They should smell fresh, not musty. At home, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator where they should last about three weeks to a month. If any apples start rotting, throw them away or the other apples will start to rot as well.

If you want to take the next step you can freeze or can apples. MSU Extension has a bulletin with information on storing and preserving apples, or to contact an MSU Extension Educator in your area.

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