96 apple recipes and counting…
The ultimate symbol of good health, start looking around and it seems you’ll see an apple in every logo from your dietitian and dentist’s office to your elementary school and even auto body shop! For centuries, apples have represented health, vitality, prosperity, learning, love, temptation and more. The proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” can be traced all the way back to 1866 in Wales.
Apples are indeed a valuable part of a healthy diet. Perhaps their biggest health claim to fame is that they provide both soluble and insoluble fibre. This makes them a great choice for blood sugar control, satiety (feeling full), weight management, keeping cholesterol in check and of course, regularity. Apples are a great source of energizing carbohydrates and supply vitamin C, although in lower amounts than many other fruits such as berries and citrus fruits. One medium sized apple, like many other fruits, supplies just under 100 calories, and no fat.
Even with these merits, it can certainly be debated as to whether or not an apple a day will in fact keep the doctor a way. Digging deeper into the origins of this phrase, it actually began as “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread”. Turns out, in Old English, the word apple was used to describe any round fruit that grew on a tree. Even in some interpretations of Adam and Eve’s forbidden fruit, the apple was simply called “a fruit”. Nutritional science has proven that in parts of the world where the most fruit and vegetables and the least meat products are consumed, people are indeed healthier. Thing is, science has also shown that a very well-balanced diet including a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrate, fat and all the vitamins and minerals needed is a great way to keep the doctor away. So yes, an apple can be part of this. But don’t rely on it alone as your sole defense against illness! That said, an apple is a fantastic late afternoon snack. It hydrates and can do wonders to keep your appetite in check until dinner, preventing you from grazing on less healthy choices! I also love the idea of assessing whether or not an apple would satisfy you when you feel hungry for a snack in the evening. If you’re feeling hungry, ask yourself, “Do I feel like eating an apple?” If the answer is no, it’s possible you’re not hungry for food but perhaps are thirsty, tired, bored, needing to connect with a friend or change activities.
As to how to best eat apples, let me tell you…the list is long. Even if just eating apples straight up, there are actually thousands of known varieties, but at least 10-15 different ones available in most grocery stores. For eight years, I had the pleasure of developing one new recipe a month for a major Canadian apple grower. Seems like an easy gig right? Apples are delicious in classic pies and crisps, or in pies and crisps mixed with other fruit like strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, pears or blackberries. Then there’s applesauce, apple chutney, even apple salsa – chopped tart apples with red onion, cilantro and lime – perfect with grilled pork or fish. During my years with this apple job, I came up with close to 100 apple recipes! Yep, I had to get creative. Some of my favourites included: warm apple cinnamon crepes, apple fennel quiche, caramel apple spring rolls, curried apple rice pilaf, apple three bean salad….I could go on…96 recipes to be exact. If you love apples in many different formats, an online search for “apple recipes” is a great way to find countless ideas. And, be sure to watch our upcoming show, “Fall for Fruits” where we profile apples in a delicious pork dish – apples and pork just seem like they were made for each other!