By Peggy Crum, MA, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

ApplesMichigan’s apple season starts in August, really gets going in September, and continues well into October. Thanks to controlled atmosphere storage, it’s unlikely that one bad apple will spoil the whole barrel. Freshly harvested apples are put to sleep until it’s time to go to market. MSU researchers have perfected this process, now used industry-wide, so you can say, “How ‘bout them apples” year-round.

If you grew up with a backyard apple tree, you probably used the same kind of apple for every purpose. We ate an apple a day and gave some away! With 20 commercially grown varieties of Michigan apples and hundreds of cultivars available from family farms, there is no need to compare apples and oranges. This guide compares apples to apples, a great way to view the features of the most common and popular Michigan-grown apple varieties. With so many varieties, it seems a shame not to try a little of each, dabbling in the wide array from sweet to tart, crunchy to soft, big red to little green apples. Not to upset your apple cart, but you may want to try something new that you find at the farmers market. The growers can tell you the qualities and how best to use them.

If you like to pick your own apples, keep in mind that apples continue to ripen after harvest, particularly the late varieties, such as Delicious, Ida Red, Fuji and Braeburn. Bite into one you just picked and you’ll no doubt be sorely disappointed. During ripening, starches break down into sugars producing a fruit with a sweeter taste. Some apples need to be stored for a number of weeks before they are palatable. Fresh from the market, they’re ready to eat. Keep your apples refrigerated as they will overripen quickly when stored on the countertop.

This month’s recipe may not be as American as apple pie, but it’s a great way to enjoy the taste of autumn and just may become the apple of your eye.

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his baked stuffed apples recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the apples during lunch at Brody Square and Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here: