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A barrel of apples.

U researchers have been breeding apples for almost a century. There are 14 University of Minnesota varieties in the market.

Apples for today, tomorrow, and later

From eNews, October 13, 2005

Between August and mid-October, apples are at their peak. If you're not planning to eat them immediately, store them in a cool, dark place. Here are more tips for storing your apples and keeping them fresh.

Refrigerate Apples will remain crisp and juicy longer if you refrigerate them. Keep the apples in the humidifier compartment or in plastic bags with small air holes to keep a high moisture level.

Anti-browning Apples darken quickly when they are exposed to air. You can keep them looking fresh for cooking or preserving by dipping them in a lemon juice solution--mix three tablespoons of bottled lemon juice with one quart of water.

Apple research at the U

For almost a century, University of Minnesota researchers have been breeding apples that can thrive in the harsh conditions of extremely cold winters and hot dry summers. There are 14 U varieties; these include Haralson (1922), Fireside (1943), State Fair (1977), and Zestar! (1998). This fall, the U will unveil a new winter apple--still unnamed and under development for the past 30 years--so stay tuned. The apple will feature a rich, sweet flavor with hardiness comparable to the Honeycrisp. To learn more about the Honeycrisp, see "It's Honeycrisp time!"

For general information about apples, see the U's apple Web site.

Ignore fallen apples If you want to can apple slices, sauces, and sweet spreads, use only high-quality apples or apples with no signs of decay. Don't can "windfall apples" (fruit that has fallen from the tree) because they're likely to contain mold spores that can spoil the end result. Choose apples that are juicy, crispy, and preferably both sweet and tart.

Freezing apples When freezing, pick apples that have crisp and firm textures, and use varieties that are good for making pies and sauces. Frozen apples keep better texture and flavor if they are packed in sugar or sugar syrup. However, you can freeze unsweetened apple slices if you are going to cook or bake them in pies or cobblers. Freeze slices on a cookie sheet and when they are completely frozen, remove the slices and pack them in freezer containers.

Drying apples The best apple varieties for making dried apple rings, wedges, and chips are firm-textured and tart.

For more tips on how to store and cook apples, including which varieties to choose for your specific purposes, see "Apples for Minnesota and their Culinary Use," a U of M Extension publication, or visit the U's Apple House, one mile west of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.

At the Apple House, you can sample and buy Minnesota-raised apples from a changing inventory of 150 varieties or stock up on Minnesota Landscape Arboretum-made apple butter, maple syrup, honey, and caramel apples. It's open through Halloween (or later depending on growing conditions); store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For directions and a daily update of the available apple varieties, call the Apple House Infoline at 952-443-1409.

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