by Buck Reed
Although apples are now readily available year-round because of the voodoo science has provided for us, we tend to look at apple season as being in November. This is because, traditionally, apple picking starts in July and, depending on the climate, ends about now. So, November is when we take the last of the apples and start the traditional work of preserving them into apple butter or sauce or prepping them for storage for the winter.
This time of year, apples are traditionally sorted and then wrapped in paper before placing them in a crate or basket and storing them in the cellar where it was cool enough to keep the apples from spoiling. The paper was used to keep a bad apple from coming into contact with the others and ruining the rest. As the Osmonds taught us, one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch. Is there nothing a 1970’s Mormon family pop group cannot teach us?
Today, apples are picked before they are ripe and stored in rooms with higher levels of carbon dioxide to keep them from ripening. When the apples are needed for sale, the room is flooded with oxygen and the apples ripen naturally. And, if they need the apples sooner, ethylene gas is used to super ripen the fruit. This method ensures that we will have fresh, crisp apples all year round.
This modern method also ensures that apples do not lose any of their nutritional value, which, of course, we all know “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” One apple has about 95 calories and provides a good source for soluble fiber, which will help lower your cholesterol as well as blood pressure and risk of stroke.
Eating an apple with the skin will also provide ursolic acid, which will activate a calorie burn in the body and help fight obesity. Although apples do contain carbs, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, the fiber in apples can actually help stabilize sugar levels in diabetics.
Since we now know apples are good for you and they are readily available all through the year, why not cook with them more?
Baking with apples is a no-brainer. Apple dumplings, apple turnovers, apple crisp, and of course, the all-American dessert, Apple pie, easily come to mind. But why not change it up with something different like a new spice or seasoning. I am finding ground cardamom to be a nice new ingredient to add to my baked products and would encourage anyone looking for something new to give it a go. Of course, baked or sautéed apples would make a fine side dish to almost any entree, and adding sliced apples to a stir fry might add a pleasing surprise. If you have a food dehydrator, slice the apples thin and make some apple chips for a quick snack.
With an ingredient packed with so much nutritional value and an all-year availability, why not keep a bag in the pantry?
Challenge yourself to eat one apple a day and give the doctor the day off.