Plants on Your Plate: Apples
Apples and autumn go together like peanut butter and jelly—or maybe apple butter? I have many fond memories – as a child and as an adult – that coincide with apple harvest. Growing up in south-central Kansas, we had a couple prolific Jonathan apple trees on our farm were usually ready to pick in September. There were many years during my adolescence that my brothers and their friends would load up their pockets with apples while they were loading up livestock to go to the Kansas State Fair. Decades years later, as a mom, my own children looked forward to apple picking at local orchards in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas.
Apples, like many fruits, are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C help to reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin C also helps in reducing bruising, aids in wound healing and helps in overall skin and gum health. Potassium is an important mineral in regulating blood pressure. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is beneficial in controlling cholesterol as well as digestive and bowel health.
Some of the more common fall apple varieties for our region are Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Winesap. When selecting Braeburn apples, look for large, firm red fruit. These apples have a well-balanced flavor and are best for fresh eating. While Fuji apples might not always be the most attractive red apple, they are very sweet and juicy, making them a great choice for fresh eating. The ever-popular green Granny Smith apple is known for its firm, crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor and is good for fresh eating, salads, or processing. Winesap apples are considered by some people to be the red equivalent to Granny Smiths, as they are equally crisp and tart, making them good choices for fresh eating, salads, or processing.
A fun way to celebrate apple harvest this fall is to join in the Missouri Crunch Off, a collaborative event between MU Extension, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Senior Services, and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This event commemorates Farm to School month and promotes locally grown produce. While this effort started with schools, it has grown beyond the educational sector and even has a multi-state competition of sorts. Gather your students, coworkers, community members and local food enthusiasts to crunch into Missouri Grown apples or other produce during the month of October. You can learn more at https://dese.mo.gov/media/pdf/missouri-crunch-2022
If you are simply looking for new ways to enjoy apples, you might want to try this muffin recipe. Full of whole grains, fruit, and nuts, they are a great ‘grab and go’ breakfast or even a treat for the teacher’s lounge or breakroom at work.
Apple Oatmeal Muffins
(9 servings, 2 muffins each)
2 ¼ c water
2 ½ c rolled oats
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ c skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon cloves
2 medium apples, finely chopped
¼ c chopped dried cranberries
¼ c chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
Nutrition information: Calories: 215, Total Fat: 8.5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 30mg, Carbohydrates: 29g, Fiber: 4.5g, Protein: 6g
Recipe adapted from Seasonal and Simple, analyzed by verywellfit.com
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