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An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • How to Choose Apples
    Look for apples that are firm, brightly colored, and free of bruises—which usually mean mealy, flavorless flesh underneath—and punctures, which speed decay. While shine isn’t the best indicator of ripeness (many supermarket apples are waxed), the apple should look vibrant in color. Flick an apple near its stem to check for freshness: If the sound is hollow, the apple is a bit too ripe. Listen for a dull thud, which means you’ve found perfectly ripe fruit. Then smell: The fresher the apple, the stronger its sweet aroma.

  • How to Store Apples
    Apples do best in the fruit drawer of the refrigerator, where they keep for up to 3 weeks. At room temperature, they ripen too quickly and become mealy after 2 days. Wash apples when you’re ready to use them.

  • How to Use Apples
    For applesauce, Cortlands and McIntosh work well, as their tender flesh turns to mush when cooked. For pies and cobblers, firm Granny Smiths, Romes, and Golden Delicious take the heat without losing their shape; they and crisp Galas also add delicious crunch to salads and sandwiches. Macouns and tart Jonathans do well in savory cooking with rich meats, like sausages and pork. For more ways to prepare this fall favorite, see below or read on for 24 tasty apple recipes.

    Real Simple Apple Recipes:

    See all Apple recipes »

  • How To: Store Apples

    Learn how to choose and store a perfectly ripe apple.

     

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Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.

   
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  • Arugula
  • Sweet corn
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  • Tomatoes
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