Apple recipes

In season in California: August to December

How to choose good apples: The best are fresh, crisp and juicy. A fresh apple feels firm and heavy for its size. The skin should show no dents or bruises. Avoid those that smell musty.

Taste: Apples have a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor and a tartness that is present to greater or lesser degree depending on the variety. For example, Golden and Red Delicious apples are mild and sweet, while Pippins and Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart. Tart apples, which best retain their texture during cooking, are often preferred for cooked desserts like apple pie, while Delicious apples and other sweeter varieties like Braeburn and Fuji apples are usually eaten raw.

Health benefits: Apples are mostly fiber, water and sugar, which makes them a great fat-free energy booster. They also contain a moderate amount of vitamin C and several antioxidants. Several studies have found a correlation between apples' strong antioxidant benefits and a lower risk of lung cancer. The skin of the apple is unusually rich in nutrients, so consider leaving the skin on even in recipes that call for peeled apples. One medium apple that is about three inches in diameter contains about 95 calories, 3 from fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber and 19 grams of sugar.