You may think you know everything there is to know about apples. However, there’s much more to them than just being a great pie filling or a favorite of teachers’ pets. These delicious and power-packed fruits have numerous health benefits and are also a great kitchen aid. It’s also important to keep in mind that certain apples are better than others for different uses. Once you find out what apples can do for you, you’ll be ready to pick up a bushel or two and put them to work.
Benefits and Uses for Apples
That old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away just may have some truth to it. Numerous studies tout the health benefits of eating apples on everything from weight loss to cancer prevention.
The pectin in apples lowers LDL cholesterol levels, and people who eat two apples each day can drop their levels by as much as 16 percent. Pectin also helps lower the body’s need for insulin, helping to manage diabetes. Another study found that apples may protect brain cells from free-radical damage that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Apples may also help strengthen your bones. A French study claims that apples can fight the development of osteoporosis and can increase bone density.
Perhaps the most amazing findings are related to the effects of eating apples on cancer prevention. Studies have found that apple consumption can reduce the risk of breast, colon, liver and lung cancers.
Not only can apples improve your health, but they can also improve your cooking. You already know they make a great ingredient, but did you know they can improve other ingredients?
The moisture emitted by apples has many benefits. You can extend the shelf life of a cake by simply storing it with half an apple, which will keep the cake moist. An apple can also help you cook a juicy chicken. Simply place an apple in the cavity and roast. Toss the apple afterwards and enjoy your juicy chicken.
Use apples to ripen tomatoes by placing one in a paper bag with up to six green tomatoes. The tomatoes will ripen in a couple of days. An apple wedge can also soften clumped brown sugar. Simply seal an apple wedge in a plastic bag along with the sugar; it will soften up in a day or two.
If you’ve overdone the salt in your soup, drop in a few apple wedges, which will absorb excess salt. Remove them after about 10 minutes.
Pick Your Apple!
If you’re ready to run out to the grocery store or orchard to pick up some apples, it’s important to keep in mind that different types of apples are better for certain uses than others. Lean more about apples from the U.S. Apple Association, and find the best times for apple picking at PickYourOwn.org.
Many apples are great for eating raw. Favorites include Braeburn, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, McIntosh and Red Delicious.
Certain apples are better for cooking, including Cortland, Golden Supreme, Ida Red, Liberty and Red Rome, since they can stand up to heat.
The best apples to use for homemade applesauce include Gala, Fuji, Pippin, McIntosh and Jonagold. Pippin, Rhode Island Greening, McIntosh, Elstar, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Gravenstein Pippin, Rhode Island Greening, McIntosh, Elstar, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Gravenstein If you’re interested in making apple cider, the best choice is the Winesap apple.
Then there’s the all-American apple pie. Granny Smiths are far and away the best for pies, although other firm varieties also work, such as Cameo, Cortland, Jonathan, Gravenstein, and Pink Lady. I usually use a combination of Jonathans and Granny Smiths.
Whether improving your health, your cooking, or your appetite, apples are a great pick and there are so many great Apple recipes to use them for.