We may still be in for a few more weeks of warm weather, but Apples in all their delicious varieties are beginning to come back to the markets again.

 

It has been a couple of months now that I have not been able to consistently find the organic apples that I usually buy throughout the rest of the year, but this last week I noticed that there were several varieties available in the grocery produce department once more.

Apples, which originally came from Eastern Europe and Southwestern Asia, have spread to most regions of the world that have a temperate growing season.

apple-484529_640The Apple Tree is part of the Rose family, and there are many hybrids and cultivars that have been developed over the centuries, giving us the approximately 7,000 varieties that are available today.

Apples are an incredibly healthy food that contains large amounts of Vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that work in our cells to decrease oxidation, which in turn helps our bodies to fight off disease.

Polyphenols and Vitamin C are concentrated immediately below the skin of the fruit, so while the whole apple is packed with healthy nutrients peeling the apple and throwing away the skin is also throwing away a large portion of its benefits.

Apples can aide in controlling diabetes. For example; studies have been done that have shown that eating the whole apple helps to regulate blood sugars by slowing down the rate of carbohydrate digestion. It also reduces glucose absorption while stimulating the pancreas to put out more insulin. This can help our bodies to clear more sugar out of our blood and keep our blood sugar levels in better balance.

In the studies they also found that when compared to a peel free intake of apple juice or applesauce, people who ate the whole apple reported less hunger while the overall calorie intake during the meal was reduced.

The insoluble fiber in an apple holds water which helps to clean, and move food through the digestive system more quickly and efficiently.

Scientists are finding that there are important health benefits from eating apples.

Studies have revealed that an increased intake of apples significantly altered the level of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine of study participants. This is very important as the increase in beneficial bacteria will result in the multiple benefits of having a healthier gut.

In addition to this benefit the soluble fiber in the apple also helps to prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the lining of the blood vessels. This works to prevent the onset of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

apple-661726_640Eating apples has also been shown to reduce the risk of asthma, and they are one of the best fruits for helping to prevent cancer growth, particularly colon, breast and lung cancer.

Unfortunately apples are among the fruits with the highest overall concentration of pesticide residue left on its skin so you will either need to wash them very well, a quick rinse is not sufficient, or consider buying certified organic apples instead. Otherwise, the added risk of the pesticides on your apple may cancel out some of the benefits that you are gaining by eating the apple in the first place.

There are many varieties of apples grown throughout the world, but some of the more commonly known are:

Red Delicious, which has a crunchy texture and is primarily used for eating out of hand and for salads.

Golden Delicious, which has a mild flavor and tender skin and flesh. Most people will eat this apple fresh or in apple sauce.

Gala, has a crisp texture and sweet flavor which is very appealing when eaten fresh, but which also makes excellent apple sauce, pies and other baked apple products.

Pink Lady, apples remind me of the Gala apple and are a good substitute when I can’t get the other.

Fuji, is crunchy and super sweet. It is a good apple for eating fresh or in salads, and is excellent for apple sauce, as well as for baking, and can also be frozen for future use.

Granny Smith, has a tart flavor that is perfect for pies and apple sauce. It may be eaten fresh or in salads, and it freezes well for future use.

Honeycrisp, apples are crisp and juicy with a moderately sweet flavor with just a hint of tartness. It is an excellent apple for baking or eating fresh and while it can be frozen it does not freeze quite as well as some other varieties.

Yellow Transparent, was a favorite tart apple of my growing up years. They are a bit more tart than a Granny Smith, and they are more yellow than green in their appearance. They made wonderful pies and apple sauce, and freeze well, but are very hard to find where I live now.

There are so many ways to eat apples, but some of my favorites include slicing an apple and dipping it in peanut butter, or yogurt. Baked apples, apple pie, sliced apples cooked in a cinnamon glaze poured over vanilla ice cream, and fresh apple cider to name just a few.

 

I love everything to do with apples, and can’t wait for autumn!

cake-597175_640

           My Favorite Apple Pie

 

4 to 6 Yellow Transparent, or Granny Smith Apples                                   

Core and thinly slice, but do not peel the apples

¼ Cup Flour                                                                                                                                                                          

 1/3 Cup Sugar                                                                                                           

½ tsp Cinnamon                                                                                                  

¼ tsp Nutmeg                       

Layer the sliced apples in a large bowl    

Sprinkle with the flour and sugar mixture

Gently fold ingredients together until apples are coated

Allow to rest while preparing the pie crust

                                           

Put crust into pie tin and layer apple filing in until it is level with the top of the crust. Top the filing with strips of crust. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and bake for 10 mins. Lower heat to 350 and continue to bake for 30 to 40 mins or until the crust is golden.

 

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Resources

http://www.livescience.com/44686-apple-nutrition-facts.html

http://bestapples.com/varieties-information/varieties/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=15

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple

 

About Denise Mastrocola
Denise is a Michigander turned Pennsylvanian, who has been writing stories since Elementary School. Denise won an award at the annual Lansing Youth Talent Show, when she was in 10th grade, for a short story entitled Procrastination is Fatal, but didn’t decide on writing as a career until she was 28 years old. While homeschooling her older children she spent 4 years working through a course from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Through the years Denise’s children have had a variety of health issues, many of which have been linked to various sensitives; having spent more than 20 years researching and trying different things Denise has a boots on the ground view on healthier living. Denise currently writes for 2 blogs and has several books in different stages of completion. She is planning to break ground in e publishing, and hopes to have her first Historical Fantasy book which is set during the renaissance, “Lisa, My Lisa?” ready by the first of the year.

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