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Get to the Core of Apples and Pears

basket of apples and pearsAutumn is here, and with it an abundance of seasonal produce just begging to bring more flavors and nutritional benefits to your meals. According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most people do not consume the recommended 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.1 Now is the time to discover new ways to add fall produce to your weekly menu.

An Apple and Pear a Day

If you eat an apple and a pear today, you’ll get your recommended 2 cups of fruits. Besides their delicious taste, there are many other reasons these autumnal delights make excellent choices for your fruit intake.

Fiber intake. A medium-sized apple2 contains more than 4 grams of fiber, and a medium-sized pear more than 5 grams.3

Vitamin C delivery. Apples and pears also contain vitamin C, which serves as an antioxidant and supports the immune system.4

Skin on. Be sure to eat the skin of apples and pears to reap all the nutrients they have to offer. Give them a thorough wash and dry first.

Apple (and Pear) of Your Eye

Beyond the shiny red version you might see on a teacher’s desk, apples come in an array of sizes, colors, and flavors.5 Sweet apples, such as Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, or Ambrosia are ideal as snacks or recipe ingredients. Granny Smith and other tart apples make great additions to pies, breads, and more. But it’s really a matter of taste. Sample a variety of apples to discover your favorites. Sweet and juicy with mild flavor, pears also offer variety in size and color. Bosc, Anjou, and Bartlett are just a few of the types you might find at Publix.6

When choosing, storing, and preparing these delicious fruits, try our practical tips and serving suggestions.

The ripe choice. Check apples and pears for ripeness by applying pressure with your thumb to the stem end. Ripe apples should be firm. For pears, if it gives slightly, it’s ready to enjoy.

Smarter storage. Apples and pears are best stored in the refrigerator in perforated plastic bags. Both continue to ripen at room temperature after they are picked. If you wish to promote ripening, put your pears in a paper bag on the countertop.

Delaying oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical process that causes the surface of an apple or pear to turn brown when it’s exposed to oxygen. One way to delay oxidation is to cut up your apples and pears with a ceramic knife and toss them in lemon juice.

Prepare to Enjoy Apples and Pears

Though delicious on their own without any preparation, apples and pears offer bountiful options for inclusion into snacks, sides, entrées, desserts, and drinks. Here are some Better Choice Aprons recipes to try this fall.

Snacktime yum. Enjoy your favorite apples as a raw snack in our Apples with Almond Butter Dip. This is a great lunchbox item.

Sensational sides. Chopped Granny Smith apples make the perfect addition to our Kale, Red Cabbage, and Apple Slaw. And the poached pears recipe below pairs well with a chicken or pork dish.

Green Tea and Ginger Poached Pears

Combine 3 cups brewed green (or green jasmine) tea with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger; bring to a simmer. Peel, halve, and seed 3 Bosc pears. Steep pears in liquid for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and allow pears to cool in liquid; transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. Serve cold or room temperature with poaching liquid.

Score big flavor. Kick off pregame festivities with Harvest Chicken Chili. It’s a great way to work fruit into a one-dish meal.

Holiday hits. As you consider your Thanksgiving menu, try our Apple Sweet Potato Soup with Apple Yogurt Topper, featuring Golden Delicious apples. And our Cider-Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Pears recipe offers a new twist on a classic fall veggie with the addition of ripe pears.

Sources:
1U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). “Current Eating Patterns in the United States.” 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th ed. November 21, 2016. 
2Publix Asset Management Company. "At Season's Peak." Publix.com. August 15, 2017.
3United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory.
4USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (Revised). Version Current: May 2016.
5U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). "Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Consumers." National Institutes of Health (NIH): Office of Dietary Supplements. June 24, 2011.
6United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Food and Nutrition Service. "SNAP-Ed Seasonal Produce Guide: Apples." September 6, 2017.

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