Get an apple peeler/corer/slicer. The modern ones attach with suction right to your table or counter. It makes short work when preparing apples for applesauce, pies, crisps and other baked goods.
Prevent the natural browning that occurs when apples are cut by dipping the cut fruit in a mild solution of water and lemon juice, or sprinkle it with fresh lemon juice.
Apple cider and apple juice can be used interchangeably in any recipe.
Judging Apple Quality
Good color indicates full flavor. Don’t be turned off by russeting a tough reddish brown skin on part of the apple, this will not affect eating quality or flavor.
Apples should be firm and free of bruises.
Check with the orchard to know what varieties are at the peak of ripeness. Apples picked before they are ripe will not ripen more once they are picked.
Best Pie Apple?
The best apples to use for a scrumptious apple pie is a matter of personal opinion. No particular variety truly qualifies as the “best” pie apple but here are a few suggestions for pie success. If you like a sweet pie, use Crispin, Golden Delicious, Jonagold or Winesap. In fact, you can reduce the amount of sugar if you use these sweet varieties. For a more tart pie with a strong apple favor, try Cortland, Empire, Granny Smith, Idared, Northern Spy, Rhode Island Greening or Rome. Many people love the classic McIntosh pie, but be sure to add thickener because the tender McIntosh flesh breaks down easily.
How to Store Apples
Most early apples are best for fresh eating, salads, fruit cups and desserts. Refrigerate them and use them within 3 to 4 weeks – they do not store well.
Apples bought in bulk should be stored in the hydrator or in a covered container in the refrigerator to maintain proper humidity.
Apples kept in a polyethlene bag in the refrigerator should be misted inside the bag periodically during storage.
With no refrigerator space available, keep apples in as cool a place as possible and line the basket with aluminum foil or plastic to prevent moisture loss. Covering the basket with a damp towel will also help increase humidity.
Polished red apples make a handsome centerpiece, but don’t keep apples in the fruit bowl longer than 5 to 7 days. They will dry out, soften, lose flavor and develop tough skin.