If there was ever an iconic symbol of autumn, it’d have to be an apple. Although they’re always in season, now is the time to find unique heirloom varieties at farmers’ markets as well as more traditional varieties at their freshest. No matter what variety you buy, choose apples that are firm, fragrant and free of soft spots, bruises, nicks and insect damage. To extend apples’ shelf life, keep them cool after buying, preferably in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Stored this way, they can last several weeks. Whatever you do, never store apples and potatoes together: as potatoes age then release ethylene, a gas that makes apples spoil faster.
Of course, apples are wonderful eaten out of hand, but they’re also delicious in salads,sandwiches and even chicken spread for crackers! They shine in desserts, too, like strudel and napoleons, and you’ll love the sweet-tart dimension they add to savory dishes like pork chops and stuffing.