15 Jun 2006

An Apple a Day

Apples have been a popular fruit for thousands of years. There have been many debates on their origin. Was it an apple in the garden of Eden ? There are hundrens of varieties of apples to suit every taste.

Due to their reputation that they are are a muscle tonic, diuretic, laxative, antidiarrheal, antirheumatic, and stomachic it is no wonder the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" was created.

Easy on the digestion, apples contain malic and tartaric acids that inhibit fermentation in the intestines. Apples are a good source of soluble fiber such as pectin which helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls and therefore reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. They also contain insoluble fiber which provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.

Apples contain flavonoids, antioxidants that improve immune function and prevent heart disease and some cancers. Green apples act as a liver and gall bladder cleanser and may aid in softening gallstones. Eating raw apples gives the gums a healthy massage and cleans the teeth.

A medium size apple is approx 80 calories and contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, zinc and folic acid. As most of their nutrients are contained just under the skin it is best to buy the organic variety, whenever possible, so the skin can be eaten.

Use of apples is very easy as they can be eaten raw and cooked in both sweet and savory dishes. Also Applesauce is often used as a fat substitute in cooking.

Apple and Brown Rice Pilaf

1/2 onion, minced
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 1/4 cups veg stock broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups tart apples, cored and diced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Saute onion in oil in non-stick pan until tender.
Sstir in rice and brown slightly.
Stir in stock, thyme, salt and pepper
Bring to boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat and simmer until liquid absoebed and the rice cooked.
Remove from heat; stir in apples and parsley.
Serve warm or cold. Makes 4 servings.

Apple-Oat Bars
Vegetarian Times
Charmingly old-fashioned, these wholesome bars pair the comforting flavors of apples and oats. They’re the perfect snack to pack in a lunch box or enjoy with a cup of tea.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
3 cups peeled, chopped tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9-inch square baking pan, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in mixing bowl. Using fork or fingertips, work in oil and cider until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press about 1 1/2 cups oat mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with apples. Mix walnuts into remaining oat mixture, sprinkle evenly over apples and pat into even layer.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Apple Shake

1 orange, juiced
2 green apples, seeded and chopped
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp brewers yeast

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Apple Butter with Carolina B.
This recipe makes roughly 40 ounces of apple butter. So you can make 5 small 8-ounce jars (great as gifts or house warming presents), or a couple large sized jars, it's up to you.

4 pounds of apples, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (we used a mix of empire, gala, and Fuji apples - but any type of flavorful apple will do)
Roughly 1/2 gallon of apple cider
2 cups of sugar (use roughly 1/2 cup per pound of fruit)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
Juice of one lemon

Prepare the jars: Heat oven to 225 and place jars (but not lids) on the baking racks. Jars will need to stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Wash the lids with hot water and let them dry completely on a clean towel.

Make the apple butter: In a big, heavy pot over medium/med-high heat add the apples and enough apple cider to just cover the apples. Bring to a simmer. A bit of a foam will form, you want to skim that off a couple of times (don't obsess). Cook the apples until they are tender throughout, roughly 20-30 minutes. Take the apples off the heat, let them cool for a couple minutes, and then puree in a blender, in small batches (don't fill the blender over half full with the hot liquid or you will have a mess). The puree should be the consistency of a thin applesauce.

Put the puree back in the big pot over medium heat. Bring puree to a simmer (you need it to hit 220F on a candy thermometer). Then, while stirring, slowly sprinkle in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice. Continue to simmer over medium/med-low heat. It takes quite a while from this point until the apple butter reduces and really thickens up, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours (try to keep it around 220F). Make sure you stir regularly, you don't want it to burn or cook to the bottom of the pot. You are looking for the apple butter to thicken up and darken. Towards the end it gets a bit messy, the simmer becoming more lava-like - it also sounds different, lots of plop and slop noises and lots of spattering coming from the pot. Remove from heat.

Fill your your biggest, deepest pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. The water level will need to cover the jars.

Fill the jars:Using tongs carefully remove each jar from the oven and fill to within 1/4 inch of the top with the apple puree. Wipe off rims with a clean dry paper towel. Place a dry lid on each jar and close tightly. Using tongs place each of the jars in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.


1 comment:

hermancool said...

wonderful articles,
you have many interesting articles..
i'm Herman from Bali, Indonesia
you can consume organic apple juice if you interest...
its has good taste and very fresh also very healthy...
but its product not in South Africa yet, because there are no distributor at South Africa...
if you want to see the apple juice article below is the site
but the article in indonesian language...

Be healthy,