Apples are versatile, portable, inexpensive,
and unlike a lot of other fruit, they store well.
They also have quite a few surprising health benefits. There’s good reason why we have the saying “An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away”.
Let’s look at some of the ways your health can benefit from eating apples regularly.
Apples Can Help You Lose Weight Safely
Apples make for a great snack that will help you lose weight. They are low in calories with only
about 90 calories for a medium apple. This humble little fruit is also packed full of fiber and it includes a lot of water. Both of these help you stay fuller longer.
Start having one or two apples a day, preferably before your main meals and see
if you don’t start to eat less overall and start losing pounds.
Apples Can Lower Your Risk For Heart Disease
The fiber in apples is soluble fiber. It turns out that apples contain phytonutrients or phytochemicals which act as antixiodents against LDL the damaging portion of cholesterol in the blood stream.
And it only takes 2 apples a day to make a difference.
Apples May Be One Key For Reducing Your Risk For Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
People who eat apples on a regular basis, have a lower risk for developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Part of that is due to the fact that the fiber in apples keeps us full longer and we’re less likely to gain weight – a major risk factor for both of these medical issues. The other part is phytonutrients that we don’t quite completely understand. Yet, antioxidants and other nutrients in apples seem to have a positive effect on our body and how it processes food.
Apples Boost Your Immune System
Apples are packed with vitamin C which as you know helps boost your immune system and fight off infection. That’s why you’re told to take vitamin C or drink orange juice when you feel a cold coming on. As it turns out, apples are vitamin C power houses. Eat them during cold and flu season to give your immune system that extra boost to make it through without getting sick.
Apples Reduce Risks for Certain Cancers
Apples may even help you prevent cancer. That’s pretty amazing for one little humble fruit. Apples like many other fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants. Those little compounds attach themselves and neutralize cancer causing free radicals. The soluble fiber in apples helps keep your digestive system in order, possibly preventing the dangerous colon cancer.
How To Store Apples
One of my favorite things about fall is that apples are in season. While you can certainly get them year around at your local grocery store, fall is when they really come into their own.
You can find the tastiest, freshest apples from September through November and you can find some great deal – particularly when you buy local or grow your own. The problem then is of course how to best store all those apples once you get them home.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you make them last.
Start by checking every single apple for bruising or rot. A single rotting apple stored with the rest will cause all your apples to ripen, and then over-ripen quickly. Only healthy apples that don’t have nicks or bruises and aren’t too ripe yet should be stored. Sort out the rest and use them for eating, baking, and cooking with right away. You can also preserve those apples by turning them into apple sauce or apple pie filling and canning or freezing the finished product as needed.
Sort your apples by variety, and then by size. Larger apples will go bad faster than others and different apple varieties have different shelf lives. You want to be able to eat and use the apples that will go bad faster first. Keep the smaller apples of long lasting varieties for last and you’ll have fresh and delicious apples well into winter and even early spring. Tart, thick-skinned apples usually last the longest. Keep that in mind as you pick different apple varieties.
Don’t store your apples in plastic. Instead choose crates or baskets that allow the fruit to breath. Apples emit ethylene, a gas that helps ripen fruit. You want the air to flow around your apples and allow excess ethylene to escape otherwise your apples will ripen and rot much faster.
You may have heard of this principle in action when you put an apple in a brown bag with green bananas to encourage them to ripen faster.
If you’re storing apples, you want to slow down that ripening process.
Store the crates or baskets of apples in a dark, cool place. Basements are great, provided they are dry and get good air flow. Your pantry is another good option. Store your apples away from onions and potatoes for best results. If you are only storing a small amount of apples, the crisper drawer in your fridge is another option.
Inspect your apples regularly and pick out any fruit that’s starting to rot. This will prevent all your apples from going bad. Get in the habit of inspecting your apple harvest once a week, or anytime to dig in to pick fresh apples for eating.