Apples: the super fruit
Have you ever noticed how our bodies start craving foods as they come into season? I have been craving apples. Maybe it’s because we have a small orchard with eight apple trees and I am seeing them fall to the ground, ripe and ready to eat. Or maybe it’s because my body is craving the nutrients that apples provide.
Most people probably know that apples are abundant in fiber and vitamin C, helping to ward off the common cold this time of year. But there have been many recent studies that show apples are also good for protection against stroke, heart disease and cancer. One Dutch study found that eating fruit with white color flesh may protect against stroke. Another by Bahram Arjmandi, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at Florida State University, found that “Apples have a profound effect on total cholesterol, and also on the “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol. They caused a major reduction in inflammatory proteins that are implicated in a number of serious diseases.” Then there are the studies about cancer prevention: A 2001 Mayo Clinic study indicated that quercetin, a flavonoid abundant in apples, helps prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells. A Cornell University study indicated phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43 percent. The National Cancer Institute has reported that foods containing flavonoids like those found in apples may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50 percent.
In addition to all that good nutrition, they taste great, don’t you think? My current favorite is the Pink Lady: tart and sweet at the same time and very crunchy. As I said, we grow a lot of apples. All of the trees are different varieties and thankfully do not all ripen at the same time. We have a few tart varieties that are perfect for apple pies (my husband’s favorite) and other sweeter ones that are better for eating or making apple sauce. When picking apples at the store, it is well worth the extra money for organic as apples are at the top of the Dirty Dozen list for pesticide use. If you must buy non-organic, wash them thoroughly and avoid the top part by the stem in particular where the pesticides tend to accumulate.
Here is an easy recipe for home-made apple sauce adapted from Simply Recipes. Home-made is so much tastier than store bought and really easy. I recommend using a combination of sweet apples so that you don’t need to use much sugar. Or alternatively, you could sweeten with any number of natural sweeteners instead. Taste as you go, you may not need any sweetener at all!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
The sugar amounts are just guidelines, depending your taste, and on the sweetness of your apples, use less or more. If you use less sugar, you’ll likely want to use less lemon juice. The lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.
- 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
- 4 strips of lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths
- Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
- 3 inches of cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (or natural alternative)
- up to 1/4 cup of white sugar (or natural alternative)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
2. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher.
Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer.
To your health,
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach