In this photo: Lots of fresh sweet Oklahoma-grown apples from my friends Vicki Rose, Christine Patton and Doug Hill turned into a plethora of healthy snacking. And, you know that old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” … well, turns out there’s quite a bit of truth to that.
Apples are a member of the rose family, come in a wealth of varieties, are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and dietary fiber, and many of their health benefits come from phytochemicals, or plant-based disease fighting compounds. Some of their health benefits:
- Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels.
- In some studies researchers found that eating five apples a week lowered the risk for respiratory diseases such as asthma.
- Apple cider vinegar can help prevent the formation of kidney stones
- Studies indicate that eating apples can reduce skin diseases.
- According to a Brazilian study, eating an apple before a meal can help women lose 33 percent more weight than those who don’t.
- Apples are packed with vitamins C, A and flavonoids, and have smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron, calcium and potassium. Potassium may promote heart health.
Although apples are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables known for “pesticide residues” according the Environmental Working Group’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, even if you don’t purchase organic apples (pesticide free), you can still eat conventionally grown apples and be reasonably safe from pesticides if you take the right precautions before eating. Wash your apples under running water, gently scrubbing the skins for about 15 seconds with a soft fruit and veggie brush, and rinse again before eating.
If you’ve got a bevy of apples, there are a variety of ways to process and preserve these sweet blessings. Some folks can apples, some freeze them, some make applesauce – you can even pickle apples!
We chose to use our food dehydrator for this hefty batch of apples, and they turned out beautifully, making a deliciously healthy snack we all love, food that’s easy to pop in a bag and tote around for nibbling as needed. I’m hoping we can find, pick and process at least one more batch this season.
Apple harvest is in full swing this time of year and picking your own is fun, a great family and friends activity, so head to a u-pick orchard near you. Need help finding an orchard? Try this nifty, searchable orchard directory, or this pick-your-own directory. Happy apple picking!