By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
The apple. It may very well be the closest thing to absolute perfection available in your market or grocer's fruit aisle, and every season a little something new seems to arrive to tempt discerning consumers.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Lova Ebbert, of Ebbert’s Farm Market in St. Clairsville, shows off multitudes of Ohio-grown apples.
If you thought there were only a few basic varieties of apples to be enjoyed by the average consumer, you might want to take a look at a listing of the varieties of apples commonly grown by farmers across the state of Ohio.
You will not be disappointed.
The list is impressive in the number and in the depth of variety it represents, most of which can and are grown in orchards readily considered part of this immediate farming region, allowing vendors to provide customers freshly harvested fruits helping deliver apples of a consistent taste and texture.
Apple Nutrition Facts
- Fat free
- No saturated fat
- Sodium free
- Cholesterol free
- Excellent source of fiber
- Apples are a natural source of health-promoting phytonutrients, including plant-based antioxidants.
- Apples and apple juice are two important foods contributing the mineral boron to the diet, which may promote bone health.
- Apples contain natural fruit sugars, mostly in the form of fructose.
- Because of apples' high fiber content, the fruit's natural sugars are slowly released into the blood stream, helping maintain steady blood sugar levels.
- Whenever possible, don't peel that apple. Two-thirds of the fiber, and many of the antioxidants, are found in apple's peel.
Federally-approved health claims for apples:
- Fiber-containing fruits and cancer: Low fat diets rich in fiber-containing fruits, vegetables and grain products may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
- Fiber-containing fruits and the risk of coronary heart disease: Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain certain types of dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Fat and cancer: Eating a healthful diet low in fat may help reduce the risk of some types of cancers. Development of cancer is associated with many factors, including what you eat.
- Saturated fat and cholesterol and heart disease: While many factors affect heart disease, diets low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat may reduce the risk of this disease.
- Sodium and hypertension: Diets low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a disease associated with many factors.
At times the selection available to the everyday consumer can become overwhelming, as different types feature individual characters.
If you are interested in selecting apples for pairing with certain other foods there is a completed listing of information readily available to consumers from the Ohio Apple Marketing Program. It can be found at www.ohioapples.org.
A core group of these offers names as inviting and individual as are the apples they represent: ginger gold (tart - crisp), gala (sweet - firm), mcintosh (spicy and tender), honeycrisp (sweet and tender), cortland (spicy and tender), jonathan (tart and spicy); jonagold (sweet and tangy), empire (crisp - sweet and tart), red delicious (sweet and rich), golden delicious (sweet, rich and firm), melrose (crisp and mild), suncrisp (crisp and sweet), idared (mildly tart and firm), law rome (mild - firm), winesap (spicy and firm), fuji (sweet and hard), goldrush (tart and firm), and granny smith (tart and hard).
The easily located information addresses each apple variety's natural traits, characteristics and general performance when enjoyed for such things as eating, use in salads, as applesauce, in pies, baking in general and when frozen then used.
Descriptions of the individual outward appearance of each provides an easy to use reference helpful to any consumer, whether experienced at selecting just the right type to use for baking in pies or for paring with a favorite dressing in a fresh salad or easy to grab and go wrap.
The popularity of apples across the nation has been gaining ground in such high profile retail venues as international fast food chains offering sliced pre-packaged apples as a routine side-order or as a standard in a child's meal-often replacing something that might not have been as beneficial to the youngster's overall diet as are apples.
Several years ago, finding apples for sale in vending machines which offered such fare as pudding, sandwiches, soups, and even vegetables became a norm, not an exception.
Shoppers looking for fruits and other fresh produce have for generations shopped at what we know today as the Ebbert Farm Market on National Road, just east of the Ohio Valley Mall.
The recently expanded market building, the beautiful brick farmhouse which has been home to several generations of the Ebbert family, and a small part of the family's famously productive fields, are easily visible to travelers on I-70, which is often all the inducement needed for drivers to take advantage of making a quick stop at the popular market.
The business is well known for offering for sale only the freshest of the season's fruits, among many other items.
It is a perfect place to visit, whether you are a solo shopper or have several generations of the family in tow.
The business is today operated by Jerry and Lova Ebbert and their three sons.
When asked for her recommendations when it comes to choosing which apple variety to select for use, the foremost consideration is finding out how the customer plans to use the apples and what result they will be expecting.
"Right now the honey crisp apple is in season," she offered. "They are out of this world. One bite into the apple and the juice just starts flowing. They are delicious. Honestly, they don't look very pretty on the outside, but once you try one, it is easy to see why they are so popular."
The honey crisp variety can be a little more pricy than some others, but are often rather large which gives customers a nice amount of the fruit to enjoy.
"Because they are larger and can cost a little more than some other varieties, I do tell adults they might enjoy reserving this variety for their enjoyment, as they are often too much apple for a youngster to finish alone, simply because they are often rather large," she shared.
She also cautioned they are not available for sale too much longer this fall, nor should they be purchased in large quantity-particularly if it will be a long wait until they will be eaten.
But as a general rule, this variety of apple seldom sits around very long before someone decides it's time to enjoy a sweet treat that also happens to be as good for you as it is tasty.
Not sure you would consider an apple a true treat for your pallet? Ebbert is not at all surprised to see a customer who gives the apple a first bite while driving down the market building's driveway to National Road. Sometimes they don't make it off the property before returning to the building to purchase a larger quantity of the delicious apple.