An Apple a Day Really Does Keep the Doctor Away
Over half of all apples eaten in America come from Washington. This is the time of year to take advantage of our state's great local produce!
An apple a day really helps keep the doctor away, especially for older adults. Apples are good sources of natural fibers that can lower cholesterol and help with bowel regularity. They are also low in sodium and low in calories, which makes them great for the kidneys, heart, and waistline.
There are more than 200 common apple varieties—plenty to choose from! Some are great for eating fresh while others are best for pies or baking. Others cook into the most wonderful applesauce. (If you want to test this theory, try baking a pie with Delicious varieties and you will have tasteless mush.)
For apples to eat fresh, try Fuji, Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Gala apples are also good and have a thin skin, so they are easier to bite into if you wear dentures.
For pies, try Bramleys or Granny Smiths. The best baked apples are Rome Beauties—the shape is wonderful and they are large enough to stuff. Gala apples are another good choice for baking.
The best applesauce comes from the 300-year-old apple variety called Gravensteins. Akanes, Jonagolds, McIntosh and Honey Crisps are good as well.
With all these choices, there's plenty of room to experiment. Mix and match varieties to personalize your apple recipes!
Fall Harvest Apple Sauce
It's fun to mix several varieties of apples for this recipe. Taste them first. If they are pleasantly sweet, like Akane, they probably don't need any sugar. If your mouth puckers when you take a bite, try adding about ½ to 1 cup sugar at the end of cooking.
- 1–3 pounds of apples
- ½ cup water
- Sugar, brown sugar, or honey (optional)
- Cinnamon (optional)
- Nutmeg (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Peel, core, and slice apples.
- Put apples in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add about ½ cup of water to keep them from sticking.
- Place over medium heat and stir occasionally, about 10–15 minutes (until bubbling hard).
- Turn the heat down to low and stir, cooking about 30 minutes more. If you like smooth applesauce, wait until the apples are very soft, then stir hard until lumps are gone.
- Keep tasting the applesauce. As it thickens and condenses, it will get sweeter. If it's too tart, now is the time to add sugar or other sweetener. If your apples taste bland, try adding lemon juice and/or cinnamon, a teaspoon at a time.
- Serve warm, or store in the refrigerator for about a week. You can also put it into freezer containers, cool and then freeze to keep for one year.
Nutrition information: 62 calories, 16 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 1 mg sodium
- 2 firm-fleshed apples
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 2 teaspoons butter or margarine
- Core the apples. Cut strips of peel around the top and the middle.
- Place the apples in a microwave-safe dish (glass loaf pans work well).
- Mix together the raisins, nuts, brown sugar, and orange zest.
- Spoon the mixture into the apples, dividing evenly. Top with butter.
- Microwave on high for 15 minutes or until tender.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information: 259 calories, 48 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 51 mg sodium
Seniors Digest food columnist Katy Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers.