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Apples: The Not-So-Forbidden Fruit

Apple cider, apple juice, apple pie, applesauce, apple crisp, apple cake…the list goes on and on! The ubiquitous apple conjures up a number of images—the heralding of autumn, the most predictable food in the lunch bag, the comforting aromas of Thanksgiving pies, and a symbol that has become associated with health. Apples are so common that they are often taken for granted. However, whether you are an apple polisher, an apple eater, a bad apple, the apple of someone’s eye, or as American as apple pie, there is still a lot to learn about this delicious, nutritious, and versatile fruit.

How Do You Like These Apples?

Apples are delicious, low in calories, portable, versatile, and inexpensive. They come in many shades of red, green, and yellow, making them just as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.

Apples can be sweet, tart, crisp, and crunchy, or soft and smooth, depending on the type you choose. There is a type of apple to suit almost anyone’s taste, but most people have only tried a few of the common types. Some varieties of apples in the United States include:

Other popular varieties of apples include Braeburn, Cameo, Ginger gold, Honey Crisp, and Pink Lady.

Nutritional Value

Apples have many nutrition benefits. They are low in calories, have no fat, and are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. This chart shows the nutrient content of one apple.

One medium (2½ inch) apple, fresh, raw, with skin
Calories81
Carbohydrate21 grams
Dietary fiber4 grams
Calcium10 milligrams (mg)
Phosphorus10 mg
Iron0.25 mg
Sodium0.00 mg
Potassium159 mg
Vitamin C8 mg
Vitamin A73 IU
Folate4 micrograms (mcg)

Selection and Storage

For the most appetizing apple-eating experience, follow these tips for selecting, storing, and preparing apples:

Apple-tizing Recipes

Baked Apples

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Combine vinegar, juice, butter, and sugar in a 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish. Cut off top ¾ inch of apples to make lids. Scoop out cores with a melon-ball cutter and replace lids. Put apples in baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in middle of oven until very tender but still intact, 1 to 1 ¼ hours.

Transfer apples to plates and boil pan juices with brandy in a saucepan until reduced to about 1 cup. Fill apples with crème fraiche and serve with sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Gourmet, October 2001

Apple-Tortellini Salad

Ingredients:

Combine apple juice concentrate, corn syrup, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic salt, and pepper. Cover dressing and refrigerate.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and cool thoroughly. In large mixing bowl, combine tortellini and remaining ingredients. Toss gently with apple juice dressing and serve immediately. Makes six 1-1/3 cup servings.

Source: Michigan Apple Committee

RESOURCES:

American Dietetic Association
http://www.eatright.org/Public/

United States Apple Association
http://www.usapple.org

References:

Knekt P, Kumpulainen RJ, et al. Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002:76:560-568.

United States Apple Association. Available at:http://www.usapple.org.

Washington Apple Commission. Available at:http://www.bestapples.com/.

Last reviewed October 2013 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 10/14/2013