Apples: One of the earth’s most perfect foods

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You may have heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” That may be an understatement. In my opinion, it’s quite possible that apples are the reason the word “superfood” was invented. These red, green and yellow fruits are a favorite among people of all ages.

Oh, and they are seriously healthy for you!

A medium apple is about 95 calories and is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K. Plus, they are a great source of polyphenols, which are micronutrients packed with antioxidants. They have high fiber and water content which makes you feel full.

Apples have been linked to a lowering your risk of heart disease due to the soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Additionally, studies show that high intakes of the polyphenols called flavonoids can lower your risk of a stroke.

Apples help regulate our immune systems, increase bone density, and reduce inflammation. Some studies show that eating them regularly may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Other studies show they have been linked to lowering the risk of cancer.

The key takeaway here is that apples are really good for you and would be a great addition to almost any diet. To get the most health benefits, be sure to eat the entire apple - skin and all.

How to Select and Store Apples

Since apples come in multiple colors and shades of blush, choosing by color isn’t really an option. Instead, pick it up and examine it for soft spots and bruises. If it looks good, then gently squeeze it. If it feels somewhat soft, then it may be overripe.

Once you get them home, store them in the refrigerator...apples like the cold. If you store them in a fruit bowl on the counter, not only will they not last as long but they will ripen other fruits around them. Apples give off the ripening gas ethylene, so any fruits and veggies nearby will ripen quickly.

If you store them with enough humidity around 33 degrees, they can last for months!


Apples for Baking

Cortland apples are known for being tart, crisp and sweet with firm shape. They are perfect for salads, kebabs and pies.

Granny Smith are moderately sweet apples with crisp flesh and green skin. They are one of the most popular baking apples, especially for pies.

Johnathan apples have tart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red and yellow skin. These are also known for being great pie apples.

McIntosh are juicy and sweet, with a pinkish-white flesh and red skin. Mix these with Granny Smith for the perfect pie or sauce.

Winesap apples are very juicy with sweet-sour flavor. They are sturdy apples with a distinct smell and red skin. Try them to make the perfect for salad, cider, applesauce or wine-and-cheese treat.

Try these recipes:

Apple Donuts
Apple Donuts

Apple Peanut Butter Smoothie
Apple Peanut Butter Smoothie

Check out these Apple Facts from the University of Illinois

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