Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

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What are the most popular apple varieties in the US?- Tuesday, October 3, 2017

There are more than 100 commercially viable varieties of apples in the US, but here are the 10 most popular.

Red Delicious

Originally known as the Hawkeye, this is the most popular, most maligned, most ironically named of all apple varieties in the US.

Flavor profile: After generations of breeding for longer shelf life and cosmetic stability—call it vanity ripeness—the flavor has largely been cultivated out of the Red Delicious. It now has thick skin, a one-note sweet flavor, and an often crumbly texture.

Where it’s grown: Just about everywhere.

Best enjoyed: Straight out of the silo. Red Delicious apples are not regarded for their use in baking.

McIntosh

This is what you expect to get when you bite into a Red Delicious.

Flavor profile: With a soft skin and softer flesh, the McIntosh strikes a level balance between sweet and acidic.

Where it’s grown: Throughout the northeastern and upper Great Lakes states and eastern Canada.

Best enjoyed: Raw, in fruit salad, or sauced. McIntosh apples typically collapse when baked.

Golden (or Yellow) Delicious

Considered an all-purpose apple, the Golden Delicious—along with Red Delicious (no relation)—is the one most commonly found in 42-pound bags sold for five dollars at the grocery store.

Flavor profile: Mild and sweet, the flesh is juicy, but taste-wise isn’t all that different from the Red Delicious.

Where it’s grown: In most regions of the country.

Best enjoyed: Pick your poison. It works whole, chopped into salad, or baked into desserts.

Gala

This New Zealand breed has gained popularity in the last 15 years. It’s a cross between a Kidd’s Orange Red and a Golden Delicious apple (assuming you’re up on apple husbandry).

Flavor profile: With pinkish-orange striping over a gold base, its skin is thin, concealing a crisp and juicy flesh that’s fragrant and fairly sweet.

Where it’s grown: All but the southernmost points of the lower 48.

Best enjoyed: Raw, juiced, or in salads.

Granny Smith

Neon green and as squat as a five-foot bodybuilder, this is probably the most readily-recognized of all apple varieties.

Flavor profile: If you’re into tartness, this bitter old bird is your go-to. Its crisp, juicy flesh, however, does sweeten with storage.

Where it’s grown: Originally cultivated in Australia, it’s harvested stateside below the Mason-Dixon Line, and is available year-round.

Best enjoyed: Raw, in pies, or in salads where its tartness can be offset. Granny Smiths work especially well with nut butters.

Fuji

The Fuji was created in Japan (where it’s still the most popular variety) and is a cross between two American varieties (Red Delicious and Ralls Genet).

Flavor profile: Dense, crisp and generally regarded the sweetest of all varieties.

Where it’s grown: It wasn’t introduced here until the 1980s, but there are now more Fuji apples produced in all but the northern- and southernmost parts of the US than in Japan.

Best enjoyed: Raw, chopped into salads, or baked into pie.

Braeburn

Apple snobs can’t gush enough about how this variety was discovered—as opposed to bred—in New Zealand. Its probable parents are the Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith.

Flavor profile: Thin-skinned Braeburns boast textbook apple flavor and balance sweet and tart along with faint notes of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Where it’s grown: Just about anywhere on the mainland except the northernmost parts of the Midwest and New England.

Best enjoyed: Raw, but it’s also known to juice very little during baking.

Pink Lady

This brand name for the Cripps Pink variety applies to apples grown under specific license, dictating a rigid sugar-to-acid ratio, among other traits. Those that don’t qualify are sold as Cripps.

Flavor profile: A cross between the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, the Pink Lady is firm and crunchy with a tart flavor that finishes sweetly.

Where it’s grown: In America, it’s primarily grown in Washington and California.

Best enjoyed: Raw, in salads, baked in pies, and sliced onto cheeseboards.

Honeycrisp

The product of efforts to develop cold-weather apples, the honeycrisp is the official state fruit of Minnesota.

Flavor profile: Keeps things simple with a light overall flavor profile that’s more sweet than tart. It’s also juicy and moderately crunchy.

Where it’s grown: The northern Great Lakes and New England. They’re actually better a week or so after removal from cold storage, making the time when you buy them the time that’s best to enjoy them.

Best enjoyed: Hardy and versatile, honeycrisps are up to any task you put them up against

Empire

Introduced in New York in the 1960s, it takes a lot to bruise this cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh varieties despite its thin skin.

Flavor profile: Retaining the sweetness of the Red Delicious and the tartness of the Mac, this is a crisp, juicy everyman’s apple.

Where it’s grown: Mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwestern states.

Best enjoyed: Raw, cooked (it’s better for this than most), chopped into salads, and in lunchboxes.

 

A great time to enjoy autumn’s bounty - Apple Fest- Tuesday, October 11, 2016

With the possible exception of pumpkins, what food says autumn better than apples and cider? Anyone who has spent a sunny but crisp afternoon in an orchard picking red delicious, galas, honey gold, Empires or McIntoshes topped off afterward with a glass of cold cider and some homemade cinnamon apple donuts still hot from the fryer knows that fall is all about apples. You may not get the opportunity to visit a pick-your-own orchard, but not to worry: We offer more varieties of sweet, crisp apples every day at Prisco’s Family Market.

 

 

 

 

Adult Apple Cider

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

8 cups apple cider

Juice of 1 orange

2 tsp. nutmeg

8 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. whole cloves

2 cups bourbon

In a large pot, combine apple cider, orange juice, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the cider. Mix in the bourbon and serve. Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick. Suggestion: you may want to hold off on adding the bourbon and keep the spiced cider refrigerated and serve it to all family members. The grown-ups who wish can simply add ¼ cup of bourbon to their mug to make the drink a bit more festive.

 

Cheese and Cider Fondue

Ingredients

1 cup cider

4 cups grated Gruyère cheese*

1 1⁄2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 t apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. apple schnapps or apple brandy

Put grated cheese and cornstarch in bowl. Toss to coat cheese. Bring cider to a simmer over medium heat. Add cheese a handful at a time, stirring until melted between additions. Continue cooking until fondue just starts to bubble, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vinegar and stir. Take fondue off heat and stir in brandy. Pour into fondue pot and keep warm. Serve with cooked slices of kielbasa or other spicy sausage, bread cubes or crostini, broccoli florets or slices of tart apple. * Note: If Gruyère is a bit out of your budget, you can use a combination of Swiss and sharp cheddar (2 cups each).

Pairing hard cider with cheese & other foods

Camembert and Camembert-style cheeses are outstanding paired with cider, but Cheddar and other English territorial cheeses such as Cheshire and Caerphilly, and semi-hard cheeses like Gruyère, Beaufort and Appenzeller, are all good.

Asian food pairs well with cider, too -- either a more dry cider for sweet dishes or a sweet cider for fiery ones.

In addition, hearty food pairs surprisingly well with hard cider: Try beef or venison chili and barbequed pork...You can also try adding cider directly to your BBQ sauce!

Lastly, hard cider is also delicious with simple desserts, like pound cake or lace cookies.

 

 

SUPERFOODS- Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Salmon

Fortunately, Americans as a whole are becoming more and more health conscious; many of us are taking steps to improve our quality of life wherever possible, and this is especially true when it comes to the kinds of foods we eat.

The ability to be selective has made eating healthier easier for us. The modern grocery store or outdoor market offers at the very least dozens of types of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of protein sources -- more than enough for even the pickiest of palates to find something tasty. We've come so far in sheer variety, in fact, that we can take pickiness to a whole new level and start being selective about which of the already high-quality foods we want to consume...

This brings us to the idea of superfoods, a term used to describe any food with high nutrient or phytochemical content which may confer health benefits. By definition, superfoods are calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients -- nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves.

Here is a list of common superfoods (and -fruits!), courtesy of superfoodsrx.com:

APPLES

Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as good source of fiber, and potassium. There are only 47 calories in an average sized apple. The secret behind the super antioxidant capacity of the apple is its skin. The apple skin alone provides two to six times the antioxidant activity of the apple flesh alone. So it is important to eat the skin to obtain the full health benefits of apples.

AVOCADO

If avocados were only delicious and versatile, they would still be a treat worth serving frequently. Recent research has demonstrated that avocados also offer some surprising and powerful health benefits. One of the most nutrient-dense foods, avocados are high in fiber and, ounce for ounce, top the charts among all fruits for folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium.

GARLIC

It's hard to imagine Italian, French, or Asian cooking without garlic. The big news on garlic isn't its ability to flavor a dish, but rather its considerable role as a health promoter. Indeed, recent findings on the power of garlic to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, give garlic the bona fides to elevate it to superfood status.

SPINACH

Spinach and its green, leafy sidekicks, are among the most nutritious foods on earth. Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Along with wild salmon and blueberries, spinach is an all-star superfood that packs an incredible nutritional wallop. Low in calories and jam-packed with nutrients, spinach should be a regular part of your daily menu.

TURKEY

Highly nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive, versatile, and always available, the turkey has finally come into its own. Skinless turkey breast is one of, if not the leanest meat protein sources on the planet. This alone could make it a superfood: but turkey also offers a rich array of nutrients, particularly niacin, selenium, vitamins B6 and B12, and zinc. These nutrients are heart-healthy and are also valuable in helping to lower the risk for cancer.

WILD SALMON

Salmon is one of the richest, tastiest, readily available sources of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for brain memory and performance, and behavioral function. By including wild salmon in your diet two to four times a week, you should achieve optimal protection against a multitude of diseases that have been associated with low intakes of these critical fats.

Easy Apple Cider- Tuesday, November 10, 2015

One of the best things about Autumn has got to be the seasonal produce; we've got pumpkins, winter squashes, pears, sweet potatoes, and, most prominently, apples. Apples are a clear favorite for many people, and it's not difficult to understand why: They are a remarkably versatile fruit. Apples are not only a wonderful addition to pastries and pies, but they work remarkably well in spicy or savory recipes such as curries and soups, and as a stuffing for pork.

One of the options that tends to get lost among all these other recipes, though, is pressed apples – or apple cider. How many people do you know who make their own seasonal cider? Probably not many, but it is becoming an increasingly common practice these days as folks start to focus more and more on organic foods and beverages.

So, why make cider at home? First of all, apple cider is delicious and easy to produce. Most importantly, however, unlike store-bought ciders, you have full control over what goes into your cider -- from the type of apples (sweet, tart, mild) to the secondary ingredients, if any.

Making cider at home can be a fun project for families as well, and it's a good excuse to get together. Why not take a couple hours out of your weekend to prepare some cider with your kids? Here is a relatively simple recipe to get you started:

Basic Apple Cider

[courtesy of imbibemagazine.com]

Ingredients

4 pounds of apples (makes one liter)

Tools

Apple corer

Sharp knife

Blender or food processor

Cheesecloth

Saucepan

Thermometer

1-liter glass jar with lid

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly wash apples. Core and cut into wedges, discarding any rotten or damaged parts.

  2. Puree apples in batches until they resemble a fine pulp. Let crushed fruit rest together for 30 minutes.

  3. Place pulp in a triple layer of cheesecloth and twist, squeezing the juice into a saucepan. Continue to squeeze and twist until all the juice is extracted.

  4. Pasteurize by briefly heating to 160 degrees. Be sure not to over-cook—you don’t want to melt away any of that fresh-pressed flavor.

  5. Return cider to a clean glass jar and cover. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve hot or cold. Makes about one liter of cider.

Interested moving beyond family-friendly cider? Homemade hard cider is also an option. Once you have prepared your basic cider as described above, you can use it to create your own alcoholic version. Depending on the amount of time you want to invest, you can control everything from the flavor to the amount of fizz your cider has.  Here are instructions for a novice brewer: http://www.howtomakehardcider.com/

 

The great fall harvest- Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This week at Prisco’s we are celebrating the Great Fall Harvest. Just head west of our store a few miles and once you cross Orchard Ave. the city melts away and is replaced by beautiful, open fields where local farmers are busy taking in their crops of corn and soy beans. Weather conditions this spring and summer made this one of the best crops we have seen in many years, and whenever we traveled along Prairie Street heading toward Sugar Grove this summer we were struck with a sense of awe at the tall, healthy crops on either side of the road.

When we think of fall, besides the beautiful changing of the leaves, the thought that next comes to mind are the fresh apples waiting to be picked and enjoyed. This is a great time to visit our store if you are an apple lover because we are featuring five of our most popular varieties of apples, all at a common and very affordable price of 99₵ lb.

Sure, they make great lunch box add-ins and after school snacks eaten raw, but we don’t want to forget some of the most loved foods that can be had using apples for cooking.

 

 

Fresh home made applesauce
Sure, you can buy applesauce in a jar and we sell lots every week at our store, but does anything in a jar come close to the taste of your own homemade apple sauce? Don’t fret, it’s a very simple recipe the kids or grandkids would love to help make. (A sure fire way to get them to eat it as well.)

Another apple favorite that is most definitely considered a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food has to be German Apple Pancakes. Once you start making this recipe in any kitchen the whole house smells of sweet cinnamon and sugar and you are guaranteed to get a long list of volunteers to help get breakfast cooked and on the table.

Of course, we would not be doing justice to fall harvest celebrations if we didn’t mention the one food that is synonymous with homemade American baking… Apple Pie

 

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