Apples, apples, and more apples!
Registered Dietician & CSA Member
We are headed into the best time of year (in my opinion), and not just for the cooler weather, but for all the exciting activities it encompasses! Apple orchards are an all time favorite for my family, and we are thrilled to know apples will be arriving in our CSA share this season! Apples are a staple in our home because how versatile they are (fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and juice) and the fact that they are good all year round (top 3 fruits produced around the world). One of the most popular fruits in the US, they are easy to store and transport, and one that carries so many nutritional benefits!
Fun side note: We were fortunate this year the late frost did not ruin the apple trees that our neighbors have. My kids love running over and grabbing an apple every day! That habit only started to taper after we found a worm in my 2-year-old sons apple. I have never actually found a worm in an apple before, so it was a surprise, and now a funny story that he remembers as being “yucky”! It was a good learning experience for them, because after all that is nature, and an apple in its most organic state!
Apples are a nutrient-dense food, primarily composed of water and carbohydrates, a great source of fiber (insoluble and soluble), phytochemicals, and vitamin C. These nutrients are so important to our health and aid in the prevention of chronic diseases.
Fiber is key to help regulate our digestive system and lower cholesterol, in which apples provide roughly 4 grams of fiber per apple.
Phytochemicals are found in all plants and are associated with numerous health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that plays a role in our immune function and iron absorption, amongst other benefits.
The best way you can eat an apple is in its natural state; fresh, whole apples provide the most nutrients. The skin of the apple contains most of the nutrition including fiber and flavonoids (a type of phytochemical). Research has shown the consumption of apples have a positive association with the decrease in chronic diseases. So, having an apple a day really does help improve overall health!
Organic vs conventional?
Apples usually top the list when it comes to the use of pesticides. They are prone to disease and bugs, therefore, using a pesticide is needed in most cases. Sure, it saves the apple, but what does that mean for the consumer? When it comes to buying apples, the guidance is that conventionally grown apples are safe; the level of pesticide residue is below the EPA’s tolerance level, and therefore fine to consume. However, as with all fruits and vegetables, it is still advised to wash before consumption (even scrub if you can)! It is also OK to peel your apple to rid of pesticides but doing so will strip many nutrients. If you are wanting to try and avoid most pesticides all together, then organically grown apples is the route you want to take!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a database called the Pesticide Data Program (PDP); certainly, worth checking out if you are interested in knowing more about the pesticides used!
If you like to keep your apples on the counter, that is perfectly OK! However, they will last longer in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Apples will continue to ripen after harvesting due to emitting gas, ethylene. By placing in the refrigerator, it slows the production of this gas, therefore, slowing the ripening process. In the refrigerator they will usually last 1-2 months, and on the counter, 1-2 weeks. We go through apples so fast in our home, so storing on the counter is typically our method!
Increase your intake
Slice and enjoy with drizzled peanut butter – add a few raisins too!
Dice and use in a salad
Bake apple slices with your favorite fall vegetables like sweet potatoes and butternut squash
Make a chicken and apple quesadilla
Bake in the oven with a little cinnamon and enjoy as a dessert
Use dried apples in cereal or granola
Top your breakfast with baked apple slices
I encourage everyone to get creative with your apples! During the fall, baking apples are so enjoyable and a very comforting food, this is how we are planning to enjoy our apples this season!