By Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent

You probably have heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

The person who coined that phrase knew what he or she was talking about. Researchers have shown that apples are good for your health. Apples also provide taste, texture and color in your diet.

Apples have been studied for their effects on a variety of health issues. They have been found to help with weight maintenance or loss and blood glucose control, and they may reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer and some behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

One apple contains 5 grams of fiber. The skin provides the majority of the fiber content. Eating a fresh apple with the peel intact will give you the maximum health benefit.

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A medium apple contains about 80 calories and is fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free. Apples also provide vitamins C and A.

Do you have a type of apple that you like best? Apples can be sweet, tart, crisp, soft, smooth or crunchy, depending on the variety.

We can grow many types of apples in North Dakota and the Midwest region. More than 2,500 apple cultivars are grown in the U.S., and more than 7,500 are grown worldwide. These cultivars grow well in North Dakota:

  • Hazen
  • Honeycrisp
  • Zestar

  • Sweet Sixteen

  • Haralred

You can purchase fresh, canned, dried or frozen apples and make a variety of baked goods with them, including pie and cobbler. You also can cook and eat apples by themselves, and you can preserve them or make them into applesauce, cider or juice. Tart apples are better for cooking, while sweeter apples are better for fresh eating.

Fresh apples will turn brown when cut and exposed to air. If you are planning to serve sliced apples, add a few drops of lemon juice to slow the discoloration. Apples can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but if kept longer, they should be refrigerated. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.

For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu