Studies show that apples can help reduce your risk of developing cancer and Type 2 diabetes, especially in women. Apples can also reduce your cholesterol, boost your immune system, and help control your weight. Links have even been made between apple consumption and a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
How? Apples are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. The soluble fiber in apples helps the body to naturally cleanse itself and helps maintain blood sugar levels. The antioxidants in apples help to reduce damage to all of the cells in your body, which prevents disease. Remember not to peel your apple before enjoying it. Two-thirds of the fiber and most of the antioxidants are found in the peel.
Now that you’re hungry for apples, you’ll be glad to know that 2014 has been a great year for the apple crop. Of the 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide, 100 varieties are grown commercially in the United States. Visit an orchard for some fun, exercise, fresh air, and delicious, healthy apples.
After you’ve found your favorite apples, the question becomes, what do I do with all of them? If you’ve made all the applesauce, apple butter, apple bread, baked apples, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple chutney, apple oatmeal, apple pancakes, apple pie, and Waldorf salads your family and friends can handle, I recommend that you preserve your leftovers to enjoy this winter.
If you can your apples, you may use either a boiling water bath or a pressure canner. Be sure to follow a USDA approved recipe that is no older than 1995. Freezing your apples is also an option. I use most of my frozen apples in cooked apple dishes, such as pies and breads. Here’s a quick freezing guide:
- Wash your hands.
- Clean apples by running them under cold water for at least 20 seconds.
- Slice apples to desired thickness. I leave the peel on.
- To prevent browning, slice apples into water containing ascorbic acid or Fruit-Fresh.
- Freeze apple slices in a single layer on a metal baking sheet for a couple of hours until frozen.
- Clearly label a freezer bag with the product and the date. Be sure to use a freezer-safe bag.
- Transfer apples to the freezer bag, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The apples will remain separated for ease in measuring out for recipes.
- Pour out the amount of frozen apples needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer. It is recommended to consume your frozen apples within eight months for best quality.
Celebrate National Apple Month by getting in the habit of enjoying an apple a day. Your doctor will thank you.
Here’s to a healthier you!
For more information please call Stephanie at the Purdue Extension Kosciusko County office at (574) 372-2340, or email at [email protected]