There’s a chill in the evening air and while everyone else is excited for pumpkin spice everything, our house is about all things apple. "Mom, you know apples are vegetables right?" asked my son during snack time the other day.  When questioned about his statement, he replied "because they are healthy for you."

Incorrect Terminology aside, this mom is just glad that her 4-year-old prefers apples over fruit snacks.  Here are a few other apple facts to munch on.

1) For the Health of It - The perfect snack, apples have many health benefits.  A medium apple counts as one serving of fruit, contains 4 grams of fiber and has under 100 calories.   Slice one up and snack guilt-free.  

2) A Bite out of the Big Apple - The fastest way to connect kids to the garden is to spend a crisp fall morning picking apples in a local orchard. Something about plucking a ripe, red apple from a tree, taking a bite and knowing that fresh apples just taste better!  Our picks for fresh-eating include Gala, Honeycrisp, State Fair, Jonafree, Jonamac, and Liberty.

3) Pie and Sauce and Crisp, Oh My - Some types of apple are better suited for baking or cooking.  Varieties like Jonamac, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Haralred and Fireside are perfect for homemade apple crisp or old fashioned apple pie.  Hint: Mix two different types of apples for more flavorful results.

4) Pick A Peck - Choosing the right apple might be a little overwhelming.  Read the variety descriptions in-store or online to find each varieties best use.  Seconds, or apples with small imperfections are still good to eat, perfect for backing or making sauce and often cheaper than their picture perfect counterparts.

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5) And Put it away - It's difficult to get truly fresh fruit year round but many apples picked in the fall will store for quite some time.  Get them to last longer by avoiding bruising and purchasing tart and thick-skinned varieties like Jonathan, Honeygold, Suncrisp, or Enterprise.  All will keep for weeks or even months in the refrigerator.

The apples in our orchard are ripening by the minute and we are picking more everyday.  The crisp, juicy taste of a fresh picked apple is hard to beat.  Now, if only I could really consider it ‘eating my vegetables.’