An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Isn’t it about time I wrote about a fruit? Fall is apple season so let’s celebrate!
Out of the 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., 100 are grown commercially.
If all you have ever tasted is the variety called Red Delicious, Honey, it’s time to branch
out! Depending on the area of the country in which you live, there could be more than
20 varieties of apples available every month August through November. Try them all!
It’s okay to buy just one of each and take them home and have a taste test. The colors
range from red to green. The flavors range from tart to super-sweet, and the texture can be crisp or crunchy.
Baking or Eating
I’ve always heard some apples are better for baking than others. It's true, some varieties will practically melt when cooked and others stay firm. I just buy the ones I like the best and do whatever I want with them. Here are some of the most widely available apples and their characteristics.
Large to extra-large, Red, yellow and green skin, crisp to crunchy texture and super sweet and juicy. These are prized for their flavor and texture. Although not technically as much sugar as Gala, the juiciness and texture make up for it. My personal favorite.
Medium-large size, pale yellow or yellow-green skin, mild and sweet flavor.
Medium size, yellowish-green with red stripes, crisp and juicy, balanced sweet-tart flavor with notes of honey and citrus.
Mostly grown commercially for size, color and shape. Flavor is often mealy and mushy. At their peak, mild, sweet taste with a slightly crisp texture. Good luck finding one at its peak.
A better version of Red Delicious, Empire is a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious. It is medium-sized, red-on-yellow skinned, crisp, juicy, sweet and spicy.
Medium size, red-on-green skin, sweet, crisp and juicy.
Smallish size, crisp, red and yellow striped skin, aromatically-sweet; more sweet than Red Delicious.
Medium to large size, Red and green skin, crunchy, super-sweet; more sweet than Gala and stores well. My second favorite.
Medium-size, reddish pink skin, crisp, and sweet-tart. Pink Lady has a slightly astringent flavor that makes your mouth pucker like Granny Smith but it is sweeter. May also be marketed as Crisps Pink.
Medium to large, bright green skin, crunchy, tart; perfect for blood sugar control. My go-to apple in off season because organic is always available and they are crunchy.
Medium-large, sweet-tart flavor, short storage so eat fresh and get them in season fall to early spring.
Medium-large, red with green striped skin, crisp, juicy and sweetly tart.
Theyummylife.com offers two great apple variety charts at this address.
One medium-size raw apple with skin has 95 calories, 25g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, and .5g protein. Just looking at the minerals, macro and micronutrients, apples aren’t that impressive. But look closer.
Phytonutrient is a big word that means all the benefits to the human body a plant contains. It is not just vitamins and minerals. Apples contain:
Polyphenols-serve as antioxidants which have been shown to lessen the absorption of glucose from the GI tract, they increase sensitivity of cells to take up insulin which reduces insulin resistance. Antioxidants are also beneficial for cardiovascular health. Apple antioxidants have also been shown to lower the risk of asthma and lung cancer.
Flavonoids-quercetin mainly, helps limit the amount complex carbs in apples that are broken down into simple sugars, in turn limiting blood sugar spikes.
Fiber-although 4g of fiber may not seem like a lot, the type of fiber in apples combines with other apple nutrients to reduce blood fats. Lowering blood lipids or fats is why apples are so good for prevention of heart disease.
Prebiotic-two beneficial bacteria in the large intestines are fed with apple fiber. Health benefits resulting from these bacteria include improved metabolism in the colon.
Apples have been studied extensively for their nutritional value. Research shows that eating the whole apple provides more benefits than taking supplements of any of the individual nutrients alone.
Buying, Eating and Storing
Did you know that apples bought in June were probably picked the previous October? Apple season in the U.S. is August-November. Apples are picked before they are ripe and stored in low oxygen chambers until shipped. Also, China is the world’s largest apple producer.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of most contaminated foods. Consumers demand a flawless apple and it takes tons of pesticides to give them that. Notice the difference in the appearance of organic apples and conventional apples the next time you shop. Organic apples are smaller and less “perfect” looking than conventional ones. They may look less than perfect but they are perfectly nutritious and portioned perfectly for our bodies. Always buy organic or locally grown apples.
Make apples stay fresh longer by refrigerating them loose in the crisper. Take them out of any type bag and just let them hang out. Debbie Meyer Green Bags help absorb some of the organic ethylene gas they give off which speeds up ripening. I don't use the bags to hold the apples I just put them in the crisper empty and leave the apples loose.
Please eat a whole apple everyday, at least August through November. As a treat for eating one whole, have a bite of one of these yummy apple desserts too.
All the best,
Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst or righteousness, for they will be filled.
Makes 9 servings
Choose a tart variety of apple, such as Pippin or Granny Smith, for an especially tasty dessert. For a special treat, top it
with vanilla non-dairy "ice cream".
4 green apples, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Slice apples thinly and spread in a 9"x9" baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine oats, walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Stir to mix, then spread evenly over apples.
Bake until apples are tender when pierced with a knife, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Per serving (1/9 of crisp)
Calories: 182, Fat: 7.3 g, Saturated Fat: 0.8 g,
Calories from Fat: 36.2%, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Protein: 3.8 g, Carbohydrates: 27.6 g, Sugar: 14.9 g, Fiber: 2.9 g, Sodium: 70 mg, Calcium: 33 mg, Iron: 1.1mg, Vitamin C: 3.7 mg, Beta Carotene: 11 mpg, Vitamin E: 0.2 mg,
Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Amy Lanou, Ph.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.
Apple Cinnamon Oat Squares
2 cups unsweetened almondmilk*
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats*
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (not whole flax seeds)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 (about 1 pound) Pink Lady apples, cored and grated
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer to a foil- or parchment paper lined 9-inch square baking pan, press down and smooth out the top and bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan; cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving (1 square): 140 calories (50 from fat), 6g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 3g protein.