One of the oldest fruits known to man, the wholesome apple is a classic, with over 7,000 varieties in North America. Whether they like vivid green, sunny yellow or bright red apples, everybody has a favourite way of eating them, be it on their own, in salads, baked or in a side dish. Apples have always been associated with health, although most people can't say why. They are a low-acid fruit that is easily digested and good for dental health (apples stimulate gums and increase saliva, helping to reduce bacteria in your mouth). Apples travel and keep well and make for a tasty, satisfying snack.
Selection and storage
Choose firm, bright-coloured fruit free of bruises or soft spots. Store them in a perforated bag in the refrigerator because leaving them out may cause them to become soft and mealy. They are ethylene producers, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster -- so keep them away from bananas, watermelon, kiwi, leafy greens, carrots and green beans.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away in more ways than one. They are low in calories and high in fibre. Pectin, a soluble fibre, helps to reduce blood cholesterol and control blood sugar. Apple skin contains cellulose, an insoluble fibre, which helps to prevent constipation. Quercitin, a phytochemical with anti-inflammatory benefits and associated with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, is also present in apples. Quercitin is in and near the skin, so wash it well and sink your teeth in. Cooking reduces the fibre and flavonol content, so fresh is best.
Worried about wax?
Apples are sometimes coated in wax to make them look better, keep them from drying out and protect them from decay. Although the wax is edible, wash apples well to try to capture the full flavor of the apple (rather than the wax).
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