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Let's Harvest Apples for Good Health

Apples often are used as the symbol for health for good reason. Eating more apples as part of an overall healthful diet may help lower our risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and even asthma, according to some studies.
Let's Harvest Apples for Good Health

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Apples often are used as the symbol for health for good reason. Eating more apples as part of an overall healthful diet may help lower our risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and even asthma, according to some studies. Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

In the U.S., we often have many types of apples to choose from in grocery stores. Apples are “on-the-go” snacks with less than 100 calories per medium apple. Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork and click on “Learn More …,” then “Apples” for more information about selecting, preparing and preserving apples. Check out all the other fruit and vegetable links, too.

Try These Tips:

  • Add apples to your recipes. Rinse apples under cool, running water. Slice into prepared oatmeal, over lettuce salads or blend into smoothies. Grate some apple into your favorite muffins or quick breads.
  • Bake apples as a quick dessert (with fewer calories than apple pie). Remove the core to create a “well” in each medium-sized apple. For each apple, mix 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon rolled oats, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pack mixture into the apple “well” and add 2 to 3 tsp. of butter or margarine to the top of the stuffed apple. Place apples in baking dish. Add a small amount of hot water in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish (1 cup for four apples). Cover the top of pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375 F for 40 to 50 minutes (until apples are tender).
  • Make homemade applesauce. Select full-flavored apples. Wash apples, peel if desired, core and slice. To each quart of apple slices, add a cup of water; cook until tender. Mash or puree (in blender) and add ½ cup sugar, if desired, for each quart of hot puree, stirring until dissolved. Cool and package in freezer containers or bags. Seal and freeze. For easy stacking, freeze the bags of applesauce on a tray.
  • Freeze apple slices. Select fi rm, crisp, full-flavored apples. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium apples into twelfths and large sizes into sixteenths. To prevent apples from darkening during preparation, dissolve ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid (found in the canning section of grocery stores) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle over the fruit. Place treated slices in a single layer in a steamer basket; steam 1½ to two minutes, depending on thickness of the slices. Cool in ice cold water; drain. Pack apples into freezer bags or containers. Press fruit down and leave about ½ inch at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. Seal and freeze.
    • See “Freezing Fruits” (FN182) at
     www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodpreservation/freeze for more information.
  • Dry apples or make fruit leather for snacks. See “Drying Fruits” (FN1587) and “Making Fruit Leathers” (FN1586) at www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodpreservation/dry for free directions.

 

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

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