Apples, A Favorite Fall Fruit
I love it when apple season starts in October. Apples are one of the favorite fruits of many people and there are over 7,500 different varieties! The grocery stores carry only a few of these varieties, so this is a great reason to go to a farmer’s market or take a trip to the NC or GA mountains and discover some of the lesser known varieties. Depending on the variety, some are best eaten raw, some cooked and still others can be eaten raw or cooked. Apples are number two on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticides. To avoid these pesticides, it is important to purchase organic apples whenever possible.
Nutrients in Apples
Apples are a good source of a number of nutrients and an excellent source of fiber. The pectin in apples is an insoluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your intestinal tract. Eating cooked or stewed apples is particularly good for those who have either constipation, diarrhea or a leaky gut. Apples are also high in the nutrient quercetin which is anti-inflammatory and calming for allergies. When possible, eat apples with the peel because the fiber and quercetin content is double for unpeeled apples over peeled. A great afternoon snack is a quartered apple top with almond butter.
Unfiltered, fermented apple cider vinegar is also a very healthy food. I use Braggs brand most often and make homemade vinaigrette salad dressing with it and extra virgin olive oil. Apple cider vinegar has been used for over 2000 years for its health benefits. It has some recent research supporting its use for weight loss, blood sugar issues, lowering blood pressure and supports healthy digestion. Try drinking a tablespoon in a cup of water before meals instead of taking acid reflux medications.
Enjoy apples as often as you like. They are sweet by themselves and you do not need to add additional sugar for most recipes, even desserts. For a slightly sweet fall meal try this Parsnip Apple soup.
Parsnip Apple Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 ½ pounds parsnips, peeled and diced
2 cups apples, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley or ½ cup fresh, minced
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat a stockpot over medium heat and saute the onion in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the parsnips and apples and saute another 6-6 minutes. Add the coriander, salt and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook 15 minutes or until parsnips are soft. Add the coconut milk, parsley and pepper. Remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Serve warm.