Gardening and Living in Grand Style
An apple a day ... can be quite tasty!
by Michael Johnson
Utah State University Extension Agent, Grand County
Nov 07, 2013 | 1786 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Food – got to have it and let it taste good! Along with air and water, food is essential for our health and well-being. While the early spring frosts meant it wasn’t a great fruit year in our area, I was able to buy some delicious apples from one of our local growers and thought fruit would be a good start in discussing issues with the foods we eat.

The greatest value with fruits are the vitamins, minerals, and low-fat content, which is why it’s recommended we all eat two to three servings of fruit a day. After all, remember the saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

There is no better way to enjoy fruit than to grow it yourself. However, even if you have the land, time and money to do so, we know that some years you get fruit and some years there is little or none. But that shouldn’t stop you from eating fruits such as apples, so here are a few tips concerning what to look for in an apple or other fruit:

Buying fruit

The first consideration when buying any fruit is to only buy what you need and can use in a reasonable amount of time before it spoils. If you do buy more than you need then learn how best to keep it. For instance, did you know that it’s best to refrigerate apples to prevent loss of crispness and flavor? Also, it’s ideal to buy fruit when in season because you’ll typically get higher quality fruit and better prices.

When deciding which of a particular fruit to buy, look the fruit over. Check for damage or deterioration to the skin of the fruit. If damage is present it can lead to a rapid decline in quality.

Appearance isn’t everything

While it’s known that the American consumer likes a good-looking fruit, those fruits that are home-grown often don’t look so great – but they still are delicious.

Also, just because the fruit looks good doesn’t mean it will meet your taste requirements since different varieties of the same fruit, like apples, have different flavors and might or might not appeal to you. For instance, aromatic apples include Red Delicious and McIntosh, and sweet apples include Gala, Golden Delicious and Rome. Sweet but tart apples include Empire, Honeycrisp and Jonagold, and we all know Granny Smith as the tart apple. So even though these apples are enjoyed by people all over the U.S., each of us individually might prefer one variety’s flavor over others.

Don’t forget to wash fruit

When you bring your fruit home remember that it was handled during shipping and more than once in the stores so don’t forget to wash them. While there are products you can buy to wash your fruit, research shows they are not more effective than using cold water and a vegetable/fruit brush for fruit with a firmer skin. So rinse everything off to remove dirt and surface bacteria, and for harder skinned fruits and vegetables feel free to use an appropriate brush. Even bananas, cantaloupes and melons should be washed off before peeling or cutting into the fruit.

Health and well-being is a topic area we all have interest in and my hope is that, with the help of some fellow agents and a nutrition specialist from campus, we will be able to provide more information, articles and classes in the future. I also assist homeowners and farmers in finding the information to help them grow the best fruits and vegetables they can.

Thought for the day: “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”

—Samuel Butler

Have an idea you’d like Mike to consider writing about? Want more information about these topics? Call the Utah State University Extension Grand County office at 435-259-7558 or email Mike Johnson at

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