Thursday, October 13, 2011

All About Apples

Can you imagine?  I don't like apple pie.  It's almost un-American, but I can't help it.  I like fresh apples and applesauce and apple cider, but not the pie, nor apple strudel for that matter.  And my mother makes a scrumptious apple strudel (I hear).  Sometimes she makes a cherry, peach, or blueberry strudel, which I love.  Ditto for other fruit pies and cobblers.  There's just something about the texture and flavor of baked apples I don't like.  Go figure my taste buds.

Pie aside ... apples make healthy snacks.  They contain flavonoids, which help the body kill germs more efficiently.  Apples are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber.  Studies suggest they prevent dementia, lower cholesterol and reduce your risks for lung, colon and prostate cancers.  Due to their bulk and high fiber content, apples can help people lose weight too.

Fun facts* include: People have been eating Apples since 6500 B.C.  They are a member of the rose family.  An average apple is about 80 calories and has 5 grams of fiber.  They grow in all 50 states, and there are 7,500 varieties grown throughout the world.  Apples have no fat, sodium or cholesterol.  After the orange, the apple is the most valuable fruit gown in the United States.  The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Virginia.  To learn more about apples click here.

There are many delectable varieties of apples to eat.  I usually buy 3-pound bags of small McIntosh apples.  The small ones are crisp, sweet and tangy.  An unbeatable value, averaging $1 or less per pound, they keep for a long time in the refrigerator.

Below is a chart to help you select the best apples for eating (snacks), cooking (applesauce) and baking (pies).  Apples suitable for snacking will add a delicious crunch if used in a salad:

Name
Taste
Best Use
Baldwin
Tart, sweet
Snacks, cider
Crispin/Mutsu
Sweet
Snacks, applesauce, pies
Empire
Sweet, tart
Snacks, applesauce, pies
Fuji
Sweet, complex
Snacks, applesauce
Gala
Sweet 
Snacks, Applesauce
Golden Delicious
Sweet
Snacks, applesauce, pies
Granny Smith
Tart, sweet
Snacks, applesauce, pies
Honeycrisp
Sweet, tart
Snacks, applesauce, pies
McIntosh*
Sweet, tart
Snacks, applesauce
Red Delicious
Sweet
Snacks
Rome
Sweet, tart
Snacks, applesauce, pies
Russett
Tart, sweet
Snacks, cider
red_delicious_apple  grannysmith_apple  Jonathon_apple    Jonagold_apple  cortland_apple  
In a pinch combine baking apples with non-baking apples to get the right textures for pies.

Chopped apples also make an easy coffee cake that's moist and very tasty.  Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
A sprinkle of black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped, apples (peeled)
Drops of buttermilk (used to moisten and form a dough)
¼ cup real butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ cup chopped nuts
¼ cup raisins
A teaspoon of powdered sugar, for decoration

Directions:
Throw all ingredients in a bowl and hand mix it well.  Add a few drops of buttermilk at a time until a dry dough forms.  Put the dough into a well-greased loaf pan, or a cast iron skillet and bake at 350 F in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  When done, let it cool for about 5 minutes before removing it from the pan.  Then let it rest on a dish, or baking rack until cool. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and serve.

*source of apple facts: University of Illinois


You may also enjoy:
Are You Ready For Halloween?
The Health Benefits Of Tea
Why Are Products Shrinking?
Health Care Reform, A Doctor Weighs In

8 comments:

  1. This a great posting, very informative. From what you are describing, the old adage of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" seems to really apply here. If you write more on this subject, or maybe somebody else could post on here- I would be interested in learning what the differences are between "organic" versions of apples versus the numerous varieties that you mentioned.

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  2. Barry,

    Here's a link to explain how produce must be grown to use the "organic" label: http://www.ota.com/organic/faq.html.

    The use of the organic label is government regulated, and apple farmers must meet the standards to use the label. The variety of apple doesn't factor into whether it is organic or not-organic.

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  3. Will check the link in a bit. Non organic is fine with me but I was just wondering. Thanks for the reference.

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  4. The coffee cake sounds delicious - but should I be reading these great food articles at 10:30 p.m.?!

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  5. None of us should, Loretta! And just so you know, I'm putting away the smoked nuts, which I don't need either.

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  6. I need to pick up a bag of apples after reading this!

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  7. I made your apple coffee cake. My family loved it!

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  8. Thanks for your comments, folks. I enjoy reading them!

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