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Crisp, sweet, and tart, most apples are harvested between autumn and early winter, which means that we now find ourselves in the midst of peak apple season — and we couldn’t be more excited. Apples, which originated in Asia long ago, are among the world’s most ubiquitous and beloved foods, and for good reason. They’re delicious.

Not only are apples portable little handheld treats in their own right, but they also have the ability to transform into a plethora of sensational fall-time staples, provided you’re willing to spend some time cooking or baking with them. Here’s everything you need to know about apples, from the different varieties to look out for, and how to use them once you’ve bought them.

‘An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away’

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The old saying is actually pretty true. One medium apple has about 95 calories and four grams of fiber, which can improve digestive health. They’re high in antioxidants and are a significant source of flavonoids, which reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Apples were ranked in the top 10 healthy foods by Medical News Today, and the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

How to Choose the Right Apple

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If you’re lucky enough to live by an apple orchard, grab a basket and pluck away to your heart’s content. For those of us who don’t have any accessible apple trees nearby, your grocery store will likely have a few varieties in stock. Don’t forget farmers markets, too! You’ll be able to find many varieties of apples — even ones you haven’t heard of before, particularly if you live in states that grow apples, such as New York and Washington.

Choosing your apples is a fairly simple process. Try to find firm apples — unlike avocados, if you pick up an apple and find that it has some give, that’s a bad sign. You ideally want to find apples that are vibrant in their respective hues and have no brown spots or tears in their flesh.

Once you purchase your apple, you can store them at room temperature if you plan on eating them relatively early, but be aware that apples will continue to ripen at room temperature until they go rotten. If you’re not planning on eating your apples in a day or two, go ahead and store them in your refrigerator, where they’ll last for around a week.

By the way, if you have some other fruits hanging around — like bananas — that aren’t ripened yet, you can actually use your apples to speed up their ripening process. One bad apple may not ruin the whole bunch, but it sure can ripen it!

Varieties of Apples

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Fans of Snow White probably remember watching in horror as the Disney princess bit into the poisoned crimson apple, but in reality, apples come in all shapes, sizes, and shades. Check out this guide that teaches you how to Use the Right Apple for the Right Recipe.

If you’re looking for an apple to eat on-the-go, some popular choices include the deeply-hued Red Delicious apples, the crunchy and sweet Fuji, the crisp and aromatic Gala, the green and tart Granny Smith, the very sweet Golden Delicious, or even the refreshing McIntosh.

Bakers tend to opt for apples that have sturdier textures and even have notes of spiciness or tartness to counteract the sugar content. Jonagolds, Honeycrisps, Braeburns, Pink Ladies, and Winesaps are some good baking varieties to keep an eye out for.

Prepping Your Apples

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If you’re not planning on just eating your apple as it is, and instead want to prepare it for a recipe, we suggest first washing and patting dry your apple, and then either cutting into it with a sharp knife or buying an apple-cutter. Apple-cutters are handy because they slice your apple into wedges that you can pack for an easy lunch, and also dispose of the core for you.

Apple seeds should not be consumed and should be discarded, while the flesh of an apple is packed with good-for-you nutrients like fiber and should be consumed! However, if a recipe calls for a skinned apple, you can use an apple peeler.

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Apple Crumble

Whether you want to make a dessert or savory dish, our Food Monster App has you covered. Not only do we have a guide on 10 Delicious Ways to Cook with Apples, but we also have called out 31 Awesome Apple Recipes This Will Make You Feel Warm and Cozy.

Are you a breakfast person? Try this recipe for Maple Buckwheat Crepes With Spiced Apple Chestnut Relish, or sprinkle some Apple Walnut Spice Granola on top of your vegan yogurt. This Apple Cornbread French Toast Cake With Roasted Strawberries won’t disappoint.

Trying to tuck into dinner? You can’t go wrong with Autumn Harvest Squash and Apple Burgers, Sauerkraut Salad With Apples and Walnuts, or Curried Butternut Squash Noodles With Apples and Dates.

For some classic fall dessert, you can’t go wrong with this gluten-free Apple Crumble Pie, pictured above, or any of these vegan Apple Pie recipes. If you want to get creative, this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Dessert Tacos melds classic fall flavors together with the format of a taco.

For more, check out this article that teaches you how to move Beyond Apple Sauce and whip up amazing apple-centric dishes, and also make sure to check out these 24 Awesome Apple-Based Vegan Recipes.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

For more Vegan Food, Health, Recipe, Animal, and Life content published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter!

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