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Jenna Smith: Picking the best apple variety depends on you

Jenna Smith: Picking the best apple variety depends on you

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Apple orchards are gearing up for the apple season. And if you haven’t made plans to visit your local orchard, you should! Apple picking is fun for the whole family, and can quickly get you excited about all the great foods autumn has to offer.

Did you know there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples? Each time an apple seed is planted, a slightly different variety than its parent apple tree emerges. That makes for a lot of different apples! But which apples are best for snacking, baking, or making applesauce? That depends on your own taste buds!

Granny Smith apples are tart and hold their shape well when baking. They are generally known as the ideal apple for baking pies. Golden Delicious apples are considered the “best all-around” apple because these sweet-tasting apples are good for baking or snacking, and they freeze well. A Gala (sweet) or Jonathan (slightly tart) apple are also good for baking or simply biting into as a snack. A McIntosh apple falls to pieces when cooked, so it’s great for making applesauce. But Fuji (sweet) and Winesap apples (slightly tart, spicy wine-like flavor) are also favorites for applesauce eaters.

Choose firm apples with smooth skin, free of bruises and blemishes. Store apples in the refrigerator away from other produce; apples release ethylene gas, which can be damaging to lettuce and other produce. Try apples in more than just apple pie! Cooked apples can make a great accompaniment to meat, especially in this pork recipe!

Roasted Apple Pork

1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin

3 tart apples, peeled, chopped

1 cup apple juice

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

In a small saucepan, combine apples, apple juice, onions, honey, rosemary and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Let cool. Place pork loin in a large resealable plastic bag. Add half the marinade. Reseal and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate remaining marinade.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain and discard marinade from pork. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place pork in pan. Bake uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Reheat remaining marinade and serve with pork.

Yield: 9 servings

Nutrient analysis: 440 calories, 23 grams fat, 45 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrate, 41 grams protein.

Smith is nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.

 

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