An apple a day provides respectable amounts
of both insoluble and soluble fibre (including pectin), some
vitamin C, and potassium. Apples are also a good source of quercetin,
a flavonoid that may help protect against heart disease. The
fruit is fibrous, juicy, and non sticky, making it a good tooth
cleaner and gum stimulator (although you should still brush
your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after eating an apple
because of the acids in the juice). Apples are widely available
and they store well if refrigerated; keeping them chilled preserves
their crispness and conserves their nutrients.
Shop where apples are kept cold, or they may be mealy and insipid.
Apples should be firm to hard—if you can dent them with
your fingers, they'll make disappointing eating. Large apples
are more likely to be overripe than smaller ones, so pay extra
attention to firmness when buying them. Apples should also be
well coloured for their variety. The skins should be tight,
unbroken, and unblemished, although brown freckles or streaks
(russeting) are characteristic of some varieties and do not
Cold temperatures keep apples in "suspended animation,"
preventing them from ripening further after they are picked.
Since most apples are picked at peak ripeness, additional "ripening"
actually means "decaying"—and this process speeds
up tenfold when the fruit is left at room temperature. Place
apples in plastic bags and keep them in the refrigerator. If
they were in good condition when you bought them, they should
keep for up to six weeks. Check them often and remove any decayed
apples, since one rotten apple can indeed spoil the whole barrel.
Wash apples before using. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife
to peel, if desired, removing the thinnest possible layer of
skin. To core apples, use an apple corer or quarter the fruit
and then cut out the semicircular wedge that contains the seeds.
To prevent browning, rub cut or peeled surfaces with a mixture
of lemon juice and water, or drop sliced or peeled apples into
cold water with some lemon juice added.
Cut cone-shaped "caps" from tops of unpeeled apples
and remove cores without cutting through bottoms. Pare a ribbon
of peel from around "waist" of each fruit (to keep
skin from splitting during baking). Fill apples with raisins,
or chopped figs, some brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and spices,
and replace the caps, Set the apples in a baking pan small enough
to just hold them in a single layer, pour in some apple juice
or cider to keep apples from drying out. Bake at 350°F/
180°C / Gas mark 4, basting frequently with the juice in
the pan for 40 minutes or until tender.
For a quick breakfast fruit, snack, or dessert: Place cored
apples, stuffed if desired (see above), in dishes; pour 1 tablespoon
water or cider over each. Cover with waxed paper and cook until
tender. Approximate cooking times: for 2 apples, 4 minutes;
for 4 apples, 8 minutes.
To accompany poultry, beef, veal, or pork: Saute unpeeled apple
slices, using an assortment of red, yellow, and green varieties.
Core and slice apples, then saute in apple cider or apple juice;
add just a touch of butter for flavour. For a German-style side
dish, saute shredded cabbage along with the apples. Cooking
time: 3 to 5 minutes.
Sweetened commercial apple sauce may have 75% more calories
than unsweetened varieties. Homemade apple sauce is simple to
prepare and needs no added sugar if sweet apples are used. Core
peeled or unpeeled apples (unpeeled red apples produce rosy
apple sauce, but the sauce must be passed through a mouli after
cooking). Cut the apples into slices or chunks; place them in
a saucepan with very little water, apple juice, or cider about
68ml to 1 Kg of apples (just enough liquid to prevent the apples
from sticking to the pan). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer,
stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft. (If using
unpeeled apples, put them through a mouli at this point to remove
the peels.) Mash the apples—leave them slightly chunky,
if you like—then taste and add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg,
allspice, or ginger), vanilla or almond extract, lemon zest,
or grated fresh ginger, and cook for another minute or so to
blend the flavours. Cooking time: about 15 minutes.
To make applesauce in the microwave:
Place cored, peeled or unpeeled, sliced apples in a microwavable
baking dish, cover and cook until tender. Remove apples from
the microwave, push through a mouli if you've used unpeeled
apples or mash if you've used peeled apples, and season them.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.