Glass Bakeware

Glass 101 – About the Types of Glass Used in the Kitchen

About the Types of Glass Used in the Kitchen
Soda-Lime vs Tempered vs Borosilicate Glass

There is a growing trend to move away from plastic food containers and metal bakeware, and there are many good reasons for doing so. However, the more we explore this option, the more it can become confusing. There are different types of glassware available. So, the question remains…Which one is best for me? This article explores the different types of glassware available today, so that you can make an informed decision on what type of glassware is best for you.

About the Different Types of Glass for Kitchen Use
Not all glass is created equal. However, each type has its own advantages and potential drawbacks. Which type of glass is best to buy will depend on your intended use for the item itself. The following should help you when shopping for glass items for your kitchen.

Components of Glass. All types of glass contain silicon dioxide, boron trioxide, sodium oxide, and aluminum oxide. However, the proportions of each chemical vary between glass types. The chemical composition affects the strength and melting points of glass. There are three types of glass that can be found in the kitchen: Soda-lime, tempered, and borosilicate glass.

About the Annealing Process. Annealing is a process of heating and cooling glass at a controlled rate during manufacturing. This step improves the glass’ durability and helps to reduce internal stresses that could cause breakage when the glass is heated and cooled during normal use. Annealed glass may be referred to as non-tempered glass or float glass. Annealed glass is not as strong as tempered glass. When annealed glass gets broken, it breaks into sharp, jagged pieces that could hurt someone nearby. When tempered glass gets broken, it breaks into small, smooth, relatively harmless pieces.

Since annealed glass does not go through extensive processing, it is cheaper to make than tempered glass. Annealed glass has optimal versatility for the manufacturer, so it can be crafted in many styles and designs, allowing it to be customized in many ways.

Soda-Lime Glass
Soda-lime glass is the most common type of glass. It may also be referred to as “soda-lime-silica glass” and may also be referred to as “annealed glass” since it is put through the annealing process. This glass is usually used for windowpanes, light bulbs, and glass containers like bottles and jars for beverages, food, and some commodities. Mason jars are made of soda-lime, annealed glass. Because of its chemical makeup, soda-lime glass is not as strong as other types of glass and will break easily when subjected to being bumped, or sudden extreme temperature changes (also known as thermal shock). While any glass can break with extreme sudden temperature changes or mechanical bumps, soda-lime glass will break the easiest under such conditions. It is relatively inexpensive to make, so it would be the preferred glass to manufacture. About ninety percent of manufactured glass is soda-lime glass. Soda-lime glass does not contain as much silicone dioxide (69%) as does borosilicate glass (80.6%).

Soda-lime glass is smooth and nonporous, allowing it to be easily cleaned. It resists chemicals in water solutions, so they will not contaminate the contents nor affect the flavor of anything stored in the glass. However, soda-lime glass does not tolerate very high temperatures, sudden temperature changes, or being bumped mechanically without cracking, chipping or breaking. For example, it can break when exposed to a sudden temperature change, such as when pouring very hot liquid into a cool glass.

Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is soda-lime glass that has been specially treated to make it stronger and more durable. In the manufacturing process, soda-lime glass is subjected to extremely high temperatures, followed by a few seconds of a high-pressure cooling technique called quenching. Tempered glass can also be created through chemical treatment causing the glass to compress. However, the chemical process is expensive and not used very often. When tempered glass shatters, it breaks into small pieces, making it less likely to cause injury than when untempered soda-lime glass shatters.

Tempered glass is very durable and resists smudges, allowing for easy removal of fingerprints. It is much harder and stronger than untempered soda-lime glass, and can tolerate temperatures up to 470°F. However, despite its strength, tempered glass should not be subjected to sudden extreme temperature changes, which could cause it to shatter. An example would be removing a glass bakeware dish with food in it from a 450°F oven and placing it on a cold marble slab or countertop. After removing a hot glass baking dish from the oven, place it on dry hot pads, towels or trivets that will absorb the warmth of the dish rather than shocking it with a much cooler temperature. A lot of glass bakeware is currently made from tempered soda-lime glass.

Borosilicate Glass
In addition to the other components, borosilicate glass contains boron trioxide. This ingredient makes the glass very strong so it is unlikely to crack when exposed to extreme temperature changes. It is also very resistant to chemical corrosion. Therefore, borosilicate glass is harder, stronger, and more durable than soda-lime glass, tempered or not. This type of glass is used in some bakeware since it can tolerate extreme temperature changes far better than tempered soda-lime glass. It is also used in pipelines, sealed-beam headlights, and laboratory equipment. Interestingly, borosilicate glass is more likely to break when dropped than tempered soda-lime glass. When it breaks, it shatters into large sharp pieces that can cause serious injury to anyone nearby.

So, the question remains…Which brand is made of which type of glass, and which type of glassware is best for me?

You will need to be the judge on which type of glass bakeware is best for you, based on your personal needs, applications, and habits. The following information gives insight to some of the common brands of glass bakeware currently on the market.

Pyrex (World Kitchen) Glassware
Many of us own Pyrex glassware. The company was established in 1915 and originally made its glassware products with borosilicate glass. In recent years, corporate changes took place and newer products have since been made with tempered soda-lime glass. As a consumer, you can easily determine which type of glass your glassware is made from by looking at the brand name. If it is spelled in all capital letters (PYREX), it was made with borosilicate glass. If it is spelled in all small letters (pyrex), it was made with tempered soda-lime glass. Any newer borosilicate PYREX glassware is currently being made in Europe.

Anchor Hocking Glassware
This brand of glass bakeware is made of tempered soda-lime glass.

Libby Glassware
Libby glass bakeware is made of tempered soda-lime glass.

1790 Brand Glassware
This brand of glassware is made of borosilicate glass.

Amazon Basics Glass Bakeware
This brand of glassware is made of borosilicate glass.

OXO Glass Bakeware
This brand of glassware is made of borosilicate glass.

How to Minimize the Risk of Breakage
Glass bakeware comes with instructions for use and care. We should all read the paperwork that comes with such things, and follow the instructions carefully. But many times, the paperwork gets tossed aside and never read. So, here are some general tips for the safe use of glass bakeware.

* Avoid extreme changes in temperature, such as taking glassware directly from the freezer to a hot oven, or from a hot oven to the sink. Care should also be used when placing a frozen glassware item into the microwave.

* Do not add liquid to hot glassware. Allow it to cool down first.

* Do not place hot glass bakeware on cold or wet surfaces, countertops, or stovetops. Instead, place them on a dry towel or hot pads, wooden cutting board, cooling rack, or trivets designed for hot glass items.

* Do not put hot glassware into the refrigerator or freezer. Allow it to cool down first.

* Do not use glassware on the stovetop, under a broiler, or in a toaster oven.

* Do not heat empty glassware.

* Always preheat the oven first before placing glassware (WITH FOOD IN IT) in the oven.

* Don’t use glassware to microwave popcorn or heat food that is in browning wrappers.

* When heating cheese, oil, or butter in glassware in the microwave, don’t overheat it. Heat it only for the minimum time needed.

* Allow glass bakeware to cool completely before immersing it in water.

* Use care not to bump, poke, or scratch glass bakeware with utensils of any type.

* Do not use glass bakeware that has any chips, cracks or other damage, which can cause them to suddenly shatter.

* Do not microwave nearly empty glassware. Be sure it has ample food in it to absorb the heat generated by the radiation from the microwave.




Apples 101 – About Fuji Apples


Apples 101 – About Fuji Apples

Fuji apples originated in Fujisaki, Japan in the late 1930s. Growers at the Tohoku Research Station cross pollinated Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Janet apples to create the Fuji. Since the apple was introduced in the United States in the 1980s, its popularity has grown to becoming one of the most sold varieties of apples. Today, the United States grows more Fuji apples than Japan. Their popularity has grown to becoming the most commonly grown apple around the world.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Fuji apples are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They are also a good source of fiber along with some Vitamin A, iron, potassium, folate, magnesium, manganese, calcium, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, and pantothenic acid. One medium Fuji apple has about 100 calories.

Vitamin C is a critical antioxidant in the body and benefits health in a number of ways. Not only does it help to boost the immune system and support skin and membrane health, but Vitamin C also plays a role in preventing diabetes, cancer, and other medical conditions such as gout, high blood pressure, and iron deficiency.

One Fuji apple supplies between 4 and 5 grams of fiber, most of which is in the skin. Adequate fiber in the diet not only keeps the contents of the intestines moving forward, but it helps to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The peel of Fuji apples not only contains fiber, but also quercetin, a flavonoid that has been found to reduce the risk of heart attack by about 32 percent. In fact, Fuji apples have been found to have the highest overall concentration of bioflavonoids of any variety of apple. Quercetin and other bioflavonoids help protect us from serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They also help to maintain our overall health including controlling weight. Researchers have found that regular consumption of apples, like Fuji apples, may reduce our risk of lung cancer significantly, by up to 50 percent.

Characteristics of Fuji Apples
Appearance. Fuji apples are moderate in size and are somewhat round with a slight lopsided appearance. They have a semi-thick skin that is smooth, waxy, and has a yellow-green base covered in red-pink striping and blush. The skin colorations may vary depending on cultivation techniques. The flesh is dense, juicy, crispy, fine-grained and pale ivory to white in color.

Flavor and Texture. Fuji apples are dense, juicy, and crisp, with creamy white flesh. The apples are well-known for their exceptional sweetness, low acidity, juiciness, firmness, and crispiness. Their blend of sweetness and acid gives them the perfect balance of a sweet-tart flavor. Some people consider them to be the sweetest of all apple varieties. They have a Brix (sugar) level of 15 to 18, making them to be among the sweetest of apples.

Storage/Shelf-Life.  Fuji apples have a long storage life, making them available year-round. When kept in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a refrigerator, Fuji apples can keep for 3 months. Fuji apples are one of the best apples for freezing.

Best Uses for Fuji Apples
Fresh. Fuji apples are wonderful when eaten fresh. They are refreshing and satisfying. They can be sliced and tossed into green and fruit salads, grated into coleslaw, or chopped and used as a topping over oatmeal, pancakes, and cereal. They can be sliced thin and added to sandwiches. They may even be placed on a stick and dipped in caramel or candy coatings for a sweet treat at food festivals. Fuji apples pair well with assorted cheeses such as cheddar, goat, brie, Gorgonzola, and blue cheeses. Fuji apples can also be pressed into juices, and made into apple cider and wine.

Baking. Fuji apples are excellent when baked into pies, cakes, tarts, quiches, crumbles, crisps, and muffins. They can even be used as a pizza topping. They hold their shape well when baked, so they would be an excellent choice for baked apples.

Cooking. The thick skin and dense flesh of Fuji apples allows them to hold up well when cooked, making them a popular variety to be used in soups and roasts. Fuji apples pair well with meats such as pork chops, bacon, sausage, turkey and poultry. They can also be mashed into potatoes. They pair well with vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and green beans. Fuji apples can even be chopped and added to rice dishes for a touch of sweetness.

Drying. Fuji apples hold up well when dehydrated. As with any other apple, they should be first treated with an acid solution (such as lemon water) to prevent them from turning brown during the process.

Recipe Links
Ultimate Apple Crisp

Fuji Applesauce

Japanese Apple Salad

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Stovetop Recipe

Waldorf Salad

Easy Apple Crisp

Slow Cooker Baked Apple Dessert

Maple Pecan Apple Crisp

Apple Almond Galette

Hungry Girl’s Slow Cooker Apple and Oat Goodness

Easy Oven Baked Fuji Apple Chips

Baked Fuji Apple Slices

Healthy Baked Apples

Dehydrated Cinnamon Apples Recipe



About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Rutabagas 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)


Rutabagas 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Rutabagas
Rutabagas are root vegetables that are members of the cruciferous family. They are called rutabagas mostly in North America. Elsewhere around the world they are known as swedes. They may also be called yellow turnips or neeps.

Their origin remains a mystery, but many people believe they are native to Scandinavia and Russia, and are believed to be a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Their skin is yellowish at the root end, and purple toward the stem end. They look very much like turnips with pale yellow flesh. The flavor of rutabaga is peppery and slightly bitter when raw, but it becomes creamy and sweet when roasted.

Not only is the root of the plant edible, but the leafy greens are also used as food in various cultures. The leaves are eaten like many other leafy greens, such as collards and kale. The root (rutabaga) can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of ways, including like potatoes, being roasted or cooked and mashed. It may also be used as a filler in casseroles and even mincemeat.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Rutabagas are high in many nutrients which gives them a number of associated potential health benefits. They are exceptionally high in Vitamin C, with 1 cup of cooked rutabaga providing over 1/3 of the daily recommended intake of this important vitamin. They also contain a lot of Vitamin B1, fiber, folate, Vitamin B6, choline, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and even some calcium, iron and zinc.

Anti-Cancer Properties. Like other cruciferous vegetables, rutabagas are high in glucosinolates, sulfur-containing antioxidant compounds that are broken down during digestion into other health-promoting phytonutrients. These compounds include a variety of isothiocyanates that have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease and various types of cancer.

Boosts Immunity. The high level of Vitamin C found in rutabagas makes them a valuable food to include in the diet. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that is known for disarming free radicals, which are harmful molecules that damage healthy cells causing oxidative stress and leading to disease. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of white blood cells. These cells are valuable in protecting us from invading pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, thereby preventing illness.

In addition to boosting immunity, Vitamin C is also used in the production of collagen, which is important in the repair and maintenance of skin tissue, muscles, and blood vessels.

Rutabagas also contain a good supply of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant. Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E also fights cell damage, helping to maintain healthy cell membranes. Vitamins C and E work closely together, with Vitamin C helping to regenerate Vitamin E when it is depleted. This helps to provide continual protection for our cells.

Bowel Health. Rutabagas are an excellent source of fiber, with one medium rutabaga providing around one-fourth of the suggested daily fiber intake for adults. They are high in insoluble fiber, which provides bulk to the stool and promotes healthy bowel function. This not only prevents constipation, but also lowers the risk of colorectal cancer and other bowel diseases, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular Protection. Rutabagas also supply a lot of potassium, with one medium rutabaga providing about one-third of our daily needs. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing vessels. The potassium, along with the fiber in rutabagas, work together to help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Supports Bone Health. The vast array of minerals found in rutabagas work together to help keep bones healthy and strong. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a common age-related disorder plagued by many senior adults.

How to Select a Rutabaga
Look for rutabagas that are smaller rather than larger, since the smaller ones will be more tender. Choose ones that are 5-inches or less in diameter to avoid those that are tough and fibrous. Avoid ones with punctures, cracks, bruises, soft spots, or wrinkles. Most of the time, the roots will be covered with a protective wax coating which helps to extend their shelf life. However, you might find them unwaxed when they are in season, from late fall through winter.

How to Store Rutabagas
Store rutabagas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or in a cold cellar. They may keep for up to a month or longer, depending upon how fresh they were when purchased. If the leaves are still attached, they should be removed before storing the root to prevent it from drying out. Wrap the leaves in a slightly damp paper towel or cotton cloth, then place that loosely in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. Use the leaves as soon as possible.

How to Prepare Rutabagas
Rutabagas should be washed, then peeled with a sturdy vegetable peeler or a paring knife. When using a knife, it can be helpful to first trim a slice off the bottom so it can rest steadily when being trimmed. Once the rutabaga has been peeled, it can be cut into any shape needed, such as quartered, sliced, diced, shredded, or julienned.

How to Freeze Rutabagas
First peel, then cut your rutabagas into cubes. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place the cubes in the boiling water and immediately set the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer is finished, immediately transfer the cubes to a bowl of cold water. Allow them to cool for 3 minutes. Then drain the water and transfer the cubes to freezer containers or bags. Label them with the current date and use them within 6 months.

If preferred, to prevent the rutabaga cubes from freezing into a big lump, the blanched cubes may be frozen first before being placed in the freezer container or bags. Spread the blanched, cooled, and drained cubes out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined tray. Place that in the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer them to freezer containers or bags, as detailed above.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Rutabagas
* Try adding shredded rutabaga to your favorite coleslaw.

* Try baked rutabaga fries.

* Rutabagas need high humidity (but not a wet environment) and cold temperatures when being stored. Since the refrigerator is a very dry environment, they will keep best in plastic bags when being stored in the refrigerator.

* Try a hearty stew with carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, and other root vegetables.

* Try adding diced rutabaga to your favorite soups, stews, and casseroles.

* Try making hash browns with rutabagas instead of potatoes.

* Try adding a little grated raw rutabaga to a green salad.

* Try sautéed rutabagas with apples and a little honey.

* Try sautéing spiralized rutabaga noodles, seasoned with a little olive oil and salt.

* For a hint of the flavor of a rutabaga, smell it. The more pronounced the aroma, the more pungent the flavor.

* One medium rutabaga is about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds and will yield 4 to 5 cups when cubed.

* Although the flavors will be somewhat different and change the flavor profile of your dish to some degree, the following foods can be substituted for rutabaga in many recipes: turnips, broccoli stems, or kohlrabi bulbs. You could also substitute rutabagas with parsnips, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or carrots.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Rutabagas
Allspice, basil, bay leaf, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel seeds, mace, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, savory, star anise, tarragon, thyme, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Rutabagas
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, chestnuts, chicken, eggs, ham, hazelnuts, lamb, lentils, nuts (in general), peanuts, pistachios, pork, poultry, sausage, tofu, turkey

Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, celery, celery root, chives, fennel, garlic, ginger, greens (bitter, i.e., collard, dandelion), horseradish, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes (esp. mashed), root vegetables (in general), scallions, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress

Fruits: Apples (fresh, cider, juice), lemon, lime, orange, pears, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, farro, quinoa

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (esp. blue, cream, goat, Gruyère, Parmesan), coconut milk, cream, milk (dairy and non-dairy), sour cream

Other Foods: Agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, miso, molasses, mustard (prepared), oil (esp. hazelnut, nut, olive, sunflower), stock, sugar (esp. brown), vinegar (esp. balsamic, cider, malt, sherry)

Rutabagas have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., pies, tarts), casseroles, egg dishes (i.e., frittatas), hash (i.e., served with eggs),  purees, salads, Scottish cuisine, soups, stews, stir-fries, Swedish cuisine

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Rutabagas
Add rutabagas to any of the following combinations…

Apples + Carrots + Onions + Sweet Potatoes
Apples + Maple Syrup
Broccoli + Carrots
Caraway Seeds + Garlic
Carrots + Egg (fried) + Parsnips + Potatoes
Carrots + Mustard + Parsley + Potatoes
Carrots + Nutmeg + Potatoes
Cheese + Potatoes
Celery + Onions
Coconut Milk + Lime
Leeks + Turnips
Parsnips + Potatoes
Potatoes + Rosemary + Thyme

Recipe Links
Pan Roasted Rutabaga

Mashed Rutabaga with Sour Cream and Dill

7 Dinner Recipes That Will Have Your Tastebuds Rooting for Rutabaga

Mashed Potatoes with Rutabagas and Buttermilk

Carrots and Rutabagas with Lemon and Honey

Roasted Root Vegetables with Rosemary

9 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Eat Rutabaga

Rutabaga Chipotle Soup

Cider-Braised Corned Beef with Rutabaga

Creamy Rutabaga, Parsnip, and Cheddar Soup

Curried Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Roasted Rutabaga Hummus

Glazed Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables with Tomatoes and Kale



Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989. 3rd Edition. Athens, Georgia: Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia.

Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Envy Apples

Apples 101 – About Envy Apples


Apples 101 – About Envy Apples

Envy apples were developed in New Zealand by natural plant breeding methods (with no genetic modification) used to produce a fruit with desirable traits. Developers focused on appearance, flavor, and longevity. They are a cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala apples. Envy apples were first released for sale in 2009 with a projected production of 2 million cartons by 2020.

Envy apples are grown using a method introduced in New Zealand in 1996, where environmental concerns are taken into account. Only pesticides and fungicides based on the need at the time are applied to the tree, and nothing more. Most of New Zealand’s apples are grown using this method. If you’re concerned about chemicals on your apples, know that apples grown in this way have no more chemicals on them than what was needed to produce a quality product.

Currently Envy apples are grown in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and the United States in the state of Washington. Field tests are being done in the UK, France, and Italy in hopes of expanding production. They are available almost year-round from sources in New Zealand, Chile, and the United States.

Envy apples are sweet and slow to oxidize or turn brown, which makes them excellent apples for eating fresh. Because of their parentage, Envy apples are considered to be similar to Gala, Braeburn, Jazz, Pacific Rose, and Telstar apples.

Nutrition Facts
The nutritional aspects of Envy apples would be roughly equivalent to that of other sweet apples. One apple has about 95 calories. They are high in Vitamin C and fiber. They also supply potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, manganese, riboflavin, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamin, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. It is worth noting that a lot of the nutrients found in apples are in the skin. So, eat the peel, if possible.

Envy apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid that gives apples their color. Quercetin is also an antioxidant known to combat free radical damage and inflammation that is linked to cancer, heart disease, degenerative brain disorders, and other chronic diseases.

Characteristics of Envy Apples
Appearance. Envy apples are round with red skin that has some yellow to green striations or streaks, with specks throughout the skin. The flesh is pale yellow and is very slow to oxidize, taking up to 10 hours to begin to turn brown. This quality makes Envy apples an excellent choice for eating fresh in salads or served on appetizer trays.

Flavor and Texture. The pale-yellow flesh is crisp and sweet with a hint of tartness. The flavor has been described like that of a gourmet Asian pear, with floral and vanilla notes. The skin is thick and tougher than other apples. Also, the skin has what are known as lenticels, or small pores, that allow gases to exchange between the skin and flesh of the fruit. The lenticels appear as specks on the skin of the fruit. The more specks, the sweeter the fruit. So, if you want a sweet apple, select an Envy apple with a lot of specks on the skin!

In 2019, Envy apples were compared with other apples including Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, and Cosmic Crisp apples in a research study conducted in New York with 142 participants. Envy apples were ranked in first place for their flavor, texture, aroma, and appearance.

Storage/Shelf-Life.  When kept refrigerated, Envy apples should have a long storage life. How long will depend on the apple’s age when it was purchased. Apples store best in very cold and somewhat humid environments, with a temperature range from 30 to 40°F (the colder, the better). The refrigerator can meet the temperature need, so keeping them in the refrigerator crisper drawer with the air vent open should give them the longest life span possible. To help increase humidity (which helps to keep apples crisp), you could place a damp paper towel in the drawer with the apples. However, always keep the drawer air vent open to prevent the ethylene gas from building up around the apples, which would cause them to age faster.

Best Uses for Envy Apples
Fresh. Envy apples are excellent for any application where fresh apples would be used. Since they are very slow to oxidize, they will stay fresh looking when cut early for salads or appetizer trays. Envy apples are an excellent choice for classic Waldorf and other salads. Envy apples also pair well with cheese and fruity oatmeal bowls.

Baking. Envy apples are excellent when used in baked applications. Whether they are prepared as baked apples or included in pies, crisps, or other baked goods, the characteristics of their parents come through with the sweetness of Gala apples, and the texture of Braeburns. They can be used on their own or combined with other apples as desired. The flavor of Envy apples makes then an exceptional apple for cakes and pies.

Cooking. Envy apples can be cooked into sauce. They hold their shape and flavor well when cooked in any application. Envy apples pair well with chicken and pork in savory dishes, and also chicken salads. Bear in mind that the skin of Envy apples can be rather tough, so it won’t break down easily when cooked. It may be best to remove the skin when these apples used in any cooked dish.

Drying. Envy apples are good candidates for being dehydrated. Even though they are slow to brown, it would still be best to treat them with an acid solution (such as lemon water) before drying to help preserve their color.

Recipe Links
Envy Apple Oat Crumble and Citrus Caramel Topping

Grilled Chicken and Envy Apple BBQ Sauce

Savory French Toast with Envy Apple Salsa

Envy Avocado Toast

Roasted Peaches with Envy Apples with Warm Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Roasted Root Vegetables and Envy Apples with Pecan Crumble

Envy Apple and Strawberry Swirl Sorbet

Shaved Fennel and Envy Apple Salad

Envy Tropical Smoothie

Envy Apple Pumpkin Pie

Spiralized Envy Apple and Kale Salad

Elegant Envy Slaw

Best Apple Muffins


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Blackberries 101 – The Basics


Blackberries 101 – The Basics

About Blackberries
Blackberries are large, deep purple berries that often grow wild on thorny bushes. The plants are members of the Rubus (rose or Rosaceae) family. They are closely related to raspberries, which are in the same plant genus, Rubus. Blackberries are native to northern temperate areas, especially in eastern North America, and on the Pacific coast of North America.

There are 375 species of blackberry plants, found around the world. Today there are thousands of blackberry hybrid varieties, including thornless bushes, which were developed in recent years. The first modern blackberry variety was developed in 1880 by Judge Logan of California. His plant was released as the Loganberry. Blackberries are sometimes referred to as brambleberries. However, the term “brambleberry” can also be used to refer to other thorny bushes that produce fruits, such as raspberries, boysenberries, loganberries, and others.

Blackberries are sweet/sour, with a juicy texture and lots of crunchy seeds. They can be enjoyed fresh, cooked, and frozen, and are popular in desserts, jams, jellies, candy and sometimes wine. Blackberries are often combined with other fruit, such as apples, for pies and crumbles.

Ancient cultures rarely cultivated blackberry bushes. Instead, they were treated as wild plants and used for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks used blackberries as a remedy for gout. The ancient Romans made a medicinal tea from the leaves of the blackberry plant to treat assorted illnesses.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Blackberries are an excellent source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K, and also folate, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. They are a good source of amino acids (protein) and fiber. Blackberries have only 43 calories in 3.5 ounces (100 grams), and 1 cup (about 140 grams) has about 62 calories. They are a low-calorie food, so eat all you want!

Blackberries also have an abundant supply of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins and phenolic compounds, that give blackberries their deep color and offer a variety of health benefits.

Antioxidant Protection, Anti-Cancer and Other Health Effects. Research studies have suggested that berries high in anthocyanins (like blackberries) may protect against cancers of the esophagus, mouth, breast, colon, and possibly other types of cancer. Blackberry extracts have been shown to demonstrate antimutagenic effects by suppressing tumor promoting factors. This in itself helps to lower the risk of developing cancer. Research to this effect is scarce, but warrants further testing.

Blackberries, along with other berries are high in antioxidants that keep harmful free radical molecules under control. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells when their numbers get too high, causing oxidative stress. Reducing oxidative stress lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The antioxidants found in blackberries and other berries have been shown to help protect eyes against harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. Rutin, a plant pigment (flavonoid) found in blackberries, has been shown to strengthen blood vessels to the eyes and thereby improve eye health and ward off diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

High in Vitamin C. Just one cup of fresh blackberries has about 30 milligrams of Vitamin C. That’s half of the recommended daily intake of this crucial antioxidant vitamin needed for collagen formation in bones, connective tissue and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also used in wound healing, regenerating skin, fighting harmful free radical molecules in the body, iron absorption, fighting disease, and preventing scurvy (the Vitamin C deficiency disease). Vitamin C also is an important antioxidant in the body that helps reduce oxidative stress that can lead to the development of cancer.

Low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load: Blood Sugar and Insulin Response. Blackberries may improve your blood sugar and insulin levels. They have a low Glycemic Index of only 25. This means they will not cause a big spike in blood sugar when eaten and should be safe for diabetics to eat. This improves blood sugar regulation and may be helpful in keeping cholesterol levels in check.

The Glycemic Load of blackberries is also very low, being only 4. This represents how one’s blood sugar levels may be affected after eating a specific food. With a very low Glycemic Load of only 4, blackberries will hardly, if at all, affect blood sugar levels. Research studies suggest that blackberries may protect cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carbohydrate meals. These effects appeared to happen in both healthy people and those with insulin resistance. This is critical information for diabetics and those managing blood sugar levels, which means that blackberries are fruit such individuals should be able to eat without issue.

High Fiber Benefits. Blackberries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. This type of fiber slows the movement of the intestinal contents, helping to increase the feeling of fullness, reducing hunger. This can help in weight management, reducing the need to eat frequently. Increased fiber also helps to reduce the number of calories absorbed from mixed meals. One research study found that doubling fiber intake could result in eating up to 130 fewer calories in a day.

The high fiber content of berries also means they are low in digestible or net carbohydrates (which is determined by subtracting the total fiber from total carbohydrates). For instance, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of blackberries has 10.2 grams of total carbohydrates, 5.3 grams of which are fiber. This brings the net carbohydrates of 100 grams of blackberries to 4.9 grams. Because of their low net carbohydrate content, blackberries are considered to be a low-carb-friendly food.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits. Because of their many antioxidants, berries (including blackberries) have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s defense mechanism in fighting infection and injury. However, current lifestyles often contribute to excessive, long-term inflammation brought on by increased stress, inactivity, and unhealthy foods. This type of chronic inflammation contributes to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Research has shown that the antioxidants in berries may help to lower inflammatory markers, thus reducing the risk of diseases brought on by long-term inflammation.

Skin Health.  Antioxidants in berries help to control free radicals in the body. Free radicals are among the leading causes of skin damage that contribute to aging. Ellagic acid, one of the antioxidants found in blackberries and other berries, appears to be responsible for some of the skin-related benefits attributed to berries. Research suggests that this antioxidant may protect skin by blocking the production of enzymes that break down collagen in sun-damaged skin. Collagen is a protein within the skin’s structure that allows skin to stretch and remain firm. When collagen is damaged, the skin may sag and develop wrinkles.

Brain Health. Blackberries and other berries may improve brain health and prevent memory loss caused by aging. In a review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers concluded that antioxidants in berries help fight free radicals and alter how brain neurons communicate. This may help reduce inflammation in the brain, which can lead to cognitive and motor issues that often accompany aging.

High in Vitamin K. Blackberries are high in Vitamin K. This vital vitamin plays an important role in the blood clotting function. It is also important in bone metabolism. A deficiency of Vitamin K can lead to bone thinning and fractures, and may cause easy bruising. Just one cup of raw blackberries provides over one-third of the daily recommended value of Vitamin K.

It is noteworthy that if you take blood thinners, monitoring your intake of Vitamin K is important because it can interfere with medications. Eating a consistent amount of Vitamin K-rich foods such as blackberries, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and fermented dairy foods, helps in the management of medication dosages. Consult with your healthcare provider if you expect to make significant dietary changes that may affect your medication dosages.

High in Manganese. Blackberries are high in manganese. This mineral is vital to healthy bone development, a healthy immune system, metabolizing carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol, and also plays a role in the formation of collagen during wound healing. Manganese may also help prevent osteoporosis, manage blood sugar levels, and reduce epileptic seizures. One cup of fresh blackberries contains almost half the daily recommended value of manganese, so they are clearly a great source of this vital mineral.

How to Select Blackberries
When buying blackberries, choose ones with color ranging from deep purple/black to deep blue/purple. They should not have any green or white patches on them. They should be moderately firm, plump, dry, uniform in color, and not wrinkled or dried out.

When buying blackberries in a grocery store, examine the container for signs of dampness from crushed berries or water droplets that have accumulated, stains and mold. Avoid any containers with any of those indications, which would be signs of age and possible decay. Most blackberries will be packaged with a moisture absorber in the container to help extend the life of the berry (which is desirable). Avoid containers without them, since the berries will age faster.

When picking your own blackberries, choose ones that are plump with a slightly tender feel. They should be dark in color. The skin of a ripe blackberry is dull black and not shiny. [Note that fully ripe blackberries have a short life, so plan to use them right away. Those packaged commercially are picked earlier, when not fully ripe, so they will last longer.] Red to light purple berries are not ripe yet. A ripe blackberry will release from the plant with a slight tug. If a blackberry is dull (not shiny), soft, and starting to leak its juices, it is overripe.

Blackberries start to ripen when the weather is consistently warm. When picking your own blackberries, don’t overfill your container. Limit stacking them to no more than 5 inches high (maximum) to avoid crushing the berries on the bottom. If you pick berries in the heat of the day, the warmth in the picked berries will cause them to age fast. It’s best to spread them out and/or expose them to air conditioning as soon as you can to release the heat and preserve your delicate berries.

How to Store Blackberries
First, remove any damaged or decaying blackberries from the container. Do not wash blackberries until you are ready to use them. Refrigerate unwashed blackberries right away in an open area in the refrigerator. They need to be kept dry. If storing them in a crisper drawer, be sure to have the air vent open, or on the low humidity setting.

For best quality, use your blackberries within 3 days. If they are very fresh, they may keep for up to one week.

How to Prepare Blackberries
Simply wash your berries right before you want to enjoy them. Place them in a colander and rinse them under cold water. Allow them to drain. Or, place them in a bowl of cold water. Gently swish them around, then carefully remove them to a colander to drain.

How to Preserve Blackberries
Extra blackberries can easily be frozen. Simply wash them, drain well to remove as much water as possible. Remove any hulls or stems from the berries and place them in a freezer bag or container. Remove as much air as possible and freeze.

To freeze blackberries so they don’t form one big clump, spread the washed berries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the tray in the freezer. When the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer container or bag. Use frozen blackberries within one year.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Blackberries
* Combine blackberries with apples in a pie.

* If a recipe calls for blackberries and you don’t have any, loganberries, boysenberries, or raspberries may be used as substitutes.

* One pint of fresh blackberries is about 2 cups.

* Ten ounces of frozen blackberries is about 2 cups.

* Ten blackberries count as one serving.

* Make easy Blackberry-Banana Overnight Oats. Blend 1 cup of blackberries with ½ banana, ½ cup milk of choice, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into a mason jar. Stir in ½ cup oats. Cover the jar and place it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top with more blackberries and the other half of the banana and enjoy!

* Try a Blackberry-Pomegranate Salad. Make a salad base with red cabbage, lettuce, spinach, blackberries, slivers of pears, and a little red onion. Dress it with a mixture of 2 cups of pomegranate juice, up to ¼ cup honey for a little sweetener, and the juice of ½ lime. Sprinkle the salad with toasted, sliced almonds and enjoy!

* Unripe blackberries will not further ripen after being picked. So, if you’re picking your own, choose only the ripe berries.

* Try easy blackberry popsicles. In a blender, combine ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries. Blend until smooth, then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze then enjoy! Makes 4 popsicles.

* If you can’t get fresh blackberries locally, opt for frozen. They are usually picked at their peak of ripeness and frozen very quickly after being harvested, sometimes as soon as 20 minutes after being harvested. You can’t get much fresher than that!

* Try toping some pancakes or waffles with fresh blackberries and a little yogurt.

* Top your favorite pudding with fresh blackberries and a sprinkle of granola.

* How about a nut butter and fresh blackberry sandwich? Make it richer by adding sliced banana.

* Try a savory blackberry sauce by gently cooking until smooth: 1 pint of blackberries, ½ cup of balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or honey. Try it over grilled meat, chicken or seafood. It would work really well with grilled salmon.

* Try an easy frozen treat by blending mashed banana, blackberries, and fruit-flavored yogurt. Pour into muffin cups with a popsicle stick in the middle and freeze.

* Make a parfait by layering yogurt, granola, blackberries and banana slices.

* Add blackberries to a smoothie.

* Use blackberries as a topping for frozen yogurt or ice cream.

* Make a simple fruit salad by combining blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana slices, and orange segments. Top with a dollop of yogurt and enjoy!

* Add fresh blackberries to your favorite green salad. Dress it with a balsamic vinaigrette and top it off with a sprinkle of slivered almonds or toasted walnuts.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Blackberries
Basil, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon herbs (i.e., lemon balm, lemon verbena), mint, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Blackberries
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, chicken, ham, hazelnuts, pecans, poppy seeds, pork, pumpkin seeds, salmon

Vegetables: Endive, ginger, rhubarb

Fruits: Apples, bananas, blueberries, figs, lemon, lime, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Granola, oats

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (i.e., cream, ricotta), cream, crème fraiche, ice cream, mascarpone, milk (in general), sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Caramel, chocolate, honey, liqueurs, maple syrup, meringue, rose geranium, sugar, vinegar (balsamic), wine (i.e., fruity, sweet red)

Blackberries have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Cereals (breakfast), coulis, desserts (i.e., cobblers, crisps, crumbles, tarts), muesli, pies, puddings, salads (fruit), sauces, smoothies, sorbets, soups (fruit)

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Blackberries
Add blackberries to any of the following combinations…

Apples + Brown Sugar + Cinnamon
Apples + Cinnamon + Hazelnuts
Cinnamon + Orange
Honey + Yogurt
Lime + Mint
Lime + Yogurt
Papaya + Yogurt

Recipe Links
50 Blackberry Recipes to Make Summer So Much Sweeter

Blackberry-Glazed Chicken

Blackberry Freezer Jam

Blackberry Banana Overnight Oats

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Cobbler in Mason Jars

Blackberry Arugula Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Watermelon, Blackberry, and Mint Salad

Fall Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos with Blackberry and Pear Slaw

Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with Blackberry Salsa

45 Blackberry Recipes Bursting with Juicy Flavor

Berry-Beet Salad

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

Avocado Fruit Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

Four-Berry Spinach Salad

Arugula Salad with Berry Dressing

34 Blackberry Recipes

20 Totally Beautiful Blackberry Desserts

30 Delicious Blackberry Recipes You Should Try At Least Once

18 Knockout Blackberry Recipes

Spiced Roasted Apples and Blackberries

Blackberry Strawberry Sorbet [Vegan]


Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Apples 101 – The Basics

 Apples 101 – The Basics

About Apples
We’re all familiar with apples. They can be found in just about any grocery store and are even seen in some convenience stores. There are literally thousands of varieties of apples grown around the world today. It’s not unusual to see many different varieties of apples being sold in any one grocery store, all at the same time. Assorted varieties differ in size, color, texture, flavor, and aroma. Some are crispier than others. Some are sweet, while others have a tart flavor, and some have a combination of a sweet-tart flavor. The colors can vary from yellow, green, red, gold, pink, scarlet, almost purple, to multi-colored. The apple flesh color can also vary from being stark white to a pale shade of the color of the skin.

Apples belong to the Rosaceae family of plants. This broad family of plants also includes apricots, cherries, loquats, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and even roses.

Apples appear to have originated in the mountains of Central Asia. Once discovered, they were quickly domesticated and carried to parts of Western Asia and Europe, where they were cross-bred with other species of wild apples. This cross-breeding paved the way for apples having the wide diversity and ability to withstand different habitats that they share today.

Currently, China is the world’s largest producer of apples, followed by the United States, Turkey, Poland, Italy, India, France, Chile, Iran, and the Russian Federation. The United States exports about 25 percent of its production of apples. The most popular varieties of apples grown in the United States include Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Red Delicious, Rome, and Pink Lady.

Today, apples are the second most popular fruit in America, second only to bananas. With that, grocery stores strive to be well-supplied with fresh apples year-round. To help boost the supply of apples in America so they can be sold year-round, about 5 percent of the supply is imported from other countries including Chile, Canada, and New Zealand.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Apples are a good source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. They are also a good source of Vitamin C. Apples also contain some Vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, and K, along with biotin, pantothenic acid, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. It is worth noting that a lot of the nutrients found in apples are in the skin. So, it’s worth eating the peel of apples, if possible.

Apples are also particularly high in an array of phenols and polyphenols, which are phytonutrients that provide an array of health benefits through their antioxidant protection.

Cardiovascular Benefits. Many animal and human studies have been conducted on the cardiovascular benefits of apples. One study found that eating one apple a day for four weeks significantly lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which was associated with a lowered risk of atherosclerosis.

A number of studies linked apples with overall lower levels of LDL cholesterol, not just oxidized LDL cholesterol. This may be due to the soluble fiber in apples binding with bile in the intestinal tract, removing it with the feces. This forces the body to make more bile from existing cholesterol, thereby lowering blood cholesterol.

Furthermore, studies have found that not only was LDL cholesterol lowered in those who ate apples, but total cholesterol and triglycerides were also reduced. This appeared to be due not only to the fiber in apples, but also to the phytonutrients in the fruit.

Other Benefits of Apples. Some of the fiber in apples is in the form of pectin, their main type of soluble fiber. Pectin is known to help control the rate at which the stomach empties and the pace at which the contents travel through the intestinal tract. Pectin slows down these times, delaying hunger, and stabilizing blood sugar metabolism. One of the phytonutrients in apples, phloretin, has been studied individually, and has been found to help stabilize blood glucose levels, plasma insulin levels, and lessen insulin resistance.

Apples have also been studied for their potential role in helping to prevent colon cancer. Most of the current research has been on animals and laboratory cell studies. However, researchers have found that components in apples do make their way to the lower bowel, which is showing promising results in their research about apples lowering the risk for colon cancer.

How to Select Apples
Choose firm apples with rich color, while keeping in mind that the color varies a lot between varieties of apples. Avoid apples with soft spots, bruises, or damage.

Organic vs Conventionally Grown Apples. Apples that are conventionally grown are sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals to ward off insects, fungus, and diseases as they grow. Additionally, conventionally grown apples are often sprayed with chemicals after being harvested to prevent problems (such as brown or black patches) during cold storage. Because researchers find that harvested apples are often laced with assorted chemicals, apples are near the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen List” each year.

To avoid the ingestion of these chemicals, buying organic apples is an option. However, they are more expensive than conventionally grown apples, and they are not stocked in all grocery stores. If you are concerned with such chemicals in your food supply, yet the higher cost or availability of organic apples is not an option for you, there is yet another way to get around this problem. See the section “How to Remove Chemical Residues from Apples” in this article.

Flavor. There are many varieties of apples on the market, and those varieties may vary from season to season, depending upon how long they can be stored. If you’re looking for a traditionally mellow but sweet apple, Red Delicious is one option that is always available in the United States. If you’re looking for flavor in the opposite end of the spectrum, Granny Smith apples are known for their tartness and are commonly found in most grocery stores year-round. Most other apples fall somewhere in between the very sweet and very tart flavors. If you’re not sure what the flavor of a particular variety of apple is, check the list below. If your apple in question is not on the list, ask the produce manager in your local store. He/she should have the information you need.

How to Store Apples
Apples may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator; however, they will keep longer in the refrigerator. When apples are in “cold storage” after being harvested and before arriving at your local store, they are usually kept at a temperature very close to freezing. Your refrigerator will normally be a little above that temperature range. Therefore, placing your apples in the refrigerator will help to extend their shelf life, as opposed to storing them at room temperature. Apples should keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, and maybe longer, depending upon the variety. For example, Granny Smith apples tend to keep longer than most other varieties. Apples will keep best in the crisper drawer set on low humidity (with the air vent opened).

If you notice an apple with a bruise or one that is slightly damaged, do not store it near your other apples. Bruised or damaged apples will release more ethylene gas than undamaged apples. When stored around other fruit, this excess ethylene gas will cause nearby fruit that is sensitive to the gas, like other apples, to age faster than normal. So, store damaged fruit separately and use them as quickly as possible.

How to Prepare Apples
Simply wash your apples very well before using. They may be eaten whole, quartered, sliced, diced, peeled, or unpeeled, and eaten raw or cooked. Prepare them as needed for your specific recipe. The skin of apples is rich in fiber and phytonutrients, so consider eating them with the peel on, if at all possible. If your apples were conventionally grown, and the presence of chemical residues on the surface is a concern to you, the residue may be removed by following the steps detailed in the next section.

If you need to cut your apples a little in advance, they will have a tendency to turn brown. This can be avoided by placing your cut pieces in a bowl of cold water to which a tablespoon of lemon juice has been added.

How to Remove Chemical Residues from Apples
There is a scientifically proven method for removing most of the chemicals from the surface of conventionally grown apples. This method will not remove chemicals that have soaked into the apple itself, but it is effective at removing chemicals off the surface. It’s a matter of soaking the apples in a baking soda solution (1 teaspoon of baking soda to 2 cups of water) for 12 to 15 minutes. This is a simple and inexpensive way to clean apples that is more effective at removing chemical residues than just rinsing them under water. To learn more about this method, watch my video demonstration on how to soak apples for this purpose…

How to Preserve Apples
Freezing Apples. Fresh apples may be frozen whole or cut. Bear in mind that when thawed, their texture will be soft and not suitable for eating as if they were fresh. They will need to be cooked in some way. Apples may be frozen whole. Simply wash and dry them, then place them on a tray in the freezer so they can freeze separately. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container.

Apple slices may also be frozen. Wash, peel, and core the apples, then slice them. Place the apples in a lemon juice solution (1/4 cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water) or an ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and water solution first to keep them from turning brown. Use 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid in two cups of water. Allow apples to soak in either solution for about 5 minutes. For the record, the ascorbic acid solution will be more effective and will not add flavor to the apples as will the lemon juice solution.

Instead of soaking apple slices to prevent browning, they may also be blanched for one minute prior to freezing. Once treated, arrange the slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or tray and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.

Frozen whole and sliced apples can be used to make apple butter, applesauce, jam, jelly, pies, cakes, cobblers, baked apples, and other baked or cooked dishes.

Apple pie filling may also be frozen to be baked later. Prepare your pie filling as usual and place it in a pie plate that was lined with plastic wrap. When the filling is frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag. Note that some spices will lose some flavor during freezer storage, so it may be helpful to slightly increase your seasonings when freezing prepared apple pie filling.

To use your frozen apple pie filling, do not thaw it out before baking. Simply place it in a dough-lined pie pan. Cover it with a pie-dough top, making sure it has vent holes to allow steam to escape during the baking process. Bake as directed, adding about 20 minutes to the baking time because of the frozen filling.

For best quality, as long as the apples were kept at 0°F or below, use frozen apples within one year. If your freezer does not maintain that temperature, use them within 3 to 6 months for best quality. They will be edible beyond that, but their quality may dwindle over time. If you notice dry spots or discoloration on your frozen apples, they will still be edible, but the flavor and texture will be diminished.

Dehydrating Apples.  To dehydrate apples, peel the apples, if desired, and remove the core. Cut crosswise into rings about ¼ inch thick, or slice them as desired. The apple slices must be pretreated to prevent them from browning. They may be dipped in a lemon juice solution of ¼ cup lemon juice in 4 cups of water. Allow them to soak for about 10 minutes, then drain off the excess liquid. Or, instead of lemon juice, you can use a commercially prepared product such as Fruit-Fresh. Follow the directions on the package for pretreating apples.

Place the apple pieces on a mesh drying tray and dry at 130°F for 5 to 6 hours, or until they feel dry and leathery. They should feel spongy and still be flexible. Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions for drying apples with your specific dehydrator.

When drying apples, it is advisable to choose an apple variety that still has a good flavor after being heated. Examples include Granny Smith, McIntosh, Crispin, Cortland, and Northern Spy apples. Many apples that are suited mostly for fresh eating, such as Royal Gala, don’t have a lot of flavor once dried.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Apples
* Make an apple cobbler with a walnut crust. Top with a vanilla sauce.

* Make an apple and celery salad with a hazelnut vinaigrette dressing.

* Don’t peel your apples, if you can.  Apple peels are full of antioxidants and fiber!

* Use applesauce in place of fat in baked goods. Using unsweetened applesauce is best so it doesn’t alter the sweetness ratio of the recipe. Applesauce may be used to replace oil in quick breads and muffins on a 1 to 1 basis (1 part of oil is replaced with 1 part of applesauce). However, it’s important to know that the texture of the baked product will change. It’s best to first test it out by replacing half of the oil with applesauce. If it meets your expectations, you can experiment further from there.

* Add diced apples to any fruit salad.

* Braise a chopped apple with red cabbage.

* Enjoy sliced apples and cheese for a European-style dessert.

* Apples can pick up the flavor of other foods that are stored nearby. So be on the safe side and don’t store them near cabbage or onions!

* One 9-inch pie usually requires about 2 pounds of apples. That’s about 6 medium-size apples.

* Don’t keep bruised or rotting apples near other apples. One bad apple REALLY CAN spoil the whole bunch.

* Add grated apples to pancake batter for added natural sweetness and a fruity flavor. Add a little cinnamon to enhance the flavor even more. It may help you to cut back on the maple syrup topping.

* Top apple slices with your favorite nut butter for a healthy, satisfying snack.

* Are you having a party? Use apples as a place setting marker on the table. Make a small cut across the top of washed apples. Insert a name tag into the slit of each apple and place an apple in the center of each plate.

* If you have apples that are aging and turning soft, turn them into applesauce. Simply peel the apples and cut them up into a pot. Add a little water, cinnamon, and sugar, if needed. Cook them until they are soft and mash them up if needed. You’ll have fast, homemade applesauce!

* Add cut fresh apples to any green salad. Top with a fruit-based dressing to bring out the sweetness of the apples.

* To keep fresh, cut apples from turning brown, simply place the pieces in a bowl of cool water with a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Apples
Allspice, cardamom, caraway seeds, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds, ginger, horseradish, lavender, mace, mint, mustard seeds, nutmeg, pepper, rosemary, sage, sorrel, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Apples
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chestnuts, chicken, eggs, hazelnuts, lamb, lentils, nuts (in general), peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, sausage, salmon (seafood), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, turkey, veal, walnuts

Vegetables: Beets, cabbage (esp. red), carrots, celery, celery root, chiles, cucumbers, endive, fennel, greens (salad), jicama, kale, lettuce, onions, parsnips, rhubarb, sauerkraut, spinach, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, watercress, zucchini

Fruits: Apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries (dried and fresh), currants, dates, figs, fruit (dried, in general), grapes, lemons, oranges, pears, plums (dried and fresh), pumpkin, quince, raisins, raspberries

Grains and Grain Products: Amaranth, farro, grains (in general), kasha, millet, oats, oatmeal, phyllo dough, quinoa, rice (esp. basmati, brown, wild), wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, buttermilk, cheese (esp. blue, cheddar, cream, feta, goat, Gorgonzola, Roquefort), cottage cheese, cream, mascarpone, ricotta cheese, sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods:  Agave nectar, brandy, butterscotch, caramel, honey, maple syrup, molasses, mustard (prepared), oil (esp. nut), spirits (i.e. brandy, cognac, kirsch, rum, sherry, vermouth), sugar (esp. brown), vinegar (esp. cider), wine (red)

Apples have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Apple butter, applesauce, baked apples, baked goods (i.e. cakes, muffins, pies), brandy, chutneys, compotes, crepes, custards and flans, desserts (i.e. cobblers, crisps, crumbles), granola (esp. dried apples), juices, muesli, puddings, salads (fennel, fruit, grain, green, Waldorf), soups (i.e. butternut squash, sweet potato), stuffing, trail mix (esp. dried apples)

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Apples
Add apples to any of the following combinations…

Allspice + cinnamon + cloves + ginger + maple syrup + orange
Almonds + cinnamon + rosemary
Apple cider vinegar + greens + maple syrup + walnut oil
Blue cheese + celery
Brown sugar + caramel + cinnamon
Caramel + nuts (i.e. peanuts, pecans)
Cheese (i.e. blue) + greens + nuts (i.e. pecans, walnuts)
Cinnamon + cranberries + ginger + maple syrup + raisins + walnuts
Cinnamon + dates + oatmeal
Cinnamon + honey + lemon
Cinnamon + honey + vanilla + yogurt
Cinnamon + maple syrup + mascarpone
Cinnamon + nuts (i.e. walnuts) + raisins
Cloves + cranberries + oranges
Cucumbers + mint + yogurt
Fennel + walnuts
Figs + honey
Grains (i.e. oats, quinoa, wild rice) + nuts (i.e. walnuts )
Maple syrup + vanilla + walnuts

30 Apple Varieties Found in the United States
Here is a list of some of the apple varieties found in the United States. It’s simply not possible to list them all because there are so many out there, and new varieties are being discovered and developed regularly. Also, some varieties are very popular in specific locations, while unheard of elsewhere. So, if you have a favorite apple that was not included in this list, forgive me! It’s simply not possible to list them all. They are listed alphabetically, not ranked according to flavor or texture profiles.

Ambrosia Apples
Ambrosia apples were discovered in British Columbia, Canada in the 1990s. They are believed to be a cross between Jonagold and Golden Delicious apples. They are medium to large apples, with a conical shape. Today, Ambrosia apples are grown in the United States, Canada, Chile, Europe, and New Zealand.

Characteristics: Ambrosia apples are tender and juicy, with low acidity, a sweet, honey-like flavor, and a pleasant floral aroma. The flesh is a light yellow to cream color.

Best Uses: Ambrosia apples are slow to brown when cut and hold their shape well when cooked. Those two properties make them excellent apples to enjoy raw, out of hand and cut in salads. They are also excellent roasted with root vegetables, or diced and added to polenta, couscous, or rice. They will add sweetness and moisture to baked goods like cakes, muffins, and doughnuts.  They hold their shape and flavor when baked, so they are excellent in pies, tarts, and baked apples. Thin slices can be used to adorn a burger or sandwich. Ambrosia apples pair well with sharp cheeses.

Autumn Glory Apples
Autumn Glory apples were developed by Domex Superfresh Growers in 2011, in Washington state. As production increases, Autumn Glory apples are gradually making their way across the country. Autumn Glory apples are a cross between Fuji and Golden Delicious apples. They are currently available mid-fall through spring.

Characteristics: The flesh of Autumn Glory apples is yellow, firm, crisp, coarse, and very juicy. The aroma is cider-like, while the flavor is like baked apple pie with caramel and cinnamon notes. Autumn Glory apples do not have much acidity. They will keep in the refrigerator or another cool, dry place for several weeks.

Best Uses: Autumn Glory apples are perfect for eating fresh, out of hand or cut in salads. They may be cooked in sweet or savory dishes, and also included in baked goods. They make sweet applesauce. Autumn Glory apples pair well with strong cheeses.

Braeburn Apples
Braeburn apples originated in New Zealand in 1952. They were discovered rather than bred, which means they were naturally pollinated. It is assumed their parents are the Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith apples. Braeburn apples are now grown in the United States, except in the northernmost parts of the Midwest and New England. They are one of the top apples grown in Washington state.

Characteristics: Braeburn apples are thin-skinned, with a “textbook” apple flavor with the perfect balance between sweet and tart. Their pale yellow, crisp and juicy flesh is spicy-sweet with faint hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Best Uses: Braeburn apples are excellent eaten raw, out of hand or cut and added to salads. They may be used in cooking and in making fruit juices. Their sweetness mellows when cooked, so they are also a good choice for savory applications like being cooked with meat such as pork chops. Braeburn apples hold their shape well when heated so they are excellent as a baked apple, and when included in pies and other desserts.

Cameo Apples
Cameo apples were discovered growing in an orchard in Washington state in the 1980s. They are now grown across the country, but most commercial production is in Washington state. They are believed to be “relatives” of Red and Golden Delicious apples.

Characteristics: Cameo apples have a thin, delicate skin. The flesh is dense, creamy white to yellow in color, and crisp and juicy, with a bright citrus-like flavor with notes of honey. The flavor is considered to be the perfect balance between sweet and tart. Unlike many other apples, Cameo apples don’t brown quickly when cut.

Best Uses: Since they don’t brown quickly after being cut, Cameo apples are ideal for fresh applications, like being added to salads and cheese trays. Their texture holds up well when cooked. Furthermore, their sweetness is enhanced when cooked, so they are excellent in pies, crisps, cobblers, and other desserts. They can also be used in savory applications such as quiche, polenta, and other such dishes. They pair well with squash, bacon, pears, and flavorful cheeses such as goat, cheddar, and ricotta. They can even be used as a pizza topping.

Cortland Apples
Cortland apples were first produced in New York state in 1898. They were named for Cortland County, New York and have become one of the most commonly grown apples in the state of New York. They are a cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis apples.

Characteristics: Cortland apples are bright red with a crisp, white flesh that is very juicy with a sweet-tart flavor. Cortland apples do not brown as quickly as some apple varieties. They are at their best when eaten soon after being picked, because the flavor and crispness dwindle with age. Since they do not store well, they should be used soon after being harvested for best flavor and texture.

Best Uses: Cortland apples may be eaten raw and cut in salads. They may also be used in any cooking or baking application, including cakes, tarts, cobblers, quiches, soups, sauces and preserves. They may even be made into juice and cider. Since they are slow to turn brown, they may be sliced thin and added to sandwiches, burgers, and quesadillas. They may be used with dips in place of crackers. Cortland apples pair well with cheeses.

Cosmic Crisp Apples
Cosmic Crisp apples are an American apple that is a cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples. They were developed by Washington State University and are only grown in Washington state.

Characteristics: Cosmic Crisp apples are large, red, crunchy, juicy, acidic, and sweet. They don’t brown as quickly as many other apple varieties. Cosmic Crisp apples have an extended shelf life, with some resources claiming they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a year! So, if you like to “buy ahead,” this is the apple go get.

Best Uses: Cosmic Crisp apples may be eaten fresh or cut in salads. They hold their shape well when heated, so they may also be baked, roasted, sautéed, and cooked pretty much any way you would want to cook an apple. Since they retain their sweetness when heated, including when in cooked or baked, these apples can possibly allow for reduced added sugars in recipes. Their high sugar content allows them to caramelize well when roasted. When baking Cosmic Crisp apples in a pie, combine them with tart and softer apples for best flavor and texture outcome.

Crispin Apples
Crispin apples were originally named the Mutsu apple when they were developed in Japan in the 1930s. They are a cross between Golden Delicious and Indo apples. They were renamed to Crispin when they were taken to America and the U.K. in the late 1940s. Today, they are grown and marketed around the world and are sold under both names. They are available during the fall months.

Characteristics: Crispin apples are large, juicy, and very crisp, with a sweet and slightly tart flavor with notes of honey. They are a green-skinned apple.

Best Uses: Crispin apples are versatile. They are excellent eaten fresh, out of hand, and cut in salads. They can also be baked, and included in pies and other such desserts, and also cooked into applesauce.

Empire Apples
Empire apples were introduced in the 1960s in the state of New York. They are a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh apples.

Characteristics: Empire apples are medium in size with a thin skin. Despite that, they do not bruise easily. The flesh is creamy white. They are juicy, crisp, and sweet-tart.

Best Uses: Empire apples can be enjoyed fresh, eaten out of hand or in salads and slaws. They may also be made into applesauce since their flesh breaks down easily when cooked. They are not suitable for pies and other such desserts. Empire apples pair well with sharp cheese, pears, pumpkin, and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Enterprise Apples
Enterprise apples are a North American apple developed in 1982 at Purdue University. They were named and released in 1992.

Characteristics: Enterprise apples are medium to large in size. The skin is smooth, tough, thick, and glossy red in color with a yellow or green background. The pale, yellow flesh is crisp, juicy and firm. Their flavor has been compared to that of a Fuji apple. Enterprise apples store exceptionally well, up to six months in the refrigerator.

Best Uses: Enterprise apples are versatile. They are commonly used for candied apples, so they are popular around Halloween. They may be eaten fresh and cut in salads. They are especially recommended as a cooking and baking apple. Make applesauce with Enterprises, or bake them into pies and cakes flavored with cinnamon and cardamom.

Fuji Apples
Fuji apples were first harvested in Japan, where they are still very popular. They are a cross between Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Janet apples, both American varieties. They were first introduced in the United States in the 1980s. Today, the United States grows more Fuji apples than Japan. Fuji apples are among the most commonly grown apples around the world.

Characteristics: Fuji apples are dense and crisp, with creamy white flesh. The apples are well-known for their exceptional sweetness, low acidity, juiciness, firmness, and crispiness. They are said to have notes of honey and citrus. Some people consider them to be the sweetest of all apple varieties. Fuji apples have a long shelf life.

Best Uses: Fuji apples are excellent eaten raw, out of hand, or chopped and included in salads. They may be cooked in a variety of ways. They may be baked since they retain their shape. They may also be roasted or boiled. They work well in both sweet and savory dishes such as pies, strudels, pizza toppings, quiches, sauces, soups, salads, curries, candied apples, and made into apple wine, apple juice, and jam. Fuji apples pair well with sharp cheese.

Gala Apples
Gala apples originated in New Zealand in the 1930s, and were first brought to market in 1965. They are a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious apples. They were brought to the United States in the 1980s and have become one of Americas most popular apples. They can be grown in both warm and cold climates, so they are grown around the world and in most states in the USA, other than the most southern areas. Gala apples are available year-round.

Characteristics: The skin is thin, while the creamy yellow flesh is dense, crisp, juicy, fragrant, and slightly sweet with hints of vanilla.

Best Uses: Gala apples are ideal when eaten raw, out of hand, or cut and included in salads. They are excellent in fruit salsas and chutneys. They can be sliced and added to burgers, paninis and crostinis. They are best when used in fresh applications, but they may also be juiced and cooked into sauce. Their sweet flavor mellows when cooked, so they should be paired with stronger flavored apples such as a Granny Smith or Pippin apples when used in baked goods. Gala apples pair well with pears, winter squash, onions, pecans, turkey, curry, brie, cheddar, and Swiss cheeses.

Golden Delicious (also called Yellow Delicious) Apples
Golden Delicious apples originated in West Virginia, USA, where they are now the official state fruit. Despite their name, Golden Delicious apples are not related to Red Delicious apples. Instead, they are believed to be a cross between Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette apples. They were first brought to market in 1914. They are among the most commonly found apples in American grocery stores. They are harvested from autumn through winter.

Characteristics: Golden Delicious apples are large, and yellow-green in color. The flesh is white, crisp, and firm. They are mildly sweet, slightly tart, juicy, and aromatic. They taste very similar to Red Delicious apples.

Best Uses: Golden Delicious apples are best eaten fresh, out of hand, or cut and included in salads. They may also be made into applesauce and apple butter. They may be baked into desserts. Golden Delicious apples also pair well with savory foods such as cabbage and pork. Because of their mild sweetness, Golden Delicious apples are often paired with Granny Smith apples in pies.

Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith apples were actually discovered by a lady, “Granny” Maria Ann Smith, who found the little apple tree growing in her compost pile in her orchard in Australia in the 1860s. They have since become one of the most popular apples in the world. They were originally cultivated in Australia, but are now grown in the United States below the Mason-Dixon Line. They are available year-round. Granny Smith apples are sturdy, neon green, and the most common green apple in America.

Characteristics: Granny Smith apples are known for their tartness. Their flavor reminds some people of lemons. They are crisp, juicy, and firm, with a bright white flesh. They are said to sweeten some with age.

Best Uses: Granny Smith apples can be eaten raw, and cut and included in salads where their tartness can be offset with other ingredients. Granny Smith apples pair exceptionally well with nut butters and sharp cheese. They are excellent apples to include in pies because they hold their shape well when baked. They are also often used in muffins, pancakes, cakes, cobblers, and tarts. They can even be included in soups and stuffings.

Honeycrisp Apples
Honeycrisp apples are the official state fruit of Minnesota. They were developed at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s, where they were striving for a sweet-tart, crisp, juicy apple. They were first marketed commercially in the 1990s. Honeycrisp apples are currently grown in the northern Great Lakes and New England areas.

Characteristics: Honeycrisp apples are crispy and juicy. Their flavor is a balance of sweet and tangy that is pleasing to many people.

Best Uses: Honeycrisps are an exceptional apple when eaten raw, or in salads. Their crispness adds wonderful texture to slaws and other salads, and even sandwiches. Honeycrisp apples retain their sweetness when cooked, which makes then an excellent choice for baked apples, pies, and other desserts.

Idared Apples
Idared apples were developed in Idaho. They are a cross between Jonathan and Wagener apples. They are medium size with bright red and green colors.

Characteristics: The flesh is juicy, crisp, and firm, while the flavor is sweet, tart, aromatic, and refreshing.

Best Uses: Idared apples can be eaten raw and in salads. They pair well with strong blue cheese, and also Roquefort cheese. They may also be cooked and baked because they hold their shape well.

Jazz Apples
Jazz apples were cultivated in recent years in New Zealand. They are a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. In the United States, Jazz apples are grown in Washington State, where they are in season from July to September.

Characteristics: Jazz apples are very crisp, with dense, firm, buttery yellow flesh that is very juicy. They are low in acid and have a flavor similar to pears.

Best Uses: Jazz apples hold their shape well when baked, so they are perfect in pies, muffins, and tarts. They also work well with savory dishes like roasted root vegetables, pork, roast chicken and soups.

Jonagold Apples
Jonagold apples were first developed in New York state in 1968. They are a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples. They require specific growing conditions of a mildly cool climate, which has allowed them to be extremely successful in Western Europe. They are grown in the United States, but not on a wide scale. They are available in early fall.

Characteristics:  Jonagold apples are big, crisp and juicy with a sweet-tart flavor with notes of honey.

Best Uses: Jonagold apples are ideal for cooking and can be baked in pies, cakes, muffins, and tarts. They work well as baked apples. Their flavor blends well in jams, preserves, and sauces. Also, their sweet-tart flavor complements savory applications, so they may be served as sautéed slices with pork or root vegetables. They may even be roasted along with vegetables. They pair with robust cheeses and may be used on sandwiches, pizza or cheese trays.

Jonathan Apples
It is believed that Jonathan apples originated in Woodstock, New York in 1826. After receiving a series of different names, it was eventually named “Jonathan” and has kept that name ever since. Today, Jonathan apples are grown in cold to moderate climates around the world. This apple has been used as a “parent” to a number of other apples including the Jonagold apple. At one time, Jonathan apples were a very important commercial crop. Over the years, newer varieties of apples crowded Jonathan apples from the limelight. However, with the growing popularity of heirloom varieties, Jonathan apples are making a comeback. They are available in the fall and are best if eaten by Christmas if they were kept in cold storage.

Characteristics: Jonathan apples are medium size with a thin skin. The creamy yellow flesh is juicy and crisp, with a mildly sweet-tart flavor with hints of spice.

Best Uses: Jonathan apples may be eaten fresh or cooked. This apple may be used in tarts, purees, soups, pies, and sauces. The flesh breaks down slightly when cooked, so they are often paired with Granny Smith, Pippin, or Fuji apples in baked goods. The slightly spicy flavor works especially well when Jonathan apples are made into juice or cider. Jonathan apples also work well in savory applications, such as being added to couscous.

McIntosh Apples
McIntosh apples originated in Upper Canada in 1811, when a seedling was discovered growing on the farm of John McIntosh. Mr. McIntosh transplanted the little tree by the family’s home. When it matured, it was found to produce exceptional fruit. Commercial production started in 1870. McIntosh apples are now grown throughout the northeastern United States, the upper Great Lakes states, and in eastern Canada.

Characteristics: They have a beautiful red and green color, and a balance of sweet and tart/acid in their flavor. Interestingly, the flavor of McIntosh apples can vary depending upon when the apples were picked. Those picked in early winter will be slightly sweeter than those picked in the fall, when they’ll have a stronger sweet-tart flavor with hints of spice. When first harvested, the flesh of McIntosh apples is crisp. However, with age, their skin and white flesh soften and become more tender when compared with some other apple varieties.

Best Uses: McIntosh apples are best eaten fresh, or cut and included in salads. They may be cooked into applesauce since their flesh doesn’t hold together well when cooked. When using them in pies or tarts, they should be paired with sturdier fruit such as a Granny Smith, Rome, or Fuji apples. They may be chopped and added to stuffings and soups. McIntosh apples may also be juiced and turned into cider. The flavor of McIntosh apples pairs well with maple, pecans, celery, pork, blackberries, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flavorful cheese such as Gorgonzola feta, and sharp cheddar cheese.

Northern Spy Apples
Northern Spy apples originated in the 1800s in New York state. The apples grew in popularity throughout New York and into northeastern growing regions. Today, the Northern Spy apple is grown mainly in the northeast United States, and also in a few specialty orchards on the west coast. They are available in the fall, and may be stored up to three months in a cool, dry place.

Characteristics: Northern Spy apples are a late season apple that is very large and stout, and is red with streaks of yellow and pale green. The creamy-yellow flesh is tender-crisp and juicy. It is slightly tart with a flavor like cider with hints of pear and sweetness.

Best Uses: Northern Spy apples are versatile. They can be enjoyed fresh, out of hand or cut in salads. They may be cooked in any way imaginable, such as in pies, tarts, cobblers, baked, roasted, sautéed, or slow cooked into sauces. They are excellent served on a cheese tray with nuts and honey. Northern Spy apples are an excellent choice for making into cider.

Opal Apples
Opal apples are relatively new on the market. They are a cross between Golden Delicious and Topaz apples and were developed in the Czech Republic in the 1990s. They were brought to the United States in 2010. In America, they are grown only in Washington state, but are marketed across the country. They are bright yellow, somewhat resembling Golden Delicious apples. Interestingly, Opal apples have been certified as being non-GMO, and a portion of the proceeds from their sale is devoted to supporting community programs, such as creating and maintaining community gardens in local underserved communities. Buy Opal apples and support a worthy cause! Opal apples may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Characteristics: Opal apples are a medium to large, round fruit, that can weigh as much as 14 ounces! They have retained the flavor profiles of their parents with a nice blend of sweet and tart. They have a lemon-yellow skin with rust appearances toward the stem. The cream-colored flesh is soft yet crisp, with a sweet flavor and a slightly tart finish. The flavor of Opal apples has been described as that of Honeycrisp apples with hints of pear, coconut, and banana. A distinctive characteristic of this apple is that when cut, it doesn’t brown like other apples.

Best Uses: Opal apples may be eaten raw or cooked. Since they do not turn brown, they are excellent additions to fresh applications like salads, sandwich toppings, or cheese trays. Opal apples are at their best when eaten fresh. However, their crisp texture holds up well when baked in pies, tarts, cobblers, and crisps. They may also be added to cakes and muffins.

Pacific Rose Apples
Pacific Rose apples are a cross between Gala and Splendour apples. They originated in New Zealand and were named for their pretty rose color and the ocean that surrounds the island. The apple was brought to America in 1996. They are now grown both in New Zealand and Washington state.  They are available from Washington state November through April, and from New Zealand late May through October.

Characteristics: Pacific Rose apples have a refreshing, sweet flavor with crisp flesh.

Best Uses: Pacific Rose apples are primarily eaten fresh, out of hand or cut in salads, sandwiches, and desserts. They may also be served as baked apples, and included in baked goods such as pies. They may also be made into applesauce. Pacific Rose apples pair well with wine and cheese.

Piñata Apples
Piñata apples were created by researchers in Germany in the 1970s. They are unusual in that they are a cross breed of three varieties of apples, rather than two: Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Duchess of Oldenburg. They were released for sale in 1986 and sold commercially in Europe until 2004, when growing rights were purchased by Stemilt growers in Washington state. In 2010, the company released the apples to the American market. Like many other varieties, Piñata apples are grown exclusively in Washington state.

Characteristics: Piñata apples are medium to large, with an orange glow with red stripes over a yellow background. The skin is thin, and the white, fine-grained flesh is crisp and juicy.  They have a unique flavor, described as a classic apple taste with tropical notes of banana, pineapple, honey, and coconut. They have a sweet-tart flavor comparable to that of a Fuji, Braeburn, or Gala apple. They do not turn brown quickly.

 Best Uses: Piñata apples are mostly eaten raw, considering their preferred sweet-tart flavor among apple lovers. Since they don’t turn brown quickly, as do most apples, they are excellent served fresh as a snack, in salads, or on cheese trays. They are exceptional when paired with cheese, or in a savory salad. Piñata apples hold up well when baked or cooked. Their crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor make them an excellent pie apple. They also work well with savory dishes, such as stuffed pork tenderloin.

Pink Lady (also called Cripps Pink) Apples
Pink Lady is the brand name for the Cripps Pink variety of apples that are grown under a specific license, dictating a certain sugar-to-acid ratio, among other traits. Those that don’t qualify are sold as Cripps rather than Pink Lady apples. Pink Lady apples are a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples and were developed in Australia in the late 20th century. In the United States, they are mainly grown in Washington state and California.

Characteristics: Pink Lady apples have a crisp, slightly dry, firm, creamy white flesh.  They have a tart flavor that finishes with sweetness. Pink Lady apples are slow to oxidize (turn brown), so they are excellent for applications where they need to be cut in advance and served fresh.

Best Uses: Pink Lady apples are usually consumed fresh, when the flavors are sweet and slightly sharp. They are excellent raw, out of hand, and in salads. They may also be baked into pies, and cooked into sauce. They pair with cheese exceptionally well.

Pippin Apples
Pippin apples are believed to have originated as a “chance” seedling in Newtown, New York in the late 18th century. Pippin apples quickly caught on and they were among the first apples to be cultivated in the United States. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated Pippin apples on their home estates. In the 19th century, Pippin apples were exported to London, where they became a favorite of Queen Victoria. They lost popularity in America as other apple varieties were developed and marketed. Today, Pippin apples are grown on a relatively small scale in California, Washington state, Oregon, New York, and Virginia.

Characteristics: Pippin apples are round to oblong, with a slightly lopsided shape. Their color ranges from light green to yellow-green, with an occasional pink blush. The flesh is crisp, pale green to white, juicy, and aromatic. They are tart when harvested, and their flavor mellows with age. Sugars develop in the apples as the tartness mellows, resulting in a sweet-tart flavor with notes of pine, citrus, walnut, and green tea. They are usually placed in cold storage for 1 or 2 months before marketing, to allow their preferred flavor to develop. Pippin apples turn brown quickly after being cut, so they should be used soon after being prepared. Pippin apples will keep for one to four months when stored unwashed in a cool, dry, and dark place like a refrigerator.

Best Uses: Pippin apples may be eaten fresh or cooked. They are suitable for baking, stewing, roasting, and boiling. They are an excellent apple for pies, cobblers, tarts, muffins, breads, cakes, and turnovers. They may also be dried. Pippins can be made into juice or cider. They pair well with warm spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Pippins also go well with caramel, mustard greens, oranges, apricots, dates, nuts, and Gorgonzola cheese.

Red Delicious Apples
Red Delicious apples are one of the world’s most common apples, dating back to 1880, when they were discovered in Iowa. These were originally known as Hawkeye apples, then Stark Delicious. When Golden Delicious apples came about, they were renamed to Red Delicious. Without a doubt, they are the most commonly found apples in America.

Characteristics: Red Delicious apples were once prized for their sweet flavor. However, some believe that years of breeding to extend the shelf life has changed the flavor to be much less than it once was. Their skin is thick, and the flesh can be slightly crisp to soft, and bruises easily. The flavor is sweet, but very mild. The texture can become mealy with age, giving them a crumbly texture.

Best Uses: Red Delicious apples are best eaten fresh, out of hand or cut up for salads. They do not hold their shape well when baked or cooked, so it is best to eat them raw.

Rome Apples
Rome apples originated in Rome Township, Ohio in 1817. The Gillett family purchased several young apple trees to start an orchard and noticed one tree was different from the others. The tree was planted away from the others and was eventually found to produce exceptional fruit. The tree was grafted many times over and marketed to other growers in the area. Eventually, it was taken across America and has been grown in regions that are suitable for apples ever since. It has been marketed under a variety of names including Rome, Red Rome, and Rome Beauty.

Characteristics: Rome apples are medium to large and may be round, conical, or oblong in shape. They have a yellow base covered in red. The flesh is yellow to creamy white, and is firm, crisp, and dense. They are crunchy with a mild, sweet, and tangy flavor with a slightly floral aroma. The flavor of Rome apples intensifies when cooked, becoming sweeter and rich. Rome apples will keep for a couple months when stored in the refrigerator.

Best Uses: Rome apples hold their shape well when baked, so they are most often used in cooking applications, such as baking, frying, and roasting. They are excellent as baked apples, and in pies, tarts, cakes, breads, and cookies. Rome apples can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be added to stuffing and quiche, and roasted with root vegetables and meats. They can be diced and added to pancake batters. Rome apples may also be slow cooked and made into sauces and soups. Slices may be fried and served as a side dish. Rome apples pair well with pork chops, Italian sausage, poultry, pecans, currants, raisins, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

SugarBee Apples
SugarBee apples were first found growing in an orchard in Minnesota. Since bees did the work of creating the little tree, the growers found the seedling was a cross between a Honeycrisp apple and another undetermined variety. The tree was allowed to grow to maturity and was found to produce a delicious new apple variety that was crisp and sweet. Word of the new apple spread and growing rights were established with Chelan Fresh Orchard in Washington state, where the new apple was named SugarBee, in honor of the known sweet parent, Honeycrisp, and the bee that created the apple. They are now grown exclusively in Washington state and were first sent to market in 2019.

Characteristics: SugarBee apples look like their Honeycrisp parent, having a yellow-orange-green peel with overlaying bright red. They are large and round with a slightly tapered shape. The flesh is creamy white with a coarse, juicy and crispy texture. The flavor is very sweet and aromatic, with some floral notes under the sugar. SugarBee apples store best in the refrigerator and will keep up to several months.

Best Uses: SugarBee apples are versatile, and may be eaten fresh out of hand, or cut in salads. They may also be baked, cooked, and dried. Their shape holds up well when baked, so they are excellent as baked apples and used in pies, cakes, crisps, and strudel. They pair well with the usual warm spices used with apples, such as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. SugarBee apples may also be used in sweet and savory cooked dishes, and made into applesauce, with little to no added sugar, since they are so sweet. They may also be used in soups, compotes, jams, and even juice and cider.

SweeTango Apples
SweeTango apples were developed at the University of Minnesota. They are a cross between Honeycrisp and Zestar apples. They were first introduced in 2009 and are now found for a short time in early fall across the United States and Canada. SweeTango apples are a “managed” variety of apple with limited growers that are overseen to ensure the apples maintain specific qualities.

Characteristics: SweeTango apples are medium in size with a bright red skin with some yellow. They are sweeter than Honeycrisp apples, with a stark white flesh that is very crispy and juicy.

Best Uses: SweeTango apples are best when eaten fresh, out of hand, or cut in salads. They add extra sweetness and crunch to Waldorf salads. They may also be used in baked applications such as in muffins, pies and tarts since their flavor and texture holds up when heated.

Winesap Apples
The exact origin of Winesap apples is unknown, but they appear to have been brought to America from Europe as a seed. There is documentation from 1917 stating these apples were popular for the production of apple cider in the state of New Jersey. Since it was mainly used in the production of juice and cider, farmers were discouraged from growing Winesap apples since they did not bring as high a price as fresh eating apples. There has been a recent increased interest in heirloom varieties, so Winesap trees have been planted in a number of orchards. Today, they are grown in small to medium orchards in Washington state, Oregon, Georgia and Virginia.

Characteristics: Winesap apples are round and medium in size with a very thick, dark red skin that helps them to store well. Their creamy yellow flesh is crisp, very juicy, sweet-tart and spicy, and does not break down when cooked. They have a distinctive spicy wine-like flavor.

Best Uses: Winesap apples are perfect for juice, cider, sauces and preserves. They can be enjoyed fresh and in salads. They go well with cheese trays. They add moisture and a sweet flavor to breads, muffins, and cakes. They are an excellent cooking apple, and can be baked, sautéed, and roasted. Winesap apples may also be added to stuffing for roasted meats and winter squash. The flavor pairs well in both sweet and savory applications.

Recipe Links
22 Savory Apple Recipes to Make This Fall

Apple-Cream Cheese Squares

Apple Butter

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Mushroom, Apple, and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Roasted Apple, Quinoa, and Wild Rice Salad

Roasted Ontario Apple Gravy

40 Sweet and Savory Apple Recipes for Fall

81 Best Apple Recipes: Dinners, Desserts, Salads and More

54 Ways to Eat Apples for Every Meal, from Salad to Pie

Apple Cheddar Pie

Celery, Apple and Peanut Salad

Apple-Fennel Chicken Salad

Crunchy Turnip, Apple, and Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Caraway

Apple Salad with Walnuts and Lime

Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce

Coleslaw with Apple and Yogurt Dressing

Cabbage and Apple Salad

No Bake Apple Walnut Tart

10-Minute Fig and Fresh Apple Cobbler

10-Minute Apple Sundae

Yogurt with Fruit

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

Apple and Pear Spiced Tea

Upside Down Apple Cake (Gluten-Free)

Pink Lady Applesauce with Cardamom and Cinnamon


Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

MacKenzie, Jennifer, Jay Nutt, and Don Mercer. (2015) The Dehydrator Bible. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Fennel 101 – The Basics (UPDATED)

This is a completely revised article for “Fennel 101 – The Basics.” The original article, published on May 2, 2019, is a fine article in itself and offers some different information than this version, which is formatted like my more recent 101 articles. Either one should provide you with plenty of valuable information about fennel!


Fennel 101 – The Basics (UPDATE)

About Fennel
Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family of plants. It is closely related to parsley, carrots, dill, and cilantro (coriander). It has a white or pale green bulb with stalks extending upward, topped with feathery green leaves (also called fronds). All parts are edible. Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with somewhat of a licorice or anise flavor. The texture is similar to that of celery. Fennel is most often used in Italian and French cooking.

The use of fennel stems back to Greek mythology. It was prized by ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal and culinary properties. Today, fennel has an important role in the cuisines of many European nations, especially France and Italy. The United States, France, India, and Russia are among the leading cultivators of fennel.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Fennel is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also supplies a lot of fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, folate, calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin. Fennel also contains an array of phytonutrients with health-promoting qualities.

Antioxidant Protection. Fennel contains an array of important compounds with antioxidant properties, including rutin, quercetin, kaempferol glycosides, and others. Researchers have found that these compounds are comparable in their antioxidant effects as BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), an antioxidant commonly added to processed foods.

One compound in particular, anethole, has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to prevent cancer (specifically liver cancer).

Fennel is also abundant in Vitamin C, the body’s main water-soluble antioxidant known to stop free radicals in all watery environments in the body. If left unchecked, those harmful molecules cause cellular damage that results in joint deterioration in diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The Vitamin C in fennel has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects needed for proper functioning of the immune system.

Cardiovascular and Colon Health. With fennel being high in fiber, it may help to reduce cholesterol levels by binding with bile, removing it from the body. This forces the body to make more bile from existing cholesterol. Also, fiber removes potentially carcinogenic toxins from the colon, warding off colon cancer.

Fennel also contains a lot of folate, a B-vitamin known to convert homocysteine (a type of amino acid) into other benign molecules. It is well known that high levels of homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls, raising our risk for heart attack and stroke. So, keeping homocysteine levels in check can directly help to lower our risk for cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, fennel is a good source of potassium, an electrolyte known for helping to lower blood pressure, another factor that needs to be kept in check to ward off cardiovascular disease.

How to Select Fennel
Look for fennel bulbs that are clean, firm, and solid, without signs of bruising, splitting or spotting. The bulbs should be whitish or pale green. The stalks should be relatively straight, and the stalks and leaves should be green. There should be no signs of flowering buds, which indicates the vegetable is old. It should have a slight licorice or anise aroma.

Fennel is usually available from fall through early spring.

How to Store Fennel
Do not wash the vegetable until you are ready to use it. Trim the stalks to two or three inches above the bulb. Wrap the stalks and leaves loosely in a paper towel or clean cloth, then place that inside a loose plastic bag. Store the fresh bulb in the refrigerator crisper drawer with the air vent closed to maintain a humid environment. Fresh fennel ages quickly and should be used as soon as possible, usually within 4 days.

How to Prepare Fennel
First, cut the stalks off the bulb. Wash the bulb. If the bulb isn’t going to be used whole in a recipe, the root core is often removed. It is edible, but can be fibrous and tough when not thoroughly cooked. To do this, slice the bulb in half from top to bottom. Using the tip of your knife, cut an upside down “V” over the root end from the inside of a bulb half. Remove the core after cutting. Repeat with the other half of the bulb. After removing the root core, the bulb halves can be cut as needed. Here is a link to my video demonstration on this procedure…

Fennel can dry out quickly when cut. If you need to cut it in advance, store it wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator until needed.

Save the leaves (or fronds) for use as an herb. They can be sprinkled on salads or used as a garnish on a dish where fennel was used. The stalks can be used in cooking or making stock.

How to Freeze Fennel
Fennel is best when fresh. It can be frozen after being blanched, but loses some of its flavor in the process. Fennel will have a soft texture after being frozen, so it cannot be used for raw applications. However, frozen fennel may be added to soups and stews. To freeze the bulb, cut it into small pieces and blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water and allow them to cool down. Then drain well and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Label them with the date and use them within 12 months.

The fennel stalks and fronds freeze well and easily. Simply wash them, cut them into small pieces and place them in ice cube trays.  Cover with water and freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags. Add them to soups, stews or casseroles, as needed.

The stalks and fronds may also be washed, cut, then frozen in freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible, and simply store them in the freezer. As with the bulb, when the stalks and fronds are used after being frozen, they will be soft and not have the same texture as when they were raw. They will be best used in cooking applications. Use your frozen fennel pieces within 12 months for best quality.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Fennel
* The stalks of fennel can be saved to add to soups and stews.

* The leaves of fennel (fronds) can be used as an herb seasoning. Add fennel leaves to salads or cooked foods as a garnish.

* Try stir-steaming fennel and onions in a little vegetable broth and serve it as a side dish.

* Try a fennel pesto by blending fennel leaves (fronds), garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.

* Try a salad of sliced fennel with avocado and orange segments.

* Try topping thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves.

* Add shaved fennel to coleslaw.

* Braised fennel goes well with scallops.

* The fennel bulb can be somewhat fibrous, so when using it raw, slice it thinly so it’s easier to eat.

* When you cook fish, try laying fennel stalks and fronds (leaves) next to or on the fish to infuse its sweet flavor as the fish cooks.

* One pound of fresh fennel is about 3 cups sliced.

* If a recipe calls for one pound of fresh fennel and you don’t have it, you can substitute one pound of celery with 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds in place of the fennel. One pound of bok choy plus 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds may also be used as a substitute for fennel.

* If a recipe calls for fennel seeds and you don’t have them, you can substitute anise seeds for the fennel seeds. Bear in mind that anise seeds have a stronger flavor then fennel seeds, so use a little less anise seeds than what the recipe calls for.

* If a recipe calls for fennel fronds (leaves) and you don’t have any, dill leaves or tarragon may be used as a replacement. Note that the flavors are different and will change the flavor profile of the dish.

* Try braising fennel in orange juice with some shallots until just barely fork-tender. Add a touch of salt, if desired. Sprinkle with a little parsley and orange zest and enjoy!

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Fennel
Anise, basil, bay leaf, capers, chervil, chicory, chili pepper flakes, coriander, curry powder, curry spices, dill, fennel seeds, mint, mustard seeds, oregano, parsley, pepper, saffron, sage, salt, star anise, tarragon, thyme, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Fennel
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (in general), cannellini beans, cashews, chestnuts, chicken, chickpeas, edamame, eggs, fish (in general), green beans, hazelnuts, lamb, lentils, nuts (in general), pecans, pistachios, pork, pumpkin seeds, salmon, sausage, scallops, sesame seeds, shellfish, snap peas, walnuts, white beans

Vegetables: Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beets, beet juice, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chiles, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, garlic, ginger, greens (all types), leeks, lettuce (all types), mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, scallions, shallots, squash (summer and winter), tomatoes, tomato sauce, turnips, watercress, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, avocado, cherries (esp. dried), citrus fruits (in general), Clementines, cranberries (esp. dried), figs, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mangos, olives, oranges (esp. blood oranges), peaches, pears, pomegranates

Grains and Grain Products: Bread crumbs, couscous, grains (in general), millet, pasta, quinoa, rice, spelt, wild rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (in general, esp. goat, Gorgonzola, Gruyère, Parmesan, ricotta), cream

Other Foods: Honey, liqueurs (with anise/licorice flavor), mustard (prepared, i.e., Dijon), oil (in general, esp. olive), soy sauce, stock, tamari, vermouth, vinegar (esp. balsamic, champagne, cider, raspberry, white wine), wine (esp. dry white)

Fennel has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Casseroles, Chinese cuisine, curries, egg dishes, French cuisine, gratins, Italian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, pasta dishes, pestos, pizza, relishes, risottos, salads (i.e., fennel, grain, green, tomato), salad dressings (fennel fronds), salsa, sauces (i.e., tomato), sausage, slaws, soufflés, soups (i.e., fennel, potato, tomato, vegetable), stews, stir-fries, stuffings

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Fennel
Add fennel to any of the following combinations…

Acid (i.e., orange juice, vinegar) + Beets
Almonds + Avocados + Greens
Arugula + Grapefruit + Hazelnuts
Beets + Belgian Endive
Blood Orange + Romaine Lettuce
Cashews + Oranges + Vanilla
Cheese + Nuts (i.e., almonds, walnuts) + Fruit (i.e., apples, pears)
Cranberries + Nuts + Wild Rice [in salads]
Cucumbers + Mustard + Thyme
Endive + Pears
Escarole + Olives + Ricotta Cheese
Escarole + Oranges
Fennel Seeds + Garlic + Olive Oil + Thyme
Fennel Seeds + Lemon Juice + Olive Oil
Fennel Fronds (leaves) + Avocado + Grapefruit [in salads]
Feta Cheese + Lemon + Parsley
Garlic + Olives + Parmesan Cheese + Tomatoes
Garlic + Potatoes
Greens + Cheese + Mushrooms
Lemon + Olive Oil + Parmesan Cheese + Parsley [in salads]
Mushrooms + Parmesan Cheese
Olives + Oranges
Oranges + Nuts (i.e., pecans, walnuts)
Oranges + Red Onions + White Beans

Recipe Links
Braised Fennel with Shallots

Shaved Fennel, Roasted Tomato and Pistachio Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Fennel Salad with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan

53 Fresh Fennel Recipes That Make Us Fall for It All Over Again

25 Truly Fabulous Fennel Recipes

Basic Roasted Fennel

Fennel al Forno

22 Fresh Fennel Recipes That Everyone Will Love

Sautéed Fennel with Garlic

Roasted Fennel and Fingerling Potatoes

Pear Fennel Salad

White Bean Fennel Soup

Carrot Fennel Soup

Fennel Soup

Caramelized Fennel: The Best Fennel You’ll Ever Eat

Arugula and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Turnip Greens

Turnip Greens 101 – The Basics


Turnip Greens 101 – The Basics

About Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are the top of the turnip plant. Sometimes they are referred to as “turnip tops.” Turnips are part of the plant family Brassica rapa. Like kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, they are also part of the cruciferous plant family. There are a number of varieties of turnips, often with different color roots. The turnip root colors can be white, yellow/orange, purple, and half purple/half white.

Turnips are considered to be native to several areas, including the Middle East, parts of the Mediterranean, and Western and Eastern Asia. They were cultivated as early as 2,000 B.C. Over time, turnips were taken to Europe where they were eventually cultivated. Today, turnips are grown worldwide, including in the United States, mostly in California. Despite that, most of the turnips consumed in the United States are imported from Canada and Mexico. They have long been cultivated in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and parts of Asia, including China and Japan.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, folate, copper, manganese, fiber, calcium, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6. They also contain a lot of potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B2, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and protein. One cup of cooked turnip greens has less than 30 calories.

Although not a lot of studies have been focused directly on turnip greens, they have been included in lists of cruciferous vegetables examined for their overall health benefits. So, a lot of the following information not only applies to turnip greens, but to other cruciferous vegetables as well.

High Vitamin and Mineral Content. Turnip greens, specifically, are very high in a number of vitamin and minerals that play important roles in our health and well-being. This alone makes turnip greens very valuable if you’re looking for ways to boost your nutrient intake from foods (AND reap the benefits from having done so).

Glucosinolate. Like other cruciferous vegetables, turnip greens are high in glucosinolates. These are unique sulfur-containing compounds that are linked to cancer prevention and detoxification.

Antioxidant Benefits. Turnip greens contain high amounts of a number of important antioxidant nutrients, namely Vitamin A, Vitamin E, manganese, and Vitamin C. These individual nutrients (along with other compounds in turnip greens like quercetin, lutein, and kaempferol) have been studied extensively for their roles in lowering oxidative stress and the risk of chronic diseases, such as atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Clearly, the benefits of eating turnip greens are long and should not be ignored. Include some in your meals whenever you can!

Blood Thinning Medications. If you currently take blood thinning medications such as Coumadin or Warfarin, be aware that turnip greens are high in Vitamin K, which would interfere with your medications. Check with your healthcare provider before making big changes to your diet.

How to Select Turnip Greens
Choose turnip greens that are unblemished, crisp, and deep green in color. The greens are usually sold separately from the roots, but some stores may sell them still attached.

How to Store Turnip Greens
If you have purchased turnip greens with the roots still attached, remove the greens from the roots, leaving about 1 inch of the stems still attached. If the greens are left attached to the roots, the greens will wilt rather quickly. Wrap the detached greens in a damp paper towel or cloth and place them loosely in a plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator. You could also place your dry, unwashed greens in a plastic bag, seal it, and store it in the refrigerator. Turnip greens should be used within 4 to 7 days.

If your greens become wilted, set them upright in a bowl or glass of cold water. They should crisp back up in a few hours.

If you purchased turnip roots attached to greens, store the detached, unwashed and dry roots in a separate, sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should be used within 2 weeks.

How to Prepare Turnip Greens
Simply remove your greens from their packaging and wash them in cool water. Chop the leaves (and stems) into ½-inch slices, or as desired. Remove and discard any damaged pieces as you prepare the greens. Turnip greens are versatile. They may be eaten raw, boiled briefly, sautéed, steamed, stir-fried, braised, added to soups, stews, and casseroles, and even incorporated into lasagna!

How to Freeze Turnip Greens
Freezing turnip greens is not a hard process. Simply wash your greens well. Remove any woody stems and cut them into ¼-inch slices. Roll the leaves and cut them into ½-inch slices. Bring a pot of water to boil and place the prepared greens and stems in the boiling water. Set the timer immediately for 2 minutes. When the time is up, immediately transfer the vegetables to a bowl of ice water. Allow them to cool in the cold water for at least 2 minutes. Then drain them well and place your greens in a freezer bag or container. It is helpful to package the amount you would need for one meal in one container. Label them with the date and place them in the freezer. Use them within 12 months.

Tips for Removing Bitterness from Greens
1. Blanch them first before using them in a recipe. This works best with hardy greens such as collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, and kale. A lot of the bitterness will leach out in the blanching water. Discard the water then proceed with your recipe as usual.

  1. Pair the greens with strongly flavored ingredients. Bacon, sausage, garlic, something spicy or even sweet like roasted squash or dried fruit can counter the bitterness in greens by balancing it with another flavor.
  2. Add an acid. Vinegar or citrus juice (especially lemon juice) is well known for countering bitterness in greens. Drizzle the greens with the vinegar or juice at the end of cooking and lightly stir it in. The flavor of the greens will “brighten” and the bitterness will diminish.
  3. Add a bit of salt, or a salty ingredient. Added salt, or an added salty ingredient, will tame bitterness in many foods, including greens and radicchio. Anchovies, sausage, bacon, salted nuts, or even stock of choice will add some salt to the greens and help to reduce bitterness.
  4. Braise the greens. Slow braising helps to soften greens like collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens while removing bitterness.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Turnip Greens
* Try adding a little balsamic vinegar to your cooked greens for a touch of sweetness and a little acid to counter any remaining bitterness.

* Try using raw or slightly blanched turnip greens in place of other greens in your favorite pesto. You could also use mixed greens to balance flavors in your pesto.

* For a really simple and fast way to cook turnip greens, sauté a little onion and garlic in a tablespoon or two of olive oil or stock of choice. When the aromatics start to soften, toss in your greens. Add a tablespoon or two of water or more stock when needed to keep them from drying out. Season them with a little salt, pepper, and chile pepper flakes, if desired. Sauté the greens until they are lightly cooked and wilted. When finished, drizzle the juice from a lemon wedge onto your cooked greens and lightly toss to combine. Enjoy!

* Try adding some chopped turnip greens to your favorite soup.

* Add chopped turnip greens to a stew.

* Season sauteed turnip greens with a little soy sauce, lemon and cayenne pepper.

* Enjoy a Southern-style meal and enjoy cooked turnip greens with beans and rice.

* Try sautéed turnip greens, sweet potato and tofu, served over a bed of rice.

* Try adding a mixture of steamed turnip greens and spinach to layers of lasagna.

* To keep the most nutritional value of your turnip greens, don’t overcook them. Cook them for as brief a time as you can, and with as little liquid as possible. This will help to maintain their extraordinary nutritional profile.

* For a healthy way to prepare turnip greens, cut them into ½-inch strips and steam them over boiling water for 5 minutes. Toss them with a vinaigrette dressing of (3 Tbsp) olive oil, (1 Tbsp) lemon juice, (1 medium clove) fresh crushed garlic, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Top the greens with other favorite salad ingredients.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Turnip Greens
Cayenne, chile pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, curry powder, mint, mustard, nutmeg, parsley, saffron, sage, salt, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Turnip Greens
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds:  Bacon, beans (in general), black-eyed peas, chickpeas, eggs, ham, pecans, pork, sausage, sesame seeds, tofu, turkey, walnuts

Vegetables: Chiles, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips

Fruits: Apples, coconut, lemons (juice, zest), lime, olives, orange

Grains and Grain Products: Bread crumbs, grains (in general), noodles, pasta, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (esp. Parmesan, pecorino), coconut milk, cream

Other Foods: Miso, mustard (Dijon), oil (esp. olive, sesame), soy sauce, stock, vinegar (esp. apple cider), wine (dry white)

Turnip Greens Have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Asian cuisines, European cuisines, pasta dishes, salads, soups, Southern (U.S.) cuisine, stir-fries, stews

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Turnip Greens
Combine turnip greens with any of the following combinations…

Garlic + lemon + olive oil + onions
Pasta + white beans

Recipe Links
Smothered Greens

Turnip and Farro Salad with Greens

How to Cook Turnip Greens [Southern Turnip Greens]

Tempeh and Turnip Green Soup

Healthy and Delicious Southern Turnip Greens

Indian-Style Fragrant Buttered Greens with Potatoes

Italian Turnip Greens

Wilted Turnip Tops with Roast Roots

Turnip Soup with Turnip Greens



Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. 3rd ed. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Sage 101 – The Basics

Sage 101 – The Basics

About Sage
Sage leaves are grayish green with a silvery bloom on the surface. The leaves are elongated with prominent veins running throughout. Beside the leaves, the flowers of the sage plant are also edible. Interestingly, there are over 900 species of sage. Botanically, sage is related to basil, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, summer savory, and thyme. Sage is available fresh or dried in either whole, rubbed (lightly ground), or ground powder form.

The flavor of sage is somewhat complex. It is described as being earthy, slightly peppery with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon. Sage pairs well with rich foods with strong flavors that can hold their own alongside the bold flavor of sage.

The name “sage,” Salvia officinalis, means “to be saved” in Latin. That name gives clue to the fact that the herb has been highly prized for its culinary and medicinal properties for thousands of years. In fact, sage has one of the longest histories of uses of any medicinal herb.

Sage is native to countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, where it has been consumed for thousands of years. Sage has been used as a natural remedy since ancient times by the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Native Americans. Sage was a valuable commodity to the ancient Greeks and Romans, not only for its healing properties, but also because it was used to preserve meat. They found that sage reduced spoilage, which recent research has attributed to its numerous terpene antioxidants.

The prized status of sage continued throughout history. Arab physicians in the 10th century believed it promoted immortality. Europeans in the 14th century used sage to protect themselves from witchcraft. Sage was so prized in 17th century China, that Chinese were said to have traded three cases of tea leaves for one case of sage leaves from the Dutch. The value of sage continues to this day. In 2001, the International Herb Association awarded sage the title of “Herb of the Year.” Today, sage is used for sore mouth or throat, memory loss, diabetes, high cholesterol, and to treat other ailments.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Sage is an excellent source of Vitamin K and a good source of Vitamin A. But well beyond its vitamin content, sage contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids, and phenolic acids that give the herb some important health properties.

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Protection. Rosmarinic acid, one of the phenolic acids in sage, is readily absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Once inside the body, this acid (along with other compounds in sage) acts both as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, neutralizing free-radical molecules and reducing inflammation. Research has shown that increasing sage intake (as a food ingredient) is recommended for people with inflammatory conditions such as bronchial asthma and atherosclerosis.

Better Brain Function. Research published in the June 2003 issue of Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms that sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted with 45 young adult subjects. They were given either a placebo or an essential oil extract of sage in measured dosages. Cognitive tests were conducted and results showed that even the smallest dosage significantly improved the subjects’ immediate recall.

Another research project presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in 2003 showed that the dried root of Chinese sage contains compounds similar to those included in modern drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Our ancient forefathers were wise in using sage to treat cerebrovascular disease for over one thousand years. Further research found a number of compounds in the root of Chinese sage that aid in combating or preventing specific chemical changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Improved Blood Sugar and Cholesterol. In a recent study, 40 people with diabetes and high cholesterol took sage leaf extract for three months. At the end of the trial, the subjects had lower fasting blood sugar and lower average glucose levels over the three-month period, along with reduced total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol. They also experienced increased levels of HDL cholesterol.

Another study was conducted with 80 people with Type 2 diabetes who had poor blood sugar control. After 2 hours of fasting, subjects given sage experienced a significant decrease in blood sugar levels when compared with the control group. The researchers concluded that sage might be beneficial for diabetics in lowering glucose levels after 2 hours of fasting.

Precautions. Recent research shows that the amount of sage we commonly eat in foods is safe. The effectiveness and side effects of sage supplements varies among brands and production process, so it is best to consume sage as a food and avoid excessive amounts through supplementation. Sage essential oil is not safe to ingest.

How to Select Sage
Dried sage is usually available in the spice isle of most grocery stores. It may be available in ground powder, or rubbed leaves. They are not quite the same. The flavor of ground powdered sage will not hold up well when used in cooking applications, so it would be best used in uncooked dishes. The rubbed sage leaves are light, fluffy crumbled leaves.  They tend to hold their flavor better than ground powdered sage when cooked.

Some stores sell fresh herbs in the refrigerated produce section. Many people find the flavor of fresh sage is preferrable to that of the dried herb. When choosing fresh sage, look for the leaves to be a bright green-gray color. They should be free from dark spots or yellowing.

How to Store Sage
Store fresh sage leaves wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed loosely inside a closed plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator and use it within several days.

If the stem of your fresh sage is long enough, you could also put them in a glass with a little bit of water. They can be kept on the kitchen counter, or placed in the refrigerator with a plastic bag placed loosely over them. Change the water every day or two.

Dried sage should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place such as your pantry. It will have best flavor if used within six months.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Sage
* For best flavor, add fresh sage to food toward the end of cooking time. Add dry rubbed sage leaves early in cooking to allow time for them to hydrate and release their flavor.

* Try flavoring navy beans with a little olive oil, sage and garlic. Serve it on bruschetta or a cooked grain like rice or quinoa.

* Add sage as a seasoning to tomato sauce.

* Try sprinkling a little sage on your next pizza.

* For an easy salad, combine sage leaves, bell peppers, cucumbers, and sweet onions with plain yogurt.

* When baking chicken or fish in parchment paper, include some fresh sage leaves in the package so the food will absorb the sage flavor.

* Sage pairs well with browned butter as a flavoring for pasta, chicken, and vegetable dishes.

* Fresh sage is an intensely aromatic herb with sturdy leaves. When adding sage to any dish, unless you’re sure of how much you need, remember that a little goes a long way. So, add a small amount at a time, then add more later if needed. It’s easy to add more, but hard to take it out.

* If you enjoy the flavor of sage and also like honey in your tea, try making sage infused honey to add to your tea. Add DRIED (NOT fresh) whole leaves to a small jar of honey. Stir to make sure the leaves are covered with the honey. Allow them to infuse for 5 days. Taste the honey. If it’s to your liking, remove the leaves. If it needs more flavor, add more dried whole leaves and/or allow them to infuse longer until the flavor is right for you, then remove the leaves. Since the flavor of sage is strong, start with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried leaves to 1 cup of mild-flavored honey, and adjust from there, as desired. [Note: Using dried sage is important to limit adding liquid to the honey. This inhibits the growth of any microbial spores that may be in the honey.]

* When shopping for dried sage, you may see ground sage and also rubbed sage. There is a difference between the two. Ground sage is sage that has been dried, then ground, like most other herbs. Rubbed sage leaves were dried, then “rubbed” together creating a dry, fluffy powder. Rubbed sage holds its flavor well. Dried ground sage is less intense in flavor than dried rubbed sage. Dried ground sage does not hold its flavor when being cooked as well as rubbed dried sage.

* If you have a lot of sage and you want to preserve some, your fresh sage may be frozen in a couple different ways. (1) Chop the leaves and freeze a measured amount in each space in ice cube trays with some water. Transfer the sage ice cubes to an airtight container and use them in any application that calls for sage, such as beverages, soups or stews. (2) Wash and dry the leaves. Remove the leaves from the stems and place the leaves in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as you can from the bag and place it in the freezer. Use them within one year.

* Fresh sage may also be dried in a couple ways. First, wash and dry the sage leaves while still on the stems. Then dry them in one of two ways. (1) Tie a bundle of sage stems with leaves attached toward the cut end of the stems. Hang them upside down in a well ventilated, dry place away from sunlight. When they are completely dry, remove the leaves and store them in an airtight container. (2) Place your sage stems with leaves in a clean paper bag. Fold over the top of the bag to close it. Lay the bag on its side in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Two or three times a day, gently shake the bag to loosen the contents and turn the bag over on the other side. Check them after about one week for dryness. Continue gently shaking and turning the bag until they are completely dry. Then, remove the leaves from the stems and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from light. For best flavor use dried herbs within six months. They will be completely edible beyond that, but their flavor may dwindle over time. To see my video demonstration on how to dry herbs using this method, watch here

* Sage pairs especially well with cheddar cheese. So, next time you make something with cheddar, try adding a little sage to the dish.

* Sage pairs well with onions. Try adding a little sage when you caramelize onions, then add them to a sandwich, burger, or pizza.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Sage
Basil, bay leaf, juniper berries, marjoram, mint, parsley, pepper (black), rosemary, savory, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Sage
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beans (in general), chestnuts, chicken, eggs, lamb, lentils, oysters, peanuts, peas (green, split), pine nuts, pork, poultry, sausage, turkey, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, butternut squash, carrots, eggplant, fennel, garlic, green beans, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, root vegetables (in general), rutabaga, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes

Fruits: Apples, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pineapple, pumpkin

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, bread crumbs, corn, corn bread, cornmeal, grains (in general), pasta, polenta, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Browned butter, butter, cheese (esp. Brie, cheddar, feta, Fontina, Gruyere, Parmesan, ricotta), ghee

Other Foods: Oil (esp. olive), stock, vinegar

Sage has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., biscuits, corn bread, focaccia), breads and bread crumbs, casseroles, egg dishes (i.e., frittatas, scrambled), gravies, Mediterranean cuisines, pasta dishes (i.e., gnocchi, lasagna, orecchiette, spaghetti), pestos, pizza, risotto, salads (i.e., bean, herb), sauces, soups (i.e., butternut squash, lentil, pumpkin, sweet potato, white bean), stews, stuffings

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Sage
Add sage to any of the following combinations…

Bread crumbs + olive oil
Butter + lemon + Parmesan cheese [on pasta]
Butternut squash + walnuts
Cheese + tomatoes
Garlic + olive oil + parsley + winter squash
Garlic + potatoes
Garlic + white beans
Walnuts [in pesto]

Recipe Links
Our 51 Best Sage Recipes

11 Recipes to Make with the Ultimate Fall Herb: Sage

Sage Recipes: 45 Things to Do with Fresh Sage

How to Make Sage Butter

What to Do With (Way Too Much) Sage

Sage: 46 Things to do with Fresh Sage

4 Reasons to Grow Sage and 20 Brilliant Ways to Use It

Sage Recipes and Menu Ideas

14 Autumn Dinner Recipes Made with Smokey Sage

16 Delicious Ways to Cook with Sage

Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan

Sage Recipes

Sage and Garlic Pecan Roasted Vegetables

Vegetarian Recipes with Sage

Vegan Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Lemon Pasta with Sage and Spinach

15 Sage Recipes for Thanksgiving that are Savory and Satisfying

Vegan Garlic Sage Cream Pasta


Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Peaches 101 – The Basics


Peaches 101 – The Basics

About Peaches
Peaches are stone fruits, native to northwest China. From there, the trees spread westward through Asia into the Mediterranean countries, then onward to other parts of Europe. Spanish explorers transported peaches to the Americas, where they were found in Mexico as early as 1600. Large-scale production of peaches started in the United States in the 19th century. Early crops were of poor quality. With improved techniques of grafting, large commercial peach orchards were eventually established.

The color of peach flesh can be white or yellow to orange. There are two main varieties of peaches: freestone, where the flesh easily separates from the one large pit or stone, and clingstone, where the flesh adheres securely to the stone. The freestone varieties are usually eaten fresh, “out of hand,” since the pit almost falls out once exposed. They can also be used in any application, like baking, cooking, canning and freezing. Clingstone peaches are a bit sweeter, smaller, and juicier than freestone varieties. They are excellent options for canning and preserving. Most commercially canned peaches are clingstone varieties.

Thousands of varieties of peaches have been developed over the years. Yellow-fleshed varieties are the most popular in North America.  Europeans enjoy both white and yellow fleshed peaches. Globally, China, Italy, Spain, and the United States are major producers of peaches.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Peaches have noteworthy nutritional value and health benefits. One medium peach contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, niacin, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, copper and manganese. They also have smaller amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and B-vitamins. One medium peach has about 58 calories, so they would make a healthy, low-calorie snack or addition to any meal or dessert.

Peaches also contain a number of antioxidants, compounds that are known to neutralize harmful molecules in the body, protecting us from aging and assorted diseases. It’s noteworthy that the fresher and riper a peach is, the more antioxidants it contains.

Digestive Help. The fiber in peaches is half soluble and half insoluble. This is especially helpful since each type of fiber serves its own purpose and they are not interchangeable. Soluble fiber feeds our gut bacteria, keeping colonies strong and active. Soluble fiber also binds with bile in the digestive tract, removing it in the feces. This forces the liver to make more bile from existing cholesterol, which in turn, helps to keep our blood cholesterol levels in check. Insoluble fiber is important for helping to propel the contents of the digestive tract forward, preventing constipation. This also helps to ward off disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. It is important to note that much of the fiber in peaches is found in the skin, so to get the most benefit from your peaches, don’t peel them, if possible.

Heart Health. As mentioned under “Digestive Help,” the soluble fiber in peaches helps to keep cholesterol levels down. This in itself helps to ward off heart and cardiovascular diseases. Also, potassium, which is found in peaches, is an electrolyte known for helping to manage the balance of fluids in the body. It also promotes lower blood pressure, by helping blood vessels to relax and expand appropriately, allowing for better blood flow and transport of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Skin Health. The high level of Vitamin A and antioxidants found in peaches helps to promote healthy skin. First, peaches are high in Vitamin C. This crucial vitamin is important in the development and maintenance of collagen in the body. Collagen is vital in providing a support system for the skin, promoting wound healing, and strengthening the skin. It can also improve the appearance of skin by reducing wrinkling, improving elasticity, smoothing roughness, and improving skin color.

Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and the other antioxidants (along with Vitamin C) found in peaches work together as anti-inflammatory agents, helping to protect the skin from sun damage, improving the skin tone, calming inflammation by squelching harmful free-radical molecules, and helping to protect against premature aging. Also, since peaches are largely water, they help to hydrate the skin, giving it a healthy glow and minimizing wrinkles.

Cancer Protection. The skin and flesh of peaches are rich in carotenoids, caffeic acid, and polyphenols. These types of antioxidants have been found to have anticancer properties, limiting the growth and spread of cancer cells and also helping to prevent non-cancerous tumors from becoming malignant. Animal and human studies confirm that peaches may be helpful in preventing breast cancer.

Allergy Symptoms. Peaches may help to reduce allergy symptoms. Studies have shown that peaches may help to reduce or prevent the release of histamines in the blood after exposure to allergens, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. More research is needed in this area, but the findings look promising.

Immunity. The antioxidants found in peaches may help to boost immunity by fighting certain types of bacteria.

Diabetes. Animal studies found that compounds in peaches may help to prevent high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. More studies with humans are needed in this area, but it appears that peaches, along with other foods high in antioxidants, may be helpful in preventing and treating diabetes and insulin resistance.

Eye Health. The powerful antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin found in peaches, helps to protect the retina and lens of the eyes. Along with that, the compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders that hinder the vision of many people. The Vitamin A found in peaches also is important for supporting eye health. A serious Vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia, which can result in eye damage causing problems from night blindness to complete and irreversible total blindness. In fact, severe Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness among children in underdeveloped nations around the world.

Cognitive Health. Antioxidants, like those found in peaches, are known to fight harmful molecules in the body. When affecting the brain, harmful free-radical molecules can cause neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ingesting ample antioxidants from foods in their natural form is the best way to obtain these helpful compounds. Including peaches and other fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet is a simple way to help ensure you lower your risk for serious conditions as detailed above.

How to Select Fresh Peaches
When choosing fresh peaches, bear in mind your personal preference or intended use. The white-fleshed peaches are sweeter and less acidic than the yellow-fleshed peaches, which are more of a sweet-tart flavor.

When buying fresh peaches, look for those that are hard or only slightly soft, with no bruises or wrinkles. Don’t be shy…smell the peach before you place it in your cart. Those that smell sweeter will be riper, sweeter in flavor, and ready to eat sooner than those with little to no aroma. Also, you can tell if a peach is ripe and ready to eat by gently pressing down on its flesh and feeling it slightly give…like you would test an avocado for ripeness.

Avoid peaches that are brownish, damaged, mushy or wrinkled, because they are old, overripe, and will not last long.

How to Store Fresh Peaches
If your fresh peaches are not fully ripe, they can be placed on the kitchen counter in a single layer, away from sunlight and heat. They should ripen within one to three days.

Ripe peaches will last up to one week when kept at room temperature. If you won’t be able to use them within that time, place them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. They may be kept in an open area of the refrigerator, or in a crisper drawer to help protect them from damage. If they are placed in the crisper drawer, leave the air vent open, on the low humidity setting.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Peaches
* Try grilling or roasting peaches, then add them to a salad.

* Try grilled or roasted peaches with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or mascarpone cheese.

* Serve chicken with a peach sauce.

* Make a peach salsa to serve on tacos or pork tenderloin.

* On a hot day, try adding some sliced peaches to your favorite iced tea. For the most flavor, smash the peaches in the bottom of the glass before adding the ice cubes and tea.

* Blend some peaches with coconut milk for a “peaches and cream” smoothie or dessert. Add some dates or sweetener of choice, if desired. Add banana for more richness, if desired. Spice it up if you want with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

* Blend peaches with yogurt or coconut cream and freeze it in popsicle molds. Sweeten it with dates or sweetener of choice, if desired. Add a touch of lemon juice for a little tartness and color retention, if desired.

* Add diced peaches to your morning oatmeal.

* Blend peaches with raspberries to make a sauce, then serve it over ice cream or coconut milk sorbet. Top with chopped almonds and enjoy!

* Try a salad with a bed of mixed greens mixed with cherry tomatoes and peach slices. Top with some fresh basil leaves and drizzle with a balsamic-honey dressing.

* The lighter, white flesh peaches taste sweeter and are less acidic than the traditional yellow flesh peaches. The yellow flesh peaches are sweet, but more acidic which makes them a little tangier.

* Peaches come in two basic varieties regarding their pits or stones. They can be freestone, where the flesh separates easily from the stone. Or they can be clingstone, where the flesh adheres to the stone and is not easily removed. The freestone peaches are easier to work with since the stone comes out easily. They also tend to be larger and less juicy than their counterparts, the clingstones. Clingstone peaches tend to be slightly softer, sweeter, and juicier than freestone peaches.

* Botanically speaking, nectarines are actually a variety of peach. They are so closely related that sometimes nectarines naturally appear on peach trees.

* 1 pound of fresh peaches = 4 medium peaches = about 2-1/2 cups chopped or sliced = about 1-1/2 cups pureed.

* If you need fresh peaches for a recipe and don’t have enough, even though the flavors may be a bit different, the following fruit may be used as a substitute: nectarines, apricots, plums, mangoes, papaya, cherries, and pluots or apriums (crosses between plums and apricots).

* If you need dried peaches for a recipe and don’t have enough, even though the flavors may be a bit different, the following may be used as a substitute: dried apricots, dried nectarines, and dried cherries.

* Top rice pudding (or any other pudding) with diced fresh peaches.

* Try a peach parfait by layering diced fresh peaches, yogurt, banana, pistachios, and granola.

* If you buy conventionally grown peaches and are concerned with pesticide or other chemical residues on your fruit, most of it can be easily removed by a simple (scienced-based!) 15-minute soak in a baking soda solution. Combine a ratio of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water. Make up enough solution to be able to submerge your peaches. Weigh the peaches down with a plate to keep them under the water and allow them to soak for 15 minutes. Then simply rinse them with clean water and pat them dry. Store them and use them as usual. To see a demonstration on this technique, watch this video …

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Peaches
Allspice, basil, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, lemongrass, lemon verbena, mint, nutmeg, pepper, rosemary, saffron, salt, tarragon, vanilla

Foods That Go Well with Peaches
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, bacon, beef, cashews, ham, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, nuts (in general), pecans, pistachios, pork, poultry, prosciutto, pumpkin seeds, salmon (and other seafoods), walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, chiles, endive, fennel, ginger, greens (salad), onions (red), radishes, scallions, tomatoes, watercress

Fruits: Apples (fresh, juice), apricots, avocado, bananas, berries (in general), blackberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut, currants, grapes, lemon, lime, mangoes, nectarines, orange (fresh, juice, liqueur, zest), papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries

Grains and Grain Products: Grains (in general), oatmeal, oats, quinoa, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, buttermilk, cheese (esp. blue, burrata, cream, goat, mozzarella, ricotta), cream, crème fraiche, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Caramel, chocolate, honey, lavender, maple syrup, molasses, oil (olive), rum, sherry, spirits (i.e., bourbon, brandy, cognac, Cointreau, Kirsch), sugar, vinegar (i.e., apple cider, balsamic, champagne, rice, wine), whiskey, wine (i.e., red or white, fruity, sparkling, and/or sweet)

Peaches have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (i.e., pies, scones), chutneys, compotes, desserts (i.e., cobblers, crisps, crumbles, Melba, pies), ice cream, salads (i.e., fruit, grain, green), salsas, smoothies, sorbets, soups (i.e., cold and/or fruit), Southern (U.S.) cuisine

Suggested Food and Flavor Combos Using Peaches
Add peaches to any of the following combinations…

Almonds + Cinnamon + Yogurt
Almonds + Lemon + Olive Oil + Saffron
Balsamic Vinegar + Lettuce + Spinach + Maple syrup + Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar + Mint + Ricotta
Basil + Mozzarella Cheese
Berries + Lemon
Blueberries + Lemon + Maple Syrup
Blue Cheese + Hazelnuts
Cashew Cream + Balsamic Vinegar
Cherries + Balsamic Vinegar
Cilantro + Ginger + Lime
Cinnamon + Honey + Lemon + Yogurt
Fennel + Lemon
Ginger + Honey + Lemon + Lemongrass
Ginger + Lemon
Honey + Nuts + Oats/Oatmeal
Mangoes + Raspberries
Maple Syrup + Nuts + Orange Juice + Ricotta
Maple Syrup + Orange + Vanilla
Mascarpone + Strawberries + Vanilla
Pistachios + Vanilla

Recipe Links
34 Peach Recipes to Make This Summer

13 Most Delicious Ways to Eat Peaches

Baked Peaches

Peaches and Berries with Lemon-Mint Syrup

39 Perfect Peach Desserts

Peach Pie Smoothie

Savory Peach Chicken

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

15 Savory Peach Recipes

Fresh Peaches with Blueberries and Yogurt

43 Peach Recipes That Make the Most of Summer’s Juiciest Fruit

55 Juicy Peach Recipes for (an Endless) Summer

70+ Fresh Peach Recipes to Savor This Summer

60 Ways to Use a Farmers’ Market Haul of Fresh Peaches



Joachim, David. (2010) The Food Substitutions Bible. 2nd Edition. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Robert Rose, Inc.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.