October: Picking the Best Apples by Food Fitness Faith

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It's October, and that means Apple Season! From the time my youngest could walk, we went apple picking in October. My kids may be grown now, but the smell of apple pie baking in the oven still brings to mind those good times. Walk down memory lane with me a bit, or just scroll down to the rest of this article.


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LAST APPLE PICKING TRIP BEFORE BECOMING EMPTY NESTERS

REBECCA’S AT COLLEGE AND GREG WILL BE THE FOLLOWING YEAR 


Well, time moves on, and I’m so glad we had a few traditions, like apple picking in October! Enough of my memories though. Whether you pick your apples at an apple farm or from the bin at a grocery store, here are some important facts to know, to help you pick out the best!


Apples are not only delicious in pies and other desserts, but they are equally satisfying just as they are. Try the different varieties you can find now at the farmer’s markets.


Apples are also packed with health benefits, but you'll want to purchase organic apples or at least find a local grower who uses minimal chemicals.


Today, conventional apples are sprayed with up to 42 different toxic chemicals, according to a USDA test of apples done in 2005, before the testing was discontinued. If you follow the Environmental Working Group's ratings of most heavily sprayed produce, you’ll see that apples top their list!


The Rodale Institute, a non-profit that has been studying the best organic farming methods for over 60 years, set out to determine just how difficult it would be to grow organic apples compared to conventionally grown apples. Thirty years after their project began, they are not only growing orchards full of delicious organic apples, but have helped other apple farmers do the same. Now, organic apples can be found at almost all grocery stores.


If you think you can buy conventional apples and just wash them well, think again. Although a vinegar water bath can remove many of the surface pesticides, some types penetrate the skin and go into the flesh of the apples. Once again, organic is best!


Since the majority of the antioxidants found in apples are located in the skin, don't peel them them if you want the full nutritional package. Apples are high in vitamins C, A, and B, and thus support the immune and metabolic systems. They are a rich source of minerals that support healthy blood pressure levels and boron for strong bones. Apples are also a good source of fiber, especially pectin, with can help lower cholesterol and remove heavy metals like mercury from the body. It's interesting to me that as a kid, my mother always added apples to our tuna salad. She naturally and unwittingly protected us from the high levels of mercury found in tuna.


The unique combination of phytonutrients in apples are extremely beneficial for heart health and cell health (anti-cancer). Additionally, apples have recently been found to help regulate blood sugar levels and protect against asthma and lung cancer. Nutrients in apples are showing preliminary promise for age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and macular degeneration.


So, eat an apple a day! Just remember to wash apples well with vinegar and water and try to buy organic or local produce from farmers who use little to no pesticides.


Compared to conventional apples organic apples are best!

As a special treat, try my recipe of the month, Maple Nutmeg Apple Crisp.


References

Why I Only Eat Organic Apples and Why You Should Too.

Rodale, M. November 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/organic_b_3936789.html

The Rodale Institute http://rodaleinstitute.org/about-us/

What Are Apples Good For? http://foodfacts.mercola.com/apple.html#_edn

What Are the Health Benefits of Apples? Mercola. October 2013

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/28/apple-health-benefits.aspx

What's New and Beneficial About Apples? http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=15

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™