Friday, September 25, 2009

Nothing Tastier Than Missouri Apple Picked From the Tree

By David Burton
University Extension

Missouri was once one of the leading apple producing states in America. The world famous Haseltine Orchard near Springfield actually led the way along with other smaller orchards throughout southwest Missouri.
Missouri still produces about one million bushels of apples every year.
“There is nothing tastier than an apple picked right off the tree. This time of year in Missouri, that is a fairly easy thing to do,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
Apples can be canned, frozen or dried. They can be made into apple butter, jelly, juice, apple sauce and delicious homemade pies.
Jonathan, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are the three most commonly grown apples in Missouri but Gala, Fuji, Winesap and Rome Beauty can also be found in the state.
The Jonathan apple has been grown in Missouri for over 150 years and is the most widely grown apple in the state. Harvest for Jonathan apples usually starts the first of September.
“Jonathan is crisp, juicy and tart and considered to be the best all-purpose apple. It is great to cook and bake with and can be a great part of a sack lunch,” said Roberts.
Golden Delicious apples are juicy but mild flavored. They are naturally sweet so are great to eat right off the tree.
“Golden Delicious apples are also good for pies, apple sauce and fresh salads. In Missouri they are ready to pick toward the end of September,” said Roberts.
Red Delicious apples are best eaten as the whole fruit. They are usually harvested starting in mid-September. One apple has only about 80 calories and around four grams of fiber.
Fresh apples need to be stored in a cool place to help keep them fresh and prevent rotting. A good apple should be bright, crisp and juicy.
“It is best to maintain a temperature of 32 to 40 degrees for the best results for apples. Be careful not to get below 32 degrees because freezing will deteriorate the apples quickly,” said Roberts.
Just beware, apples that ripen in late summer do not keep as long as apples harvested later in the fall.
“In Missouri, Fuji is the apple that keeps the best. If stored properly it will retain its crisp juicy texture for several months,” said Roberts.
For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.
For more information about Missouri's apples, go to http://plantsci.missouri.edu/apple/

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