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The A to Z of Apples

Which apples should you buy when it's fall and there's an overwhelming number of choices? Before making a selection, consider how you will use them. For straight snacking, the best apples have crunchy, juicy flesh, a fragrant aroma and sweetness with a touch of tartness: Some of the newer varieties include Honeycrisp, Cameo and Pink Lady. For baking whole, choose apples that are sweet and firm so they won't collapse in the oven: Jonagold, Jonathan, Stayman, Idared, Winesap, Northern Spy or Braeburn. For pies, combine hard, tart apples like Granny Smiths with a sweeter variety like Empire. For applesauce, mix different apples (as cider makers do to get the best balance of flavor), adding some that fall apart easily when cooked but have good body so the sauce doesn't become soupy: Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Gala, Melrose, Mutsu and Newtown Pippin.
—Carla Ranicki

Apples & Health

Eat apples and lose weight: That was the conclusion of a study that researchers at the State University of Rio de Janeiro published in Nutrition this year. Overweight women who ate two apples a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than those who didn't. Apples aren't particularly high in nutrients, but they are good sources of fiber and the health-boosting antioxidants known as flavonoids. A recent Finnish study found that people with an apple-rich diet had a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer.
—C.R.

Core Beauty

Frédéric Fekkai Apple Cider Purifying Body Wash The latest addition to the Manhattan hairstylist's Apple Cider Collection contains cleansing apple-cider vinegar plus extracts of apple, sage, rosemary and verbena to soften skin ($20 for 8 ounces; 888-888-4757).

Pacifica Apple Pumpkin Renewal & Detoxifying Treatment smoothes skin with organic apple juice and pumpkin purée ($29 for 1.2 ounces; 866-337-7100).

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel AHA Enzyme Mask improves skin tone and texture with a blend of organic apple and lemon juices as well as moisturizing raw cane sugar ($48 for 2 ounces; 888-90-JUICE).

Kiss My Face Real Apple Certified Organic Lip Balm soothes chapped lips with organic canola and coconut oils and has a lovely apple scent ($3.50 for 0.15 ounce.; 800-262-KISS).

Avon Anew Clinical Line and Wrinkle Corrector decreases the appearance of fine lines with apple-tree root, olive leaf and alfalfa extracts and pomegranate juice ($32 for 1 ounce; 800-FOR-AVON).
—Jennifer Laing

Apple Drinks Defined

Sweet cider Raw, unfiltered apple juice.

Hard cider Fermented apple juice. Outside the United States, beverages called cider are usually the hard (alcoholic) variety. Farmhouse versions are usually cloudy, while commercial ones are clear.

Calvados An apple cider brandy from France's Normandy region. To make it, eau-de-vie, produced by distilling cider, is aged for at least two years in oak; the best are aged four or more years. Calvados houses blend old and young brandies to make their individual styles. The vintage reflects the age of the youngest brandy.

Applejack Once a pure apple brandy, this American spirit is now a blend of apple brandy and neutral grain spirits.

Pommeau An aperitif from Normandy made by aging a blend of apple juice and Calvados.
—Lesley Truett

Published November 2003
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