In honor of Go Red for Women, today’s Foodie Friday post is devoted to my favorite red food: apples. Some are really tart, and some are really sweet. I used to only eat Red Delicious, but those are a bit higher in sugar content, so I switched over to Gala. I also like Fuji. I cannot stand Honeycrisp or Braeburn. So because there are over 7,500 types of apples, you better start tasting to find your favorite!
- Apples are one of the highest-rated foods for pesticide residue. This is one food to try to always buy organic. Even then, wash thoroughly before eating. They are also waxed, so washing will help remove some of the (potential) petroleum based wax on the skin.
- The seeds are mildly poisonous, and while they won’t really harm humans, they do deter birds.
- They are actually part of the rose family.
- When one thinks of apples, they think of Johnny Appleseed. Now, Johnny deserves his credit, but he didn’t plant apple seeds cause he love apples so much. Or because he just wanted people across the nation to be so darn healthy. He was an alcoholic who wanted to ensure there were enough apples to ferment into alcoholic cider. And some other political stuff regarding tariffs and land grants. Oh, if only we taught our children the REAL story in schools…
- Apples have, and continue to play, a key role in cultural traditions and customs of peoples worldwide. Many times they show up as mystical or forbidden fruits, or are meant to represent temptation or evil (Adam and Eve, Paris and Aphrodite, Snow White and the Witch, Edward and Bella…). However, other accounts show apples as gifts to Gods, superfruits to promote youthfulness, and fertility enhancers. Using my critical thinking skills, I’m going to say apples were for tempting your lover into your bed, therefore enhancing your youthful spirit, and ultimately leading to many, many babies. There, now that didn’t take an anthropology degree.
Where Is It Grown?
Apples originated from Central Asia. As of 2005, apples were a $10 billion industry. China produced about 35% of this total. The United States is the second leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production. Iran is third followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India. 60% of the apples grown in the US are grown in Washington state. The apple was brought to the United States by the Pilgrims in 1620, and the French brought the apple to Canada. In 1741, commercial trade of apples from the US began on Long Island to the West Indies. Captain Aemilius Simmons brought seeds to Fort Vancouver in Washington state in 1824.
Can You Grow It At Home?
Technically, yes. But I think this should be left to the “experts”. Apples grow on trees, and trees take up a lot of room. But a mature apple tree can produce over well over a few hundred pounds of apples. Extensive knowledge about soil types, cultivars, and harvesting is needed. I’d much rather visit my local orchard and pick a few bushels for myself. A good list for orchards in Ohio can be found here.
When Is It In Season?
In the Northern Hemisphere apples are in season from late summer to early winter. However, many varieties are available year round because they have been either kept in cold storage or imported from the Southern Hemisphere, or various parts of the country.
Storage & Shelf-Life
In the home, apples can be stored for about 2 weeks in the coldest part of the fridge.
Take them out right before using them in a recipe to avoid browning. To reduce browning when slicing or dicing, throw them in a bowl of ice water with a few drops of lemon juice.
To ensure they last as long as possible, choose apples that are free of dents, bruises, or puckering.
Ummm, Why Should I Care?
One medium-sized apple delivers 15% of the fiber that you need for the whole day. Fiber is not only good to “keep things regular,” it’s also responsible for lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer. Fiber in the body can absorb some of the “bad” stuff and move it through the system. But really, fiber is what helps you to feel full. A medium-sized apple will keep you full, and is only worth about 80 calories! In some studies, as little as two ounces of apple per day (less than ½ of a medium-sized apple) have been found to be extremely helpful.
And don’t peel those apples. The skins, along with the pulp, packs plenty of flavonoids, responsible for heart-health, antioxidant protection, preventing inflammation, preventing clumping together of blood platelets, regulating blood sugar, and prohibiting the overproduction of fat in your liver. That’s right…the overproduction of fat. Apples are a dietary staple for anyone looking to shed a few pounds. Get this! flavonoids also help AFTER heart disease has already occurred. It’s NEVER too late to start good habits.
Surprisingly, apples are one of the only fruits or vegetables linked to helping with asthma and lung health. Studies show that apples reduce the risk of lung cancer, which many fruits and veggies cannot claim.
- Apple butter
- Apple jelly
- Apple cider vinegar can be used to soothe sunburn, bug-bites, dandruff, and make hair shiny. It can also be used as a household cleaner and disinfectant.
- Applesauce also makes a great substitution for oils in recipes. Simply replace it with a 1:1 ratio. Some people swear by this. Others think it’s great, but alters the taste and texture. I’ve done this in a cinnamon-spice cookie recipe, and love it. Although I kind of expected it to taste like apples and applesauce, so I chose a complementary cinnamon recipe.
I could eat them in a plane. I could eat them on a train. I could eat them in a box. I could eat them with a fox. OH, sorry. My first grade teacher side made an appearance. But, seriously, I eat apples like most people eat chocolate. I throw an apple in my bag every morning, then eat it at my desk while I’m working. It’s a great one-handed snack. Although, the crunch-crunch drives my office-mates batty. I think someone even brought me in an apple slicer, but I’m a low maintenance kind of gal.
For a snack at night, I love to slice it (see, I DO know how to use tools), sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and chow down.
Some apples are better for snacking, while others work for cooking. Need a guide to keep them straight? Try this one. Apple pie is a great option for Thanksgiving, or any dessert occasion-it’s the American culture! Baked apples taste yummy on pancakes. Freshly squeezed juice is better than store-bought, as it doesn’t contain added sugar. Why add sugar to an already sweet food? However, juice gets rid of the fiber and some of the other healthy reasons to eat them in the first place. In fact, only about 10% of the “healthy stuff” remains when raw apples are turned into juice.
The average American eats 20lbs. of apples each year, so try a few new recipes to spice it up bit.