The apple of your eye

Kellie Collins

It’s that time of year again – the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees, the days are getting shorter, and the cool autumn air is perfect for a brisk walk of an evening. It’s also the season when apples are harvested and whisked off to be sold in markets and at the roadside, so what better time to munch on a delicious, crisp Golden Delicious than when it’s in season.

Apples are a great diet food. A medium-sized apple has only about 60 calories, virtually no fat and lots of fibre – about 2.7 grams. In fact, apples are one of the best sources of fibre and contain more than bananas, oranges and pears – but only with the skin on! Apples are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

The great thing about apples is that they are the ultimate convenience food – you don’t need to peel them and they are always handy to have when you feel a snack attack coming on. There are so many varieties to choose from, with so many beautiful colours, that you could never get bored of apples – Granny Smith, Braeburn, Royal Gala, Jonagold, Cox’s Orange Pippin and my favourite - crunchy Golden Delicious.

Apples Unpeeled

- Apples originated in the Middle East more than 4000 years ago and there are now more than 2100 varieties of dessert, culinary and cider apples.

- In the UK, almost 21lbs of apples are eaten per person per year.

- The UK is the only country that grows apples especially for cooking, with more than 140,000 tonnes of Bramley apples sold annually.

- Nearly 60% of British consumers believe that the Granny Smith is British but in fact it originated in Australia in 1868!

- Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air.

- If you put an apple in a bag of onions it is said to keep them moist and if you put an apple in a bag of potatoes, it is supposed to keep them from sprouting.

Researchers have recently found evidence to suggest that an apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. A study in London found that good lung function was associated with high intakes of the antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) which are found in citrus fruits, apples and fruit juices. Apples and apple juice also contain a group of compounds called phytonutrients which can delay the break down of LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol!). This may slow down the process that can lead to coronary heart disease.

So next time you’re feeling peckish reach for an apple – and don’t just stop there! Try to incorporate apples into cooking and release all that delicious flavour whilst rewarding yourself with all the benefits to be had from this ‘core’ ingredient!

Autumn Apple Salad

4 tart green apples, cored and chopped

30 g blanched slivered almonds, toasted

30 g dried cranberries

30 g chopped dried cherries

200 ml container low fat vanilla yoghurt

In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, almonds, cranberries, cherries and yoghurt until evenly coated. Makes 4 servings for a delicious dessert.

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