An apple a day...


Fall is in the air! And here in southern California, we are definitely feeling it (rain for a few days and overnight lows in the mid-40s) - we even had to turn our heater on for the first time! I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, but regardless of what part of the country, or world you are in, fall is here!


Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, including the autumn leaf color changes, the cooler weather, the fragrant smells of cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin pie, and of course the food! This time of year I’m in full-baking mode - anything with pumpkin, cinnamon, or apples! Recently, my family and I visited what I think is the cutest apple-picking farm in Southern California - Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California! We picked apples, took in the beautiful mountain scenery, and enjoyed a delicious BBQ. They had a wide variety of seasonal apples (and even some pears) to choose from, but the weekend we visited we picked granny smith and pippin apples.


Did you know there are more than 2,000 varieties of apples?!

We were so excited with the scents and scenery that we picked over 24 pounds of apples! Needless to say, I’ve been busy in the kitchen whippin’ up new apple recipes! Below is our new family favorite - applesauce with no added sugar! The kids and hubby liked it so much that I’ve made it 2x week for the past 3 weeks and will be making it for Thanksgiving!


When it comes to fruits and vegetables, I try to buy whatever is in season and local when possible. In Southern California, apples are "in season" from August (with the gala and red astrachan varieties peaking early) and extend through October (with the pippin, granny smith, and even the exotic Arkansas black closing out the season). The benefit of picking "in season" fruits and vegetables (aside from making it a fun family experience) is that the fruits and vegetables will be in their peak season for nutrient availability. Unfortunately, due to soil depletion and pesticide usage, many fruits and vegetables, including apples, have lost over 30% of their available vitamins and minerals since the 1960s. There was an old saying that stated “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” - but that was before our apples lost over 30% of their nutrients! So if you really want to keep the doctor away, be sure your apple is organic, in-season, and locally sourced.



6 health benefits of apples

  1. Nutritious

  2. Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin E, and polyphenols that contribute to the fruit’s numerous health benefits.

  3. One medium apple supplies about 14 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is considered a powerful antioxidant that’s important for skin, eye, immune, and brain health.

  4. Support weight loss

  5. Apples are particularly filling due to their high fiber and water content. Their polyphenols may also have anti-obesity effects. Because they have a good dose of dietary fiber, which contains zero digestible calories and is useful for sustaining healthy blood sugar levels, apples can satisfy your sweet tooth without weighing you down or adding to food cravings.

  6. Good for the heart

  7. Apples promote heart health in several ways. They’re high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. They also have polyphenols, which are linked to lower blood pressure and stroke risk.

  8. Promote gut health

  9. The type of fiber found in apples improves your gut-friendly bacteria, which may be why the fruit is thought to help protect against chronic diseases. Consuming plenty of fiber plus polyphenols has been shown to fight digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even cancers of the digestive system.

  10. Improve immune system

  11. Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system - especially when you’re stressed out.

  12. Great source of cancer-fighting antioxidants

  13. Apples are a high-antioxidant food and a very significant source of flavonoids. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 22 percent of the phenolic antioxidants consumed from fruits are from apples, making them the largest single source of these compounds.




Sources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-apples#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

https://draxe.com/nutrition/apple-nutrition/


 

No-sugar added applesauce


Ingredients

  • 3 lbs apples (about 8-11)

  • ½ cup water

  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Optional: ½ tsp stevia


Directions

  1. Prepare the apples by slicing and coring them - no need to peel, unless desired.

  2. Place the sliced apples and water in the bowl of your slow cooker, then cover and set to cook on low for 6 hours - until the apples are very soft.

  3. To make the applesauce smooth: use an immersion blender to puree the applesauce,

Store the applesauce in the fridge for a week, or freeze it for up to 6 months.



 



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