Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ingredient of the Month 25: Apples, and Awesome Apples Event Announcement

Homegrown apples are sweet, fresh and more often than not organic- brilliant in pies and cakes or just to munch on.
Now is the time of year when the apples in our gardens are starting to ripen and the first of the new season's local crop appear in the shops and markets. So what better time than now, to feature the humble yet versatile and health-promoting apple? See below for some fascinating apple facts:

In our garden, this apple waits patiently in the September sunshine for colder nights to give it a red blush...
Apples actually belong to the rose family, along with strawberries, peaches, pears and raspberries. They must be one of the best-known and most widely grown fruits in the world, as apple trees are to be found growing in Asia, North America and Europe. China, the US and Turkey are the top 3 apple-growing countries. There are over 7,500 different types (cultivars) of apple including cooking apples, eating apples and cider apples. Apples come in different sizes and the colours range from golden-brown russets through yellows and greens to pink and red shades.We can munch on crisp, sharp green Granny Smiths, sweet and nutty Egremont Russets or pretty Pink Ladies, or else cook with plump green floury Bramleys; the list is endless...

Uses:
Apples can, of course, be eaten fresh and raw straight off the tree. They also make great crunchy salad ingredients. Alternatively, both cooking varieties and the sweeter dessert apples can be used to bake cakes, pies, flans, crisps and crumbles. Baked whole apples, cored, and stuffed with dates, raisins and cinnamon are a real cold-weather treat for breakfast or dessert. Apple juice (called apple cider in America) is a sweet drink packed full of natural sugars. Apple sauce, a puree of cooked apple flesh, can be served with savoury meals or used to sweeten cakes and desserts (as is the more syrup-y apple juice concentrate). In Turkey they even have a drink made from powdered dehydrated apple and sugar, to which you just have to add boiling water. Chewy pieces or rings of dried apple make a fantastic snack or a tasty ingredient in baked or raw confectionery such as cookies or bars. I'm sure you can think of your own favourite ways to serve apples- they really are good in anything- I have even made soup using them (apple and celery).

Health Benefits and Nutrition:
It has long been known that apples are good for you- as the old Welsh saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" shows. It is now thought that eating apples may reduce your risk of colon, prostate and lung cancers. And don't throw away your apples peelings either: they contain ursolic acid, which may increase muscle and brown fat while reducing white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease.
Your average apple, it is reckoned, weighs 242g and contains 126 calories. Apples are a great source of fibre and vitamin C. Another substance found in apples, pectin, not only contains fibre but is great for the digestive system as it can ease diarrhoea and the inflammation caused by IBS or colitis but also counteract constipation. (You may be used to using apple pectin to help set jams and jellies.)
Apples contain A and B vitamins as well as E and K, and some minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium. The antioxidants in apples help prevent diseases, too.


AWESOME APPLES EVENT!
Help us celebrate the apple harvest throughout October by sharing your vegetarian (no eggs please) or vegan apple recipes- linky tool below. Please include a link in your post to this page-archived posts are welcome as long as they are edited to include this link. You can submit as many recipes as you like.





3 comments:

  1. Thanks Mary for sharing your brilliant apple crisp recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have some apples in the apple bowl and hope to participate.

    ReplyDelete

You are welcome to comment- feedback from you really helps me to decide what to post, and I love hearing from you- thanks :)