Apples plucked from the orchard display their useful versatility in this two-part series during the “Apple Month” of October.
Apples are for more than snacking. They are the versatile stars of their own dishes like pie and drinks of cider. They are the main feature of holiday games and decorations.
Scientists study their health benefits. Apples offer lifestyle advice through wise old sayings.
Here’s a look at some of their contributions to nutrition and mealtimes.
Studies abound about the beneficial effects on the body from eating apples. Although not a cure-all apples have some preventive qualities.
Because they contain Vitamin C and Beta carotene antioxidants, apples fight toxins in the body.
Fiber in apples helps tame cholesterol. Fiber cleans the liver and colon by removing toxins. Apple fiber contributes to protection against diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Apples are low in calories. Eaten raw they naturally remove some stains from your teeth.
Some common food uses for apples:
Eating apples tops the list. Will you be eating them fresh? Will you cook or bake them? Do you like your apples on the sweet side or do you like a tart flavor?
Some varieties are tried and true for eating fresh as a snack or in a salad like: McIntosh, Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala.
Some are good for both eating fresh or cooking and baking like: Crispin, Braeburn, Jonagold and Granny Smith.
These are just of few of the varieties. There are so many more apples to choose from. Some grow only in your area. Give a different one a try!
- Food made from apples:
Applesauce is made by cooking peeled apples and sometimes adding spices. Available in stores, some with no added sugar or you can make your own.
Start with a few fresh apples. Wash and peel. If you leave the peels on they make the sauce chewier but add nutrients.
Cut the apples into slices. Add some water and cook in a saucepan over medium heat until it’s the consistency you like. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples while cooking. Cool before serving.
Dried apples can be made in dehydrators or ovens.
Apple jelly and apple butter spread on toast or muffins are delicious! Buy ready to slather on or find an easy-to-make recipe.
How about apples dipped in melted candy or caramel? The sweet and sticky concoctions get all over your face and hands – but they’re oh so good!
Buy candy apples or caramel apples in stores. Have a sticky good time with easy recipes to make your own.
- Drink the juice made from apples:
Apple Juice is filtered to remove pulp, etc. and pasteurized to kill bacteria.
Cider is apple juice that hasn’t been filtered or sweetened. It may be pasteurized.
Hard cider and applejack are fermented versions of apple juice. The amount of alcohol from the fermentation process differs in each product. Hard cider has less alcohol than applejack.
- All-purpose apple products:
Vinegar is made from fermentation of apple juice. It’s used for many purposes. Food uses include: vinegar as a partner in salad dressing and pickling just about anything.
Clean counter tops with a 50/50 solution of vinegar/water.
Use it full strength in a squirt bottle for killing weeds. A bottle that streams liquid works best to target only weeds.
Finding and storing apples
Besides your local grocery, farmers’ markets and apple farms are great places to get popular varieties. Some carry local varieties.
Choosing organic apples reduces the amount of pesticides that you consume. They keep best in the refrigerator.
Interested in growing your own trees?
Apple trees originated in Kazakhstan in central Asia. They are members of the Rosaceae family. They are found in almost every part of the world.
Here are a few tips for growing them in your yard:
You will need to buy two trees so that bees can cross pollinate them to produce fruit. Make sure the location you want to plant them is the best spot for their needs: soil, light – at least eight hours/day and water. Keep in mind the size of the full grown tree when choosing a spot!
Your local nursery can help you with the selections hardiest in your zone. They have information on insect and disease resistance. They can also tell you how many years before you see fruit growing on the trees.
Consider the care needed to grow them. They thrive with regular watering and yearly pruning.
Ready to make some goodies from apples? Here are three recipes to try that are inspired by old apple recipes:
- Slaw with Apples and Cheese
Grate cabbage. Add chopped or grated apples along with your favorite crumbled or grated cheese. Mix with mayo or mayo substitute. Season to taste with salt and pepper or a non-salt seasoning.
- Apple Pie
1 single ready-made or made from scratch pie crust
1 21oz can apples or 3 C fresh, peeled and cooked apples
1 TBS all-purpose flour
8 TBS sugar or favorite sweetener following the package’s substitution guidelines
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS bottled lemon juice
1 – 2 TBS butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place pie crust in pie pan.
In a medium bowl: mix apples, flour, sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon and lemon juice together. Place on crust in pie pan. Scatter the pieces of butter over filling. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon on top.
Place a ring of foil on pie crust edges to prevent overcooking. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove foil from edges and bake until crust is lightly browned. Take from oven and cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Applesauce Bread With Nuts
2 C all-purpose flour
¾ C sugar or favorite sweetener following the package’s substitution guidelines
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ C nuts – walnuts or pecans (omit if you want)
1 C applesauce (no sugar added type)
2 tsp melted butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat egg. Add applesauce and the butter or margarine. Mix. Add dry ingredients. Stir by hand or mixer until blended.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Touch top to see if it springs back easily. If it does, insert a table knife in top. If it comes out clean, it’s done! Let cool before slicing and serving.
In Part 2 we’ll look at other versatile uses for apples and the meanings of some of those old sayings.
University of Minnesota Extension
Copyright Juli Seyfried 2019