It’s official! Fall season has begun. Crisper, cooler air temperatures are coming, leaves are changing their colors, and our days will soon become shorter. The scenery around us is changing and what is coming around the corner is something beautiful. My family’s schedule begins to slow down. We will be indoors a little more enjoying warm meals together. Football season will be in full force, and I will be pulling out my sweaters and boots and gearing up for the holidays that are coming our way.
This is the time of year when I look forward to being in my kitchen the most. Preparing seasonal foods–thank you squash, apples, and pumpkins—and making homemade gifts for my family and friends. One of my favorite fall memories is when our friends Mike and Laura came to visit my family here in Texas. They brought our family a bag of fresh apples that they had just picked from an apple farm in New Hampshire. It was such a special gift to receive, and to me, nothing says fall more. Even though we all may not have the opportunity to go fresh apple picking, I hope this new season brings you and your family special memories for many years to come.
Apples are Considered a Fall Fruit
One of my favorite fall fruits is the apple. Because we can purchase them year round, I think we often forget that they are technically a fall fruit. They are harvested late summer to autumn. There are so many varieties of apples, and I have seriously never met an apple that I didn’t like.
The Beauty of an Apple
I think apples are so beautiful. I almost always have a bowl of fresh, organic apples on my countertop. They are typically affordable, you can buy them year round, and they are filled with incredible nutritional benefits. They are one of the easiest fruits to eat, especially when you’re on the go. You can literally grab, eat, and run. They store easily, pack easily, and can be the base for many healthy recipes. If you eat a plant based diet or you are just looking to improve your overall health, don’t walk past the many bins of apples the next time you’re at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Bring some of these beauties home with you.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but I’ve always wondered if this was a true statement. Science says yes. If you are interested in scientific studies, you will enjoy this one.
I love when actual research has been conducted and can back up a claim that something is good for us. This particular study took different varieties of apples and tested them for their health benefits. It was found that apples were high in the phytochemicals that are also strong antioxidants. Antioxidants have been found to stop or help protect our bodies cells from oxidation damage. As far as fruits are concerned, apples rank second in antioxidant protection. Berries, like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, rank number one.
Apples are high in vitamin C and fiber. One medium apple contains about four grams of fiber. Along with the fiber, their vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, apples are great for lowering cholesterol and decreasing our risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, and even asthma.
Keep the Apple Skin On
Most of the health benefits are found in the apple skin as opposed to the apple flesh. So, even though you may be tempted to peel your apple, to get the most of its health benefits, keep the apple skin on.
Buy Organic Apples
Apples rank high on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list that is compiled each year.
This means that apples are one of the most highly pesticide sprayed fruits. When possible, buy organic apples.
So, how can you eat apples? I think they are pretty terrific eaten on their own. You can also eat them as an afternoon pick me up snack with a schmear of almond butter. They are yummy dehydrated, tossed into a salad, like my kale salad here, or would be a wonderful addition to a healthy smoothie.
But have you ever made homemade applesauce?
It’s one of the easiest things to make. It’s healthier to make homemade applesauce than to purchase it. You’ll know all the ingredients used (apples and water) and won’t have any secret ingredients added, like sugar. I suggest for optimal nutritional value, keep the apple peel on. If you use a high speed blender or a food processor to blend your apples, you won’t even notice that you left the apple peels on.
A quick note: Apples are healthiest eaten in their purest form, the apple itself. You will lose some nutritional benefits when cooking your apples to make applesauce, but it’s only a small amount, and will still be incredibly healthy and highly nutritious for you. This recipe doesn’t require high heat or boiling. It’s a light steam on medium heat for a short period of time. You just want to soften the apples.
Homemade Applesauce Recipe
- 8-10 medium sized apples
- ½ cup water
- Core and rough cut apples.
- Put apples and water in a large pot with lid on. The lid will help provide steam for the apples and help the apples come to a slow simmer.
- Steam for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Check apples, mashing them periodically until they are soft.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- You can leave your apples chunky or blend them smooth with a food processor or a high speed blender.
Use organic apples when possible.
It’s healthier to leave the apple peels on, but that is a personal preference.
You can leave your applesauce unsweetened, or you can sweeten with a healthy sweetener of your choice. You can also add a dash of cinnamon.
Debbie Whitehead is a licensed professional counselor (M.Ed, LPC), certified personal trainer (CPT), and certified nutrition coach. She owns a practice in Plano, Texas where she helps clients break free from trauma and live a beautiful life – mind, body, and soul.