Apples come in all sizes and flavors and all shades of yellow, green, and red. We choose from three or four varieties at the grocery store, ten to twelve at the farmers market. A shame really, as there are 7,500 varieties grown worldwide, 2,500 of them in the United States alone.
The wild ancestor of today’s domestic apples originated in Kazakhstan and can still be found in the mountains of Central Asia. The only apple native to America is the crabapple. We can thank the colonists in the early 1600s for bringing apple trees to North America.
Apples are in season in North America from late summer to early winter. They are now available year round because they keep well in cold storage and we import apples from the Southern Hemisphere.
If you peel your apples, you miss out on many of the benefits of this incredibly healthy food. Unpeeled apples are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble and they contain pectin, flavonoids, phenols, and vitamin C. They promote regularity, lower cholesterol levels, remove heavy metal toxins from the body, reduce risk of heart disease, help prevent free radical damage, and bolster the immune system. Studies also link apples with decreased risk of cancer, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes.
Choose firm, unbruised apples. Fully ripened fruits have the most antioxidants. Whole apples are much better for you than juice, and juicing yourself is better than store bought since laws in most states now require pasteurization, killing off nutrients and enzymes. If you do choose to buy your juice, don’t buy it clear; buy it cloudy for a higher flavonoid content. You’ll neutralize more free radicals. Do buy organic. Conventional apples are one of a dozen fruits and vegetables shown to carry the most
Although we are sharing recipes to cook this versatile fruit, we recommend you eat one raw apple every day to reap its full health benefits. Remember that old saying?