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 Enjoy apples now and for months to come


We’ve all heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But did you know an apple before grocery shopping means you will buy more fruits and vegetables?

Researchers at Cornell University found that people who ate a healthy snack before grocery shopping purchased 25 to 28% more produce than those who ate a cookie or nothing at all before heading to the store.

Take advantage of apple season to incorporate this healthy habit into your lifestyle.

Have an apple or other healthy snack before your next trip to the grocery store. Your healthier mindset will have you filling your cart with more fruits and vegetables.

Then tantalize your taste buds by trying some new-to-you apple varieties. You’ll find a wide variety at farmer’s markets, orchards, and retailers this time of year. Many offer samples and provide recipes and recommendations for the best snacking, baking and processing varieties. Or buy a collection of apples and conduct your own taste test. 

Extend your enjoyment with proper storage. Use bruised, cut or damaged fruit as soon as possible, and only store apples that are firm and blemish-free.

Mature apples store best in temperatures between 32 and 39 degrees with 95% humidity.

Providing ideal storage conditions is not always possible. Maximize their storage life by placing apples in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The plastic bag helps increase the humidity around the fruit while allowing air to flow through the holes.

If refrigerator space is limited consider preserving some of the apples.

Make them into sauce or apple pie filling for canning. Peel, chop, cook and dry apples into fruit leathers for snacking. Make and freeze apple pies for a quick and easy dessert to simply bake and serve when needed. 

Add some fun by converting a few apples into apple heads.

This native American tradition was picked up by the settlers and is now a part of American folk art. 

All you need are a couple of apples, ½ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons salt, a bowl of water, a pencil and a knife. 

Mix salt and lemon juice in a bowl of water and set aside.  Peel the apple and core it, if you want to place it on a stick or prefer a long droopy face.  Draw the outline of the face then carve the features into the apple. 

Soak the carved apple in the bowl of salty lemon water for about ten minutes. Set on a cooling rack or hang the apples in a warm place to dry.  Apples are ready when spongy or leathery to the touch.

Add a few details to the apple head by inserting beads for the eyes and rice for the teeth.  Use it as a head for a doll or place it on a stick and add it to your Halloween decorations.

Take advantage of apple season to find new ways to include apples in your diet. You’ll enjoy the diversity of flavors and many uses this healthful fruit provides. 

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including the recently released “Midwest Gardener’s Handbook,” 2nd Edition and “Small Space Gardening”. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” instant video and DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ website is

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