Apples: Michigan’s fall bounty

With bushels of apples filling our Michigan markets, learn how to select, store and prepare delicious apple treats!

While driving in northern Michigan, you can start to see the signs of apple harvest; ripe, juicy apples ready for picking and crates of apples being packed for production. Apples are a delicious fall treat that Michigan grows in abundance. Michigan is the third largest producer of apples in the nation and grows many different varieties. This year’s crop is slated to be a near record crop given the favorable weather this spring and summer.

Apples are a healthy choice that is convenient, fast and nutritious. Apples are naturally fat and cholesterol free and are an excellent source of fiber. Michigan State University Extension recommends washing apples, like any produce prior to consumption. Apples are convenient and store well. Store apples in the refrigerator or in a cool place; ideally between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit. When stored properly, they can be kept for up to a month.

With the multiple varieties of apples, when I go to the farm market I struggle to select the right types of apples for my favorite apple recipes. The Michigan Apple Committee website has a comprehensive listing of Michigan apples and their preferred usage. For snacking, they recommend Empire, Fugi, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious. For baking or cooking, try Courtland, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Jonathan, McIntosh or Northern Spy.

Take advantage of this year’s bumper crop and preserve apples for enjoyment all year. Apples can be frozen, canned or dehydrated. You have many options for preserving apples and it’s important for you to think about how you want to use them. If you want to make apple pie, you may want to slice them, coat them with ascorbic acid and tray freeze them, in order to create an individually quick frozen product for easy measuring later. You can also freeze apples in a syrup or sugar pack. Applesauce is always a family favorite. Prepare your applesauce and you can either freeze using a one-inch headspace for wide mouth containers or 1.5 inch opening for narrow mouth containers. If freezer space is an issue, you can also preserve the applesauce by using these recommendations for the boiling water bath canning method. Check out Michigan Fresh – Using and Storing Apples for the best ways to store and preserve apples.

With so many unique apple varieties and so many different ways to use apples, get ready to savor the delicious creations you can make. Apples are a healthy choice so enjoy them all year round by preserving!