While there is really no guarantee that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, we know that including them in our diet along with a variety of other fruits and vegetables, certainly can have some health benefits.
Apples are a very nutritious type of fruit. They have the benefit of containing two types of fibre: insoluble fibre, known for promoting bowel regularity and soluble fibre, which can help to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugars. Apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals but antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids top the list. Antioxidants help to keep you healthy and may also help prevent some chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and protect against certain types of cancer.
There are so many varieties of apples available today in Ontario. The different textures and flavours make some better for eating (Ambrosia, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp and Red Delicious) and some preferred for baking (Northern Spy). There are several types of apples that can be enjoyed either way (Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Crispin, Idared and Spartan). Everyone seems to have their favorites, but I have to admit that mine is still McIntosh!
When selecting apples, choose those that are firm, without bruising or wrinkled skin. To maximize freshness, apples should be kept cold. It is recommended that they be stored in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper of the fridge, separate from other fruits and vegetables or in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place such as a garage or fruit cellar. Apples should keep for about 6 weeks if properly stored. To keep fresh, sliced apples from turning brown, sprinkle them with lemon juice.
Apples are a fruit that can be used in so many ways:
On it’s own, as a snack
Cut into slices and dipped in your favourite nut butter
Baked in the oven with cinnamon and brown sugar
To make applesauce
For breakfast, Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
For dessert, Apple Crisp
In an entree, such as this recipe for Sheet Pan Maple Dijon Apples and Pork
In a salad, like this Apple Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
If you are looking for something fun to do with your family this Fall season, plan a trip to your local apple orchard. There’s something special about picking those perfect apples to bring home and enjoy as a snack or baked in an apple crisp or pie. Click here for the link to local apple picking orchards.
If you want to practice eating mindfully, an apple is a great place to start. Mindful eating involves using all of your senses to explore, savour and taste the food you are eating. So grab an apple and observe its round shape and the contrast of the bright red skin against the pure white flesh when you bite into it. Listen to the loud crunch and feel the burst of juices in your mouth. This is a moment to be savoured. As you chew the apple, think about the different combination of textures in your mouth, the chewy skin mixing with the soft flesh. And finally, the taste! For me it's the combination of sweet and sour that makes it so delicious. No wonder apples are such a popular fruit, especially this time of year!
Eat Well, Live Well
Sources: Foodland Ontario, Ontario Apple Growers