An Apple a Day….or Two?

4 10 2013
Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

I love fall! Not only is it one of the most picturesque seasons in the state of West Virginia, but some of my favorite foods are in season, ready to be enjoyed by the whole family. October is National Apple Month, and the colors, sizes and varieties of apples available right now are amazing! Apples make a delicious and portable snack. They are low in calories, inexpensive, and are readily available in any market.

Apples are nutrient rich, providing us with both soluble and insoluble fiber for heart and digestive health. They provide carbohydrates for energy, vitamin C and potassium. But don’t forget to keep the skins on! Almost half of their vitamin C is right underneath the skin, and about 2/3 of the fiber content and many antioxidants are found in the peel as well.  A medium sized apple only has about 80 calories and contains no sodium or fat. Best of all, they come in so many varieties … whether tart, sweet, crisp or crunchy… there is one to suit everyone’s taste!

Some fun apple facts: (some information below courtesy of the University of Illinois Extension)

  • The state fruit of West Virginia is the Golden Delicious apple
  • The crabapple is the only apple native to North America
  • 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the US
  • Most apples are still hand-picked in the fall
  • Apples ripen 6-10 times faster when at room temperature than when refrigerated
  • Two pounds of apples make one 9 inch pie
  • A bushel of apples weighs about 42lb and will make 20-24 quarts of applesauce

Apples can be used in many different dishes, from sweet to savory. Here are two great recipes to get the National Apple Month celebration started!

Bistro Apple Panini

Modified from Southern Living

Minutes to Prepare: 10            Minutes to Cook: 10

Serving size: 1 sandwich        

Ingredients

1 slice reduced sodium turkey bacon, cooked
2 medium slices Italian or other crusty bread
1/4 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
1 oz Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp light margarine (such as Olivio Light)

Tip: You can cook bacon in the microwave. Just place on a microwave safe plate lined with paper towels and cook on high to desired crispness. It will take less time to cook than regular bacon…so keep your eye on it!

Directions

Spread 1/2 Tbsp light margarine on 1 side of each slice of bread. Build sandwich by layering apples, cheese, and bacon slice. Spread underside of top slice of bread with 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard. Grill on indoor grill pan or in a frying pan until golden brown on both sides and the cheese starts to melt.

Nutritional Info (per sandwich): 258 calories, 10.7g fat, 20mg cholesterol, 599mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 14.5g protein

Applesauce

Homemade

Minutes to Prepare: 20            Minutes to Cook: 30

Makes: 12, 2/3c servings

Ingredients

8 medium cooking apples peeled and diced (I like to mix McIntosh and Rome or Gala)
1c water
1/4c packed brown sugar (optional)
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp nutmeg

Directions

Heat apples and water to boiling over med heat, stirring occasionally. Reuce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to break up apples. (You can use a potato masher). Add sugar and spices and allow to cook down to desired consistency and enjoy! Makes about about 2 quarts (12, 2/3c servings or 16, 1/2c servings)

Nutritional Info (per 2/3c serving): 79 calories, 0g fat, 2.5mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 0g protein

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