Last weekend I returned home under some unfortunate circumstances but was delighted to have a fun opportunity presented my way. My Dad and I go apple picking at least once a year and welcomed the idea of my Mom, Caitlin, Aaron and Lottie joining us for a new tradition. We frequented “Willis Family Fruit Farm” which is in the outskirts of Oakville also know as Milton, Ontario! What I love about the farm is that it is family owned and those selling the apples are the same individuals that look after the apple trees throughout the year. It’s rewarding to show your appreciation for Ontario Farmers by supporting local produce. Ironically this week I was assigned to read a nutrition article that stated that individuals forget that food doesn’t just come from restaurants or supermarkets and instead comes from land and the sea. It’s so true that many of us pay little attention to our roots.
By no means is apple picking any cheaper (quite the contrary) than purchasing apples at the grocery store but it makes for a fun excursion that provides plenty of fresh air, fitness and photo taking opportunities. Lottie got to measure herself with their “How Tall This Fall” board and she was just over 2 feet tall. It generously measured me at 5’3”! Willis Family Fruit Farm is one of the few farms in my area that doesn’t have an entrance charge plus they let you try samples of apples so that you can find your preferences. It’s nice that they have such a selection of apples from Sparten to Jonagold, Wealthy to Empire and of course the common Golden and Red Delicious. Typically I am a Royal Gala girl but this year I found the Honeycrisp and Gingergold to be equally enjoyable. Of course had I had time to make applesauce or apple crisp, I would have chosen softer varieties such as Mutsu, Macoun and McIntosh.
So could an apple a day really keep the doctor away? I had a pretty bad cold last week and after eating 10 small apples in one week I am feeling better, but I don’t think that is enough proof to have the saying verified. What I can tell you is that apples are low in calories, free of fat, sodium and cholesterol and are an excellent source of fibre. Apples are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B6, Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Folate, Vitamin K, Niacin and Vitamin C. Many of these nutrients are found in the peel of an apple. Apples also contain Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and even trace amounts of Iron. As well, apples are high in antioxidants (phytochemicals) which makes them effective in fighting various diseases. Antioxidants strengthen the body’s ability to shield off free radicals that are side products of chemical reactions within your body. These free radicals are what are known to trigger various illnesses.
There have been so many studies done to…
- Prove that chewing an apple reduces tooth decay because it stimulates the production of saliva in one’s mouth which wards off bacteria
- Link the consumption of apple juice with a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s since apple juice fight the effects of aging (study involving mice)
- Correlate the antioxidants found in apples with an added protection against Parkinson’s
- Show that the flavanols in apples can reduce one’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer and that the apple peel helps with anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast.
- Study whether women who eat at least one apple a day are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- Assess how the phenolic compound found in apple skin prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls
So many people fear apples because like most fruit, they contain a high amount sugar. However these sugars are natural and paired with the high-fibre content of apples, the sugar is released into the bloodstream slower which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady.
Apples have always been my favourite year round fruit. I’ll never forget how my grade 1 teacher could twist an apple in half using only the strength in her hands and arms! In my opinion apples are great snacks and I enjoy eating them whole or sliced, heated with cinnamon, baked into a pie or cooked into oatmeal. I typically choose apples that look firm, are well coloured and have a smooth skin free of bruises. Apples have a long expiration period so they store well either in the fridge or in a fruit bowl on the counter for up to 90 or so days. The only unappealing part about apples is when their inside is exposed to air since it oxidizes to a brown colour. One tip is to dip cut apples into 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts water! Apparently orange and apple juice works just as well if you don’t like the taste of lemons.
All round Apples are a fun food. Does anyone else feel obligated to eat an Apple as they play the game Apples to Apples? Easy to pick and even easier to eat, apples are nutritious and delicious. It’s been a while since I posted, let alone posted about healthy eating so I’m happy to be back with a fresh fall fruit. William Family Fruit Farm also sells pumpkins so I hope to visit the patch later in September. Fall definitely has its perks! What is your favourite apple variety? Do you enjoy the skin of an apple or do you peel it away? Do you believe in old wise tales? ♥ Molly
Fun Fact: The apple tree originated in Central Asia and today China is the leading producer of apples.