An Apple a Day May Not Be a Myth
An apple a day may truly keep the doctor away! The National Cancer Institute reported that flavonoid-containing foods (apples boast the highest concentration of any fruit) may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50-percent.
A Cornell University study found that phytochemicals from the skin of apples may inhibit the reproduction of colon cancer cells by as much as 43-percent.
The first trees to produce sweet, flavorful apples were found thousands of years ago near the modern day city of Alma-Ata, Kazakstan. Early North American settlers brought apple seeds and trees with them to the new World. In fact, historical records indicate that apples were grown in New England as early as 1630. Today, U.S. orchards produce an annual crop that exceeds 222 million bushels of apples.
Apples and Beauty
The apple makes an appearance in countless beauty products. The special ingredient is citric acid.
The Season for Apples
The apple harvest typically runs from August through October. In spite of modern technology, many orchards still hand pick their apples. In fact, all apples in the state of Washington (over 12 billion a year) are picked by hand.
Though some varieties are in the store only at certain times of the year, many apples are available all year. Select smooth, clean skinned apples that are uniform in color. Avoid apples with bruised or broken skin. Apples should be firm to the touch and have good color for the variety.
Apples Aid Detox
Apples are high in pectin, which helps cleanse the intestines and binds to heavy metals. Pectin also helps the body excrete food additives, including tartrazine, a synthetic chemical used in the food industry that has been linked to hyperactivity, migraines, and asthma in children.
Selecting, Handling and Cooking with Apples
- Select firm apples-free from bruises.
- Be sure to handle carefully, bruised apples do not store well.
- Striped apples and apples with patches of green are often of excellent quality.
- Skins should be a light, fresh-looking color. Deep green background color often indicates immature fruit.
- Smaller apples keep longer. Purchase only as many apples as you think you will use in a reasonable amount of time.
- Freckles (russet) on Golden Delicious indicate ripeness.
- To keep apples crisp, keep them cold. To prevent quick ripening, store them in the refrigerator.
- Apples ripen eight to ten time faster at room temperature.
- Store apples in a ventilated plastic bag or hydrator drawer to prevent absorbing other food flavors.
- Dip peeled apples in lemon juice or salt water to prevent dark flesh.
- Apples, like many other fruits, produce ethylene gas, which promotes ripening. Fruits such as peaches, pears and bananas produce ethylene gas and are sensitive to the ethylene produced by apples. Storing these fruits in close proximity to each other may speed the ripening process. Oranges, pineapples, and tangerines make good storage companions for apples because they do not produce ethylene gas and are not sensitive to it.
- To prevent cut apple slices from turning brown, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup apple juice mixed in one cup water.
Wash apples carefully in cool water. Use apples in cobblers, pies, cakes and salads. Granny Smiths, Golden Delicious, Braeburns, Cortlands, Ginger Golds and Empires are also delicious in salads. With their high acid content, they don't turn brown as quickly as other varieties. Store at room temperature or in the crisper bin in your refrigerator, away from other fruits and vegetables. Apples stored this way will stay fresh for up to six weeks.
Important Note on Applesauce
Unless you buy organic applesauce, it is likely to be swimming in several different pesticides. According to a report by the FDA, nearly every one of the 19 pesticide residues they tested for appeared in jarred applesauce. It is worth going out of your way to buy organic in order to avoid these chemicals. Or better yet, buy organic apples and make homemade applesauce. See our Apple Recipe Collection for a few tasty variations.
Apple Nutritional Facts
"Apples are a good source of soluble fiber, especially pectin, which helps control insulin levels by slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Pectin also helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion."
Comell University researchers have found that the amount of fresh apple extract from a medium apple with skin provides the antioxidant activity equal to 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C.
Using colon cancer cells treated with apple extract, the scientists found that cell proliferation was inhibited in vitro. The researchers also tested the apple extract against human liver cancer cells and again found inhibition of the growth of those cells.
People who eat lots of apples may have lower rates of lung cancer, judging by a study done in Finland. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was focused on flavonoids. The study reviewed the diet of 9,959 Finns aged five to 99 years. Of those in the group who were cancer-free in 1965, those who ate the most flavonoid-rich foods -- apples and other fruit, onions, juices, vegetables, and jams -- had a 20 percent lower incidence of cancer through 1991. Quercetin, a flavonoid found mostly in apples, accounted for 95 percent of the flavonoids consumed by the study group.
To get the most benefit, do not peel your apples. Quercetin is found only in the skin.
Biblical Reference to Apples
"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love" --Sheba talking about Solomon, Song of Solomon 2:3-5 (NIV).
- Are sodium, fat and cholesterol free.
- A good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
- Have zero fat, zero cholesterol, zero sodium.
- Great in salads because once cut, they keep their color longer than other apples.
- Are sodium, fat and cholesterol free.
- An excellent source of fiber.
- Are high in pectin, which helps cleanse the intestines and helps the body excrete food additives.
- Fiber content helps regulate bowel movements.
- Antioxidants to protect the nerve cells caused by oxidative stress.
- Apples have been recommended for arthritis, obesity, gallbladder stones, bronchial asthma, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, anemia, insomnia, neuritis and halitosis.
Easy Apple Crumble
This is a great recipe anytime but especially helpful when apples are in abundance during the fall harvest.
Slice four medium apples; spread slices in 9 x 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with 2-teaspoons of cinnamon, then pour one-half-cup water over top.
In another bowl mix together with a fork; one-half-cup soft butter, 3/4-cup flour and 1-cup sugar. When mixture is fine and crumbly, spread over sliced apples. Bake 30 minutes in 400-degree oven. Serve warm.
For a delicious side, saute apple wedges in butter until golden and carmalized before deglazing with brandy, chicken stock and a drizzle of golden syrup.
Apple Banana Snack Recipe
3 tart apples, cored, peeled and sliced
3 small over-ripe bananas, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place the apples in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until well chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the bananas and cinnamon. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Recipe makes 4, 3/4-cup servings.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 100; Fat: 0.4g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 2mg; Carbohydrates: 26.3g; Dietary Fiber: 4.1g; Protein: 0.8g
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