One of the biggest benefits of fall is that it’s also apple season in the northern hemisphere. Even as I’m mourning the loss of fresh, ripe tomatoes, juicy red watermelons, and luscious sweet cantaloupe, I’m practically drooling over the approaching apple abundance. I’m an apple addict and although I eat them
year-round, I especially enjoy fall apples. Almost as much as I enjoy brownies.
Unlike brownies, apples are a good source of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and vitamin C and contain antioxidants & flavonoids like quercetin and catechin. They’re beneficial for heart health and may help prevent cancer and protect against asthma. (Source: Whole Foods)
Those are some great reasons to eat apples frequently, but I have my own reasons: Apples are tasty, portable, and affordable. I can toss one in my handbag and have an instant snack on those on-the-go days. They also fit nicely into my backpack and don’t seem to slow me down when I’m on a bike ride. Not to mention that you can have AN ENTIRE APPLE for around 100 calories or less (medium-sized). Talk about a bang for your caloric buck!
Not to be superficial or anything, but apples are also pretty. I keep several in a bowl on my kitchen counter, easily accessible when I wander through the kitchen for a mid-afternoon snack. Kinda hard to justify a trip to the chocolate box when you have a bowlful of fiber and vitamin C on the counter, staring you in the face.
Another thing I like about apples is that there are so many varieties available. The Delicious Twins (Red and Gold), Fuji, Braeburn, Gala, Pink Lady, Cameo, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Jonagold–the list goes on and on. Those are just the varieties at my local Kroger. The farmer’s markets have dozens more varieties on hand. Last week I tried the Honeycrisp apples and while tasty, at $3/pound they won’t be loitering around my fruit bowl too often. (And that was the conventionally-grown price! Yikes!)
Speaking of conventionally-grown, apples are one of the worst fruits for pesticide contaminants, so if organic is in your budget or inclination, that may be the best option. If like me, organic is frequently not in your budget, then invest in a natural bristle brush and give them a good scrub-a-dub-dub with soap and water.
My favorite way to eat apples is raw, with the rinse water still beading their surface. A slice of good cheese (cheddar, havarti, or gorgonzola are my favs) or a schmear of peanut butter is a good accompaniment, but they’re fine just as they are. I sometimes add chopped apple to tossed salads (goes great with grilled chicken, cranberries, and pecans!), and I almost always add it to my tuna salad.
I’ve never been much of a fan of cooked apples (except in a fritter or underneath a puddle of caramel–tee-hee!), but I do like them in a dish I make with wild rice and cranberries. ::pause for drool moment:: I haven’t made that in a while. Must put that on the list for when I return from my vacation.
I’ve made a pledge to myself to try more apple dishes this winter, and I’ve bookmarked several potential candidates from these recipe sites:
From the Washington State Apple People
Who weren’t about to be outdone by the Virginia Apple People
All About Apples
The ever-trusty All-Recipes.com
And that is my tribute to the almighty apple. What’s YOUR favorite variety of apple or favorite apple dish?