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Snacks of the Season: Apples, Spice & ‘NatureSeal’ Nice

Posted by Ashley Murdie, Research Education & Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Research and Science
Nov 10, 2021
A batch of apples

Red maple leaves, cool brisk breeze, geese flying south and cinnamon spice aroma filling the house…little reminders that we’re in the midst of Fall. But fresh crisp apples may be the best of all.

Thanks to a USDA-developed and patented coating called NatureSeal®, fresh-cut apples can be enjoyed on-the-go without any worry of browning.

Using a blend of vitamin salts and minerals, scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Mantrose-Haeuser, Co., Inc, developed the coating to extend the shelf life of sliced fruits for up to 28 days in refrigeration, without detectable change in color, flavor or texture.

As a result, this technology led to a tremendous increase – millions of pounds worth – in apples used annually, benefiting American farmers and consumers alike. According to the Economic Research Service, apples held the top spot for total fruit available for consumption when adjusted for loss in 2019 with fresh apples at roughly 10 pounds per person, and canned, dried, and frozen apples at 3.3 pounds per person.

U.S. per capita loss-adjusted fruit availability, 2019 chart

In the spirit of Fall, here are two ways to enjoy this snack of the season:

  • Cinnamon & Spice: Mix equal parts sugar and cinnamon with a dash of nutmeg and sprinkle on apple slices for a bitesize flavor of apple pie. Have little helpers in the kitchen? Let them mix everything in a Ziplock bag.
  • Caramel, Apple & Cheese Skewers: Whether you’re looking for an easy snack or an appetizer to impress, these will do the trick. Alternate diced apple slices and your favorite cheese onto skewers. Drizzle with hot caramel sauce and add delicious toppings. Dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, and brie or candied walnuts, pretzel crumbles and Havarti are delicious together.

With so many wonderful apple recipes, it’s hard to choose! What apple recipe is your favorite to dish up?

Category/Topic: Research and Science