Try Lesser-Known Apples For A Nutritious Change Of Taste
Copyright 1994 Tribune Media Services
By Judy Fitzgibbons, R.D.
The grocery store produce section provides another reminder that most of the U.S. is
in for a change of season. As the bins of summer plums, peaches and nectarines
diminish, the space devoted to apples will expand. According to the International
Apple Institute, Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh and Rome apples
remain our favorites. However, American apple producers are harvesting several new
varieties we're likely to find in grocery stores.
For a change of pace, look for Empire, Fuji, Gala and Jonagold apples. The first three
should be available at least through December, while the Jonagold has a relatively short
season from mid-September through October. All are recommended for eating fresh as
snacks and in salads. The American Apple Institute lists the Fuji as an "all purpose"
apple, meaning it is good for eating raw as well as cooked, and Jonagolds are good for
Whether or not you find these new apples this season may depend somewhat upon
how close you are to the primary growing areas. Empire apples, a dark red cross between
McIntosh and Red Delicious, are being grown primarily in the East and Upper Midwest.
They're described as crisp, juicy and mildly tart. California and Washington are the
primary production sites for Fuji apples. Originally produced in Japan, these
greenish-yellow apples with a red blush are crisp, juicy and sweet. Gala apples are sweet,
orange-yellow colored and available nationally. Despite their short season, Jonagolds
should also be available in most markets. Look for their bright red over gold color and
expect a sweet, tangy, juicy apple.
The nutrient values of apples are similar across varieties. You should be able to find
nutrition information about apples, along with the other 19 most popular fruits and 20
most popular vegetables, in the produce section. Making the nutrient values available
is part of the new food labeling regulations. Stores may provide the information in a
variety of formats. You may find a poster or brochures listing the nutrient values. The
information may be printed on the produce bags or on individual tags with each bin of
The standard values on the charts are a result of a cooperative effort between the
Produce Marketing Association and the Food and Drug Administration. As you use the
information, keep in mind that the numbers are averages and not precise for the piece
of fruit you take home.
The nutrient values listed for apples are based upon a medium apple which weighs a
little over 5 ounces (3 apples to the pound). Whether you buy Empire, Fuji, Gala or
Jonagold, an apple this size provides about 80 calories and a very respectable five grams
of dietary fiber, as long as you eat the peel. Pare the apple and dietary fiber drops to
about 3.5 grams. Current nutritional guidelines recommend we consume 25 to 30 grams
of dietary fiber daily. Two medium, unpared apples provide about half that amount.
If you're counting calories or following an exchange plan to control blood sugar, pay
attention to the size of apples you purchase. The "typical" apple in the grocery store
bulk bin is often larger than those listed in exchange lists for diabetic meal plans or
calorie-counting guides. In the bins, apples often weigh 8 ounces, providing close to 120
calories each. If you eat two of these larger apples and count them as only a total of 120
calories (2 fruit exchanges), you've underestimated your energy intake by over 100
calories. Apples that weigh 3 to 4 ounces (4 per pound) fit the 60-calorie apples in
exchange lists. You'll often find these smaller apples in the five-pound bags.
Despite the folklore surrounding apples' nutritional value, they're not perfect.
Apples contain only a small amount of vitamin C and virtually no vitamin A, two
nutrients we depend on fruits and vegetables to provide. On the positive side, apples
are virtually fat-free, provide modest amounts of potassium, and add to our fiber intake.
Together, these nutritional traits earn apples 4 stars in the ratings.
Fitzgibbons' Nutrition Rating: 4 stars
Empire, Fuji, Gala, Jonagold (and others)
Per 1 medium apple, with peel (5 ounces or 3 per pound)
Fat: Less than 1 gram
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 0 milligrams
Dietary Fiber: 5 grams
Potassium: 160 milligrams
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/4 fruit
FITZGIBBONS' NUTRITION RATING
5 stars -- Use with confidence on a low-fat, low cholesterol and/or low sodium diet.
4 stars -- Use with some considerations such as the amount of sodium, kind of fat or
the implied nutrition claims on packaging.
3 stars -- Use in moderation.
2 stars -- Use only occasionally, if at all.
0 to 1 star -- Best left on grocer's shelf.