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Apples: versatile, healthy and delicious

Cooking+Nutrition

ApplesDo you really believe that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? If you think this is just an old saying created by great-grandmothers with the intention of convincing their little ones to bite into apples, think again. Apples are one of the healthiest fruits we can have day in and day out

Beyond vitamins & minerals
One apple provides on average 10% of our daily need of vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant, protecting our bodies from free radicals damage. During times of stress, the consumption of vitamin C rich foods is even more important, since stress can deplete the body from vitamin C.

It also contains several B vitamins necessary for many functions in our body, such as liver and adrenal support. Vitamin K1, involved in blood clotting, is also present in small amounts. 

Among the minerals, potassium is found in higher concentration. It is important to cardiovascular health since it balances sodium in the body. Magnesium and manganese are also found in small quantities. 

Although all these nutrients are essential to our health, what makes apples a really special fruit is its fiber and phytonutrients.

Fiber: pectin is a special kind of soluble fibre. It feeds the good bacteria in our gut which is linked to overall health from blood sugar regulation to immune response and hormonal balance. Soluble fiber also binds with cholesterol in order to discard it from the body. The insoluble part of apple’s fiber can help ease constipation. Together, both kinds of fiber are responsible for slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates and consequently the rate of glucose being released into the bloodstream.

Phytonutrients: among the thousands found in apples, calcium D glucarate deserves special mention for its role in supporting the liver detoxify harmful substances, especially excess oestrogen.

The variety of apples and its uses

Before biting your next apple, take a look into the characteristics of the most common varieties and what they are good for.

  • Red Delicious:  soft and slightly sweet. Better to be eaten raw.
  • Golden Delicious: crisp and a bit tart. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods. Can be frozen.
  • Granny Smith: crunchy and very tart. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods. Can be frozen as well.
  • Gala: crisp and sweet. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods. Can be used to make apple cider vinegar.
  • Fuji: crunchy and very sweet. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods. Can be frozen.
  • Pink Lady: crisp and sweet. Good if consumed raw or in baked goods.
  • Ambrosia: very sweet. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods. Can be frozen as well.
  • McIntosh: juicy and sweet. Good for eating raw and for sauces.
  • Cortland: firm, not too sweet, not too tart. Good if consumed raw, cooked or in baked goods.
  • Empire: mix of sweet and tart.  Can be used for any purpose, from juiced to dehydrated.

Now that you have the basics about apples, let me share one of my family's favourite recipe. This apple pie is so easy to make that is called lazy pie. My grandmother used to bake it on Sunday afternoons and serve it at supper. I adapted some of the original ingredients for healthier ones.

Lazy pie

Time preparation: 15 minutes | Resting time: 20 minutes | Baking time: 30 minutes | Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 fuji apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Handful of raisins (optional)
  • Cinnamon (enough to sprinkle over the apples)
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs

Preparation

  1. Spread the apples on a greased and floured pyrex. If using raisins, spread them among the apples.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flours, sugar and baking powder. Pour over the apples evenly. Spread the melted coconut oil over the white mixture. It won't cover the whole surface but it should cover most of it. If needed, you can melt a little bit more to cover a larger surface.  
  4. Beat the eggs and spread over the pie. This time, it has to cover the whole surface. Let rest for 20 minutes.  
  5. Bake in 350 o F for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown.

By Fernanda Cano - Cycles of Life Nutrition



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