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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

An apple a day ... in a new way

By Melissa Boncher, Hy-Vee Dietitian | Oct 19, 2017

Sweet, tart, crisp or crunchy — no matter what your preference, there’s a variety of apple that’s perfect for you. With flavors ranging from sweet tart, sharp tart, zesty, spicy sweet and honey-like to mellow sweet, apples are an amazing fall treat.

Flavor-infused waters are all the rage right now. A new way to enjoy apples and make sure you are well-hydrated at the same time is to make apple-flavored water. To make apple cinnamon-flavored water:

1. Take an empty glass pitcher or other beverage container. Wash your favorite medium-sized eating apple thoroughly before slicing, and remember: thinner slices will allow more flavor to seep out into the water than thicker slices.

2. Muddling, or slightly mashing the apples with the back of a spoon or a potato masher, will break the cell walls of the apple flesh to release more flavor.

3. Next, add cinnamon sticks. Start with two or three sticks, adding more for a stronger flavor.

4. Add filtered still water or sparkling water to the apple/cinnamon stick mixture and refrigerate several hours to allow the flavors to meld together. Enjoy!

Popular “eating apples” in the Midwest include Honeycrisp, Gala, Jazz, Cortland, Macintosh, Haralson, Ida Red, Zestar, SweeTango, Paula Red, Braeburn, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady.

Nothing says “fall” like fresh, homemade apple sauce or a slice of warm apple pie made with Grandma’s TLC. Apples particularly suited for cooking or baking include Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Haralson, Empire, Ginger Gold, Jonagold, Jonathon, Northern Spy Fuji, Rome Beauty and Baldwin.

Many Hy-Vee stores will have apple tastings featuring commercial apples and apples from local orchards as the apple harvest gets underway. Take advantage of apple tastings when possible because a new favorite may be waiting to be discovered by you! Once your favorite apple varieties have been chosen, choose apples for purchase that don’t have bruising and have the rich coloring of reds, yellows and greens particular to the variety. The apple should feel firm and heavy compared to its size. For best results, apples should be stored in a 35-40°refrigerator. Placing apples in a perforated plastic bag before refrigerating allows for an exchange of air, but slows dehydration.

Snacking on apples rather than eating sugary candy or drinking sugary drinks is a great way to practice a healthy lifestyle. Apples are rich in soluble fiber, the fiber that absorbs and eliminates bad cholesterol from the body and may also play a role in preventing gallstones. Apples also contain insoluble fiber, beneficial for digestion and a feeling of fullness to help curb the appetite between meals. Pigments in the apple peel contain health-protecting compounds called flavonoids, and the vitamin C found just under the peel promotes wound healing and immune health. Apples also provide potassium beneficial for heart health. Did you know eating an apple even stimulates saliva production in the mouth, which helps reduce levels of bacteria linked to tooth decay?

The only thought left is have you had your apple today either as an old favorite or in a brand-new way?

 

Dried Apples

Serves 8 (6 slices or chips each)

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes (or 3 hours 40 minutes)

 

All you need

4 cups water

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 large apples, unpeeled if preferred

 

All you do

1. Position rack in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 200 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine water and lemon juice in a medium bowl. (The lemon juice helps prevent browning.)

3. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, slice 2 large apples as thin as possible, about 1/8-inch thick. (We skip peeling and coring because we like the look of the dried skins and the pretty pattern the core makes in the center.) Soak the slices in the lemon water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat as dry as possible with paper towels. Place on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer.

4. Bake the slices on the upper and lower racks for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and turn each slice over; return the pans to the oven. Bake 1 more hour for soft dried apples or about 2 more hours for crispy apple chips. (Timing depends on your oven, the type of apple and thickness of the slices; check periodically and adjust the total time as needed.) Turn off the oven, crack the door and leave the apples in until the oven cools completely, 1 to 2 hours.

 

To make ahead: Store airtight for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Tip: For crispy apple chips, bake the apples about 1 hour more.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 29 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 0g protein.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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