Friday, August 31, 2012

An Apple A Day

August is the time to get apples from the farmsor in my case, my yard.  I was lucky to buy a home with fully mature apple trees on the property.  In fact, I have several different varieties available and ready for the picking.  I’m not even certain of all the types of apples I am growing, but I can tell you that here in Seattle, “It is a great year for apples."   
nutritional benefits apples
Healthy and sweet there are many types of apples!
I have lived in this house for 4 years, and this year's harvest is the biggest yet. That could mean lower prices for apples at the store.  But if low prices don't make your mouth water for this tasty fruit, then knowing the nutritional benefits will.  So take advantage of our bountiful harvest and, hopefully, great prices.

A Tempting Fruit

First things first… how many calories are in an apple?  A medium apple has about 95 calories and counts as one cup of fruit.

What about the health benefits of apples… Is it true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Here are a few of the nutrition facts:
  • Vitamin C – one of the benefits of apples is immune boosting Vitamin C.  Apples provide about 14% of the daily recommended value.  
  • Pectin – a fiber that helps lower blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Boron -- a nutrient that supports strong bones and a healthy brain.
  • Quercetin--  a powerful antioxidant with anti-histamine effects. This may be a great way  to curb allergy symptoms. Or at least keep those sneezes to a minimum. I don’t think it is an accident that apples come into season at the same time as allergies. 
  • Phytonutrients plant chemicals that help prevent disease. Apples are full of them. They include vitamins A,  E, and beta carotene. They may have an effect on overall health and may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
Just think… all these benefits in one little fruit.  The fiber content, health benefits and how satisfying an apple is make it a great snack.  I’d say these 95 calories are well worth it. Whether you're trying to lose weight or just stay fit, apples are truly a great choice. 

As fresh fruits go, those are some impressive apple nutrition facts!  I think it's safe to say that  an apple a day might just keep the doctor away.

Oh the Variety

It turns out there are about 7,500 varieties of apples. That's a lot of choice! You're bound to find at least one that will satisfy your tastes. Here is a list of just a few of the top favorites, just in case there is one you haven’t tried yet. These varieties are grown here in Washington state. Since we are known for our apples, I thought this would be a good place to start: 
  • Jonathan - sweet and juicy with a tang
  • Gala - sweet and crunchy
  • Fuji - mildly sweet, juicy and crisp
  • Braeburn - firm texture, sweet with a hint of tart
  • Granny Smith - firm and smooth with a tart flavor
  • Red and Golden Delicious - firm and crisp can be very sweet or mildly sweet, depending on the climate where they are grown
  • Honey Crisp - very crispy and juicy, flavor ranges from mildly sweet to very sweet
  • Cameo - a crisp crunch with a deep juicy flavor
  • Cripps Pink - firm and crisp, they have a tangy-tart sweet flavor
apple pie apple crisp
Easy does it with this easy apple dessert.
One of the things I love best about apples is the many tasty apple dessert recipes. From apple pie to apple crisp or plain sliced apples with caramel dip, they're all delicious. But let’s not forget apple cider, a real favorite up here in the Northwest! 

Juicing apples is a great way to get the most from all the nutrients available in this family favorite. Since finding easy apple dessert recipes is well, easy, I thought I would include a juice recipe that my husband and grandson really love! So pull out that juicer you bought but never use, because this is one you'll want to make for yourself!
Yummier Than it Sounds Apple Juice Favorite
5 small to medium apples
3 stalks of celery
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 small beet
½-1 cup purified water

Drink slowly and truly ENJOY! Have a fabulously clear headed and healthy day! 

Contributing Writer

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