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Eating with the Season: Apples

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT

Fruits and vegetables taste best and cost less when they are in season. There is also less storage and transport time involved therefore nutrient content of the produce remains high. Check this ISU Extension site for Find a Farm: www.visitiowafarms.org/find_a_farm/. This site includes information on U Pick, Specialty Products or Crops and Farmer’s Markets in Iowa.

October is apple picking time in Iowa. You’ve heard, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” While it will certainly take more than a daily apple to keep you healthy, it is a step in the right direction. Apples are delicious, easy to carry for snacking, low in calories, locally available and inexpensive.

A medium apple contains approximately 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber. Apples contain soluble fiber, which helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. This fiber also provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system. Studies show that high intakes of quercetin, a nutrient found in apples, is associated not only with a reduction in lung cancer risk but also with a reduction in the risk of asthma and diabetes.

It is best to eat the skin! Many of the nutrients are located in and just underneath the skin.

There are hundreds of varieties of apples available. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth or crisp and crunchy, depending on the one you choose. Have an apple today!

Store apples in a cool, dark place such as the fruit crisper drawer, basement or garage. Fresh picked apples will keep for several months if stored properly.

Preserving Apples

Apples may be preserved by canning or freezing.

Enzymes in fruits such as apples and pears can cause oxidative browning as soon as the fruit is peeled or cut. Chemical compounds are used to control enzymes in these fruits. The most common treatment is ascorbic acid (vitamin C) such as Fruit Fresh. Browning can also be halted by placing fruit in citric acid or lemon juice solutions or in sugar syrup.

Apples, as well as other fruits, retain better texture and flavor if packed in sugar or sugar syrup. However, sugar is not necessary to preserve fruit. Check Iowa State Extension for more information on preserving apples: www.extension.iastate.edu.

Apple Salad 6 servings (3⁄4 cup each)

2 large apples, unpeeled, cut into chunks

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)

1⁄3 cup celery, diced

2 Tbsp raisins

3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise

1 Tbsp pineapple juice

1⁄8 tsp cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine apples, celery and raisins. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Blend the dressing with the fruit mixture. Refrigerate for two hours before serving

Calories: 50 Fat: .5g Saturated fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 11g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 25mg

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