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.

Apple History

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.

Certain apples will taste different depending on the time of year purchased. If your apples are not ripe, leave them room temperature for a day or two. They will ripen faster but also note that apples will spoil ten times faster at room temperature.

Fast Apple Facts

  • Apples are capable of lasting 3 to 5 weeks in the refrigerator, and will still retain vitamin C content.
  • Refrigerate your apples for longevity.
  • Apples float because 25 percent of their volume is made up of air between the cells.
  • Apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium.
  • An average apple contains only 80 calories.
  • Apples have five grams of fiber, 20 percent of the daily recommended fiber needs.
  • Apples contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and Niacin; plus nutrients, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Iron and Potassium.
  • Applesauce is a fat free substitute when cooking and can be used in place of oil or shortening. In addition to being healthy, applesauce makes baked goods taste moist.
  • When eaten as a snack, apples suppress your appetite longer than junk foods and empty calories they contain. Apples are a great choice when dieting and trying to stave off hunger.
  • The soft texture of cooked apples is caused by the heat collapsing the air spaces between the cells.
  • Apple butter contains no fat if prepared properly with cinnamon and allspice.
  • Pare apples by pouring scalding water on them just before peeling them.
  • Cut apples into quarters before peeling, it will be easier.
  • To give applesauce a different flavor, add sliced unpeeled orange in the last few minutes of cooking.
  • To avoid wrinkled skins on apples when baking, cut a few slits in the skin to allow for expansion.
  • Apples will store for a longer period if they do not touch one another.
  • For winter storage, wipe apples dry and pack in dry sand or sawdust. Keep in cool, dry place.
  • The tartness of an apple is derived from the balance of malic acid and the fruit’s natural sugars.
  • Commercially prepared sweetened applesauce can contain as much as 77 percent more calories than unsweetened varieties.
  • FDA testing can only detect 50 percent of the approved 110 pesticides that are used on apples.
  • Apple chips are very much like potato chips, only healthier because they are made from apples. For a sweet treat, look for baked, not fried varieties. They even come in different flavors.
  • If you store apples along with green tomatoes, they will ripen at a faster pace.

How to Store Apple

Apple Health Facts

  • Depending on how apples are used, they can relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
  • Apples are also rich in soluble fiber, a substance that helps regulate blood sugar, preventing a sudden increase, or drop, in serum sugar levels.
  • The acids contained in an apple make the fruit digestible and aid in digestion of other foods.
  • The apple also acts as an excellent dentifrice, being a food that is not only cleansing to the teeth on account of its juices, but just hard enough to mechanically push back the gums so that the borders are cleared of deposits.
  • Pectin, a type of soluble fiber found in apples, has received much attention due to its ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Apples also are a traditional remedy for rheumatism.
  • In the second century, Galen, the famous court physician to the Roman emperors and the gladiators, prescribed apple wine as a cure all for nearly every ailment.

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 Apple Sauce

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.

Apple Nutritional Facts

  • Fat free
  • Saturated fat free
  • Sodium free
  • Cholesterol free
  • An excellent source of fiber

“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.”

We also know that apples shine in antioxidant phytochemicals; the principal ones identified so far are phenolics and the flavonoid quercetin.

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.

Apple Varieties

There are 150 strains of Red and Golden Delicious apples! Below we’ve listed the most popular and common, along with information as to which are better for baking, etc. “An apple a day…”

  • Akane:  Do not store well. Have sweet-tart flavor. Skin is thin and usually tender. They retain their shape well when baked and have a tart flavor.
  • Braeburn:  Store exceptionally well. Skin is tender, moderately tart. They keep shape well when baked and retain their tartness.
  • Cortland:  Fragile and needs to be stored carefully. High in vitamin C and resists browning. Thin skinned with slight tart-sweet taste. Keeps shape well when baked.
  • Criterion:  Yellow apples that are difficult to handle without bruising. High in vitamin C and resists browning. The skin is tender but flavor is bland when baked.
  • Elstar:  Store well with their tart flavor mellowing when stored. They have tender skin and retain their flavor and shape well when baked.
  • Empire:  Do not store well and tend to get mealy. High in vitamin C and will resist browning. Thick skinned and bake well retaining flavor.
  • Fuji:  Store well with tangy sweet flavor. Will retain flavor well when baked, but take longer to cook than most apples. Fuji apples are great for stuffing and roasting as they hold their shape when cooked. Looks like an Asian pear. One large Fuji apple can give you 15 percent of your daily vitamin C. Fuji apples are one of the best apples to freeze.
  • Gala:   Sweet with slight tartness and have tender skin. Hold shape well when baked but does not retain flavor.
  • Golden Delicious:  Stores well but spoils fast at room temperature. Should be light yellow not greenish. Skin is tender and flavor is sweet. High in vitamin C and resists browning. Retains shape well when baked.
  • Granny Smith:  Best color is light green not intensely green and could even have a slight yellow tint. High in vitamin C and resists browning. Nicely balanced sweet tart flavor. Cooks into excellent thick applesauce, but is not recommended for baking.
  • Gravenstein:  Comes in both red and green. Excellent sweet tart flavor and very juicy. Good for applesauce but not a good baking apple.
  • Idared:   Resembles Jonathans, skin is tender. When cooked they will retain full flavor.
  • Jonagold:  Has good sweet-tart balance. A very juicy apple with tender skin. For best applesauce, cook with peel then strain.
  • Jonathan:  Found in California around mid-August. They become soft and mealy quickly. Thin skinned, cook tender and make good applesauce. Retain shape well when baked.
  • McIntosh:  Most come from British Columbia. Be careful when selecting as they get mushy and mealy easily. Skin is tough and will separate from flesh. Tend to fall apart when baked in pies.
  • Melrose:  Normally found in the Northwest. Store very well and flavor actually improves after one or two months of storage. Well balanced sweet and tart flavor. Retains shape well when cooked in pies.
  • Mutsu:  (Crispin) Looks like Golden Delicious, but is greener and irregular in shape. Store very well. Has sweet but spicy taste with fairly coarse texture for applesauce, cook with peels and strain.
  • Newton Pippin:  Sometimes picked too green wait until light green for sweetest flavor. Crisp, sweet tart flavored apple. They keep shape when baked or used in pies. Makes a thick applesauce.
  • Northern Spy: A tart red or green apple, excellent for pies.
  • Red Delicious:  Ranges in color from red to red striped. Store for up to 12 months. Will not last long at room temperature. Avoid any bruised ones. Normally are sweet and mellow with a hint of tartness. When cooked they do not hold flavor well.
  • Rhode Island Greening:  Best choice for pies, but not very available. Only available October and November on the East Coast.
  • Rome Beauty:  If stored for long periods of time Rome Beauty apples will developa bland flavor and get mealy. They are very mild and have a low acid level. The skin is thick, but tender. It is an excellent baking apple.
  • Spartan:  Will not store for long periods and get mealy easily. Sweet flavor and very aromatic. Flavor is weak when cooked.
  • Stayman Winesap:  Stores well. Spicy tart flavor and good crisp apple. Have thick skins which separate easily. When cooked they will retain flavor well. Good for baking or pies.

How to Store Apples

Did you know?

The custom of giving an apple to a teacher originated in the days when local cities, towns and villages paid public school teachers whatever they could afford. Frequently, this was food or goods given in lieu of cash.

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).

In Summary

Apples: Green

  • 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.

Green apple

Apples: Red

  • 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.

Red Apple

Apples: Yellow

  • 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.

Yellow apple

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.

Brandy Apples

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

Read More: Food Facts