Moultrie Observer

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November 6, 2012

Apple season is here

MOULTRIE — If planning a fall trip to the mountains, it may include a stop to purchase apples.

Ever feel overwhelmed by the sight of so many varieties? Here are some tips to help make wise choices this apple season and select varieties that  can be preserved successfully for the winter.

Whether purchasing apples or picking them from the backyard, their flavor is best when they are at the peak of maturity.  Remember, size does not determine maturity.  Choose apples that are free of defects such as bruises, skin breaks, and decayed spots. Do not worry about “russeting,” which is the little brown spots on the skin of the apples. It does not affect the quality. Soft apples tend to have a mealy texture and overripe flavor; so choose hard, firm apples.

Keep apples in a cool, dark place and do not tightly cover or wrap. Use a perforated plastic or open paper bag, basket, or wooden crate to keep apples at peak quality while enjoying their fresh flavor. If refrigerated, place apples in the humidifier compartment or in a plastic or zipper-type vegetable bag with several holes punched in it.  This protects the moisture and crispness of the apples. Do not refrigerate apples near foods that have strong odors since they may acquire those odors.

To preserve apples be sure to choose them at peak flavor and quality and determine the preservation method that fits the needs.  This versatile fruit is delicious dried, made into applesauce or apple butter, or combined with pears for apple pear jam. Apples do not make the highest quality slices when frozen or canned, but may be preserved by these methods.

Choose the preservation method that best suits the apple variety. For freezing select Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan and Granny Smith. For making applesauce or apple butter, use Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Gravenstein, and McIntosh. Red Delicious apples do not cook or freeze well, so they are best when eaten fresh. When making applesauce, apple butter, or dried apple slices, it is important to process them as soon as possible after they are harvested.

Choose apples that are top quality, store them carefully, and preserve some of the favorite varieties.

For more information, contact Andrea Scarrow, Colquitt County Cooperative Extension FACS Agent, at ascarrow@uga.edu or (229)616-7455.

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