The apple may indeed be the most popular and well-known fruit in the world. Apples are grown on every continent except Antarctica and are produced commercially in 36 states.
The reason for this popularity, besides its ability to grow in many temperate regions, is the apple’s versatility, long shelf life, and large number of varieties that differ in their sweetness, color and flavor.
The bulk of Georgia’s apple harvest is in the late summer and fall (August –December) but a few varieties ripen in early summer. The long season is due to our geography (north-south orientation and changes in elevation) and due to the fact that we grow almost four dozen varieties commercially in the state.
If you only know one or two apple varieties, make this the year to try something different like a Georgia Grown Stayman Winesap, Arkansas Black, Detroit Red, Limbertwig, Ozark Gold, Lady, Cameo, Ginger Gold, Goldrush, Horse, Rome Beauty, Pritchett Golden, Braeburn, Criterion, Splendor, Swiss Gourmet, Yates, Empire, Albemarle Pippin, McIntosh, Mutsu, Gala, Pristine or Honeycrisp. Buy them in grocery stores, at farmers markets or at the orchard. A day trip to a Georgia apple orchard can be a fun and educational adventure for the whole family.
If you have never tried a Georgia Grown apple, make this the year to do it. You may be surprised at how our apples may even look different from those grown in other areas. For example, when Red Delicious apples are grown in the South they are rounder than and not as elongated as those from Washington. Also, ours are not as red. Although they look different, you will be more than pleased with the flavor.
There are thousands of recipes using apples: fruit salads, green salads, cakes, pies, jellies, juices and ciders (hard and sweet), even apple martinis. The sweetness and crispness of apples make them a good complement with cheddar cheese and other cheeses at snack time. Try apples and a sharp cheese after a meal instead of a sugary dessert. Pecans and other nuts are good partners with apples. Dipping an apple slice in peanut butter provides a healthy after-school energy boost or break at the office.
The simplest recipe: Pick up a Georgia Grown apple and bite into it. Add salt if desired.
Apple Recipes from the Georgia Farmers & Consumers Market Bulletin:
Light Georgia Apple Cake
Hot Apple Tea
Farmhouse Apple Salad