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Delicious, fresh, crisp, and sweet apples are the epitome of fall. With so many varieties to choose from, apples offer great versatility. In addition to making a perfect snack, they are excellent to cook with. Plus, they have fantastic health benefits.
Apples contain a good amount of dietary fiber and pectin, which have been shown to reduce bad "LDL" cholesterol levels and the risk of developing colon cancer. And the fiber in apples helps to keep you full, which makes them a great snack to tide you over until your next meal. Apples also contain phenolic and flavonoid compounds, like quercetin and catechin, which according to studies may be effective at reducing the risk of colon, prostate and lung cancer.
When choosing apples, be sure to look for those with a clean, firm skin (check them for any cuts or bruises) and make sure they have a bright color. Since apples are in season right now, you should be able to find many locally grown varieties at your grocery store or farmers market.
Apples should be stored in a cool, dark place and if stored properly can keep for weeks. So if your favorite variety goes on sale and you have the room to store them, stock up!
So, what to do with autumn’s abundance of apples? In addition to eating them on their own, you can bake them into pies, tarts, or muffins, cook them into applesauce, press them into cider, add them to salads, or just bake them up alone with a little sugar and some spices.
Pies and Tarts: Golden Delicious, Pippin, Granny Smith, Gravenstein
Applesauce: Pippin, McIntosh, Fuji, Gala, Gravenstein, Macoun
Baking: Jonagold, Rome, Cortland, Granny Smith, Pippin, Gala, Braeburn, Gravenstein
Salads: Macoun, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Gala, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp
Eating: All of them!
If you need some inspiration to get you started, check out the recipe below for “Apple Oat Muffins.”
Apple Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped apples (I used Gala)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking, rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups. Combine the apples and sugar; mix well. Add oil, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, oats, cinnamon, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture, stir until just combined; the batter will be very thick. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until tops are just set and a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!
Amount per muffin: Calories: 162, Fat: 5.3g, Dietary Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 8.7g
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