Fresh, local apples have a crunch that can't be beat! Nearly 30 Minnesota apple varieties have been developed to be perfectly suited for our climate. One of those varieties, Honeycrisp, is even our state fruit! A local, Minnesota Grown apple will provide peak flavor and the perfect texture. Nothing says fall like a hot apple pie, a fresh honeycrisp, or a day spent at a beautiful Minnesota orchard. A trip to your local apple orchard this fall is a must! Read on to learn about nutrition, cooking tips, storing instructions, family activity ideas and more!
Find a local apple orchard near you with our online directory!
University of Minnesota researchers have been breeding apples for almost a century. There are currently 24 University of Minnesota varieties being sold. The Horticultural Research Center (located ½ mile from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum) was established in 1908 as the University’s Fruit Breeding Farm to develop apple varieties that would thrive in Minnesota. For more information about different varieties, visit the University of Minnesota Apples website here!
Or check out the Minnesota Apple Growers Association for membership information and variety harvest dates!
Reasons to Visit a Minnesota Apple Orchard
- Many Minnesota orchards also offer hay rides, corn mazes and other fun fall activities for families.
- An apple orchard makes for a great family trip and it isn't far from home!
- You are buying the freshest, locally grown apples around! Many Minnesota orchards also have apple baked goods that you can take home with you.
- Minnesota apples are healthy for the entire family! They help protect bone health and lower LDL cholesterol.
Picking & Storage Tips
- If you decide to pick your own apples, remember that color doesn't determine how ripe an apple is. Pick firm, crisp apples by lifting up and twisting the fruit. Keeping the stem attached to any picked fruit will help keep it fresh and increase it's storage life.
- Between August and mid-October, apples are at their peak. If you're not planning to eat them immediately, store them in a cool, dark place.
- Apples love cold temperatures and high humidity.
- Store your Minnesota apples in the crisper of your refrigerator in the plastic bag that they came in. To keep them moist, place a damp wash cloth or damp towel in the bag once a week.
- This fruit's flesh darkens quickly when they are exposed to air. You can keep them looking fresh for cooking or preserving by dipping them in a lemon juice solution — mix three tablespoons of bottled lemon juice with one quart of water.
- When freezing, pick apples that have crisp and firm textures, and use varieties that are good for making pies and sauces. Frozen apples keep better texture and flavor if they are packed in sugar or sugar syrup. However, you can freeze unsweetened apple slices if you are going to cook or bake them in pies or cobblers. Freeze slices on a cookie sheet and when they are completely frozen, remove the slices and pack them in freezer containers.
- The best varieties for making dried apple rings, wedges, and chips are firm-textured and tart.
- One medium apple equals one serving of fruit.
- These fruits are an excellent source of fiber. One medium apple with the skin on provides 5 grams of fiber. Fiber and pectin help reduce cholesterol, aid in digestion, and may help prevent certain types of cancer.
- An apple contains about 90 calories, and small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Vitamin C keeps gums, skin and blood vessels healthy and helps in wound healing. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and may protect against cancer.
- Apples are thirst quenching because they contain about 85% water. They are a perfect snack food because their natural sugars provide quick energy, while the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.
- Apple skins are especially rich in antioxidants that may prevent chronic disease.
- Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers blood pressure and maintains the health of the digestive system.
- They are also full of boron, a nutrient that supports strong bones and a healthy brain. Vitamins C, E, and A are also found abundantly within the fruit, boosting immunity and reducing the risk for heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
It also comes as no surprise then that apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. Minnesota has no shortage of the popular fruit, and this year the apples are looking bigger and better than ever!