Celebrate Michigan apples

Apples can be used year-round in a variety of ways.

Michigan is the nation’s third largest producer of apples. There are more than 9.2 million apple trees covering 36,500 acres on 850 family operated farms in Michigan. Michigan produces an estimated 30 million bushels of apples each year, according to the Pure Michigan website. National Michigan apple month is celebrated in October.

Apples are naturally free from fat, saturated fat and sodium. They are a good source of fiber and contain important antioxidants and phytochemicals that play an important role in the preventions of chronic diseases. Research studies on the consumption of apples have shown that they are beneficial (along with a healthy diet) in decreasing the risks of heart disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure, aiding in weight loss and protecting brain cells.

Michigan grows a variety of apples, from tart to sweet in taste:

  • Cortland – contains a hint of tartness but great for baking.
  • Empire – sweet but tart flavor, great for lunches and stores well.
  • Fuji – sweet but tart flavor with low acid and stores well.
  • Gala – represents a mellow sweetness, great for baking and eating.
  • Ginger Gold – an early apple with a sweet, spicy but tart flavor.
  • Golden Delicious – gingery, smooth sweet taste that is great for eating or baking.
  • Honey Crisp – sweet and crisp. Tastes great eaten fresh.
  • Ide Red – tangy and tart flavor, great for eating or baking.
  • Jonagold – crisp and juicy with tastes of tart and sweet throughout.
  • Jonathon – juicy with spicy tang in flavor. Good for baking and eating.
  • Macintosh – very aromatic with alight tart flavor and juicy.
  • Northern Spy – tart and acidic, considered a bakers dream.
  • Paula Red – available only in October with a tart flavor and good for baking or eating.
  • Red Delicious – Known as “five little bumps” with a sweet taste, great for eating.
  • Rome – mild, sweet flavor used mostly in baking.
  • Winesap – tart, tangy and juicy, great for eating.
  • Braeburn – mildly sweet and crispy, good to eat and for baking.

Apples may be used in a variety of ways including meals, snacks and desserts. Some ideas from Michigan State University Extension include:

  • Topping whole grain French toast with unsweetened Michigan applesauce and sprinkling with cinnamon sugar. Mix: 1 (16 ounce) bag of prepared coleslaw mix, 1 large Michigan Apple, cored and finely diced, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 cup bottled low-fat coleslaw dressing.
  • Add a finely chopped Michigan apple to a jar of prepared salsa. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips.

For more ideas on how to use Michigan apples, connect to www.michigan.org and for more healthy eating ideas visit www.msue.msu.edu.

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