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Food of the Month


Apples

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fiber) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol — the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. The trick to maximizing the benefit: Don’t toss the peel; apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh.

Digestive Health

Apples, a good source of fiber, help in the digestive process. Regular consumption of apples ensures smooth bowel movements and helps prevent constipation and various stomach disorders. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and helps food pass through the digestive tract smoothly. Apples also help improve the functioning of the bacteria living inside of our large intestine, and early studies show that apples may change the metabolism within the digestive tract and change the balance of bacteria, which leads to improved health by maximizing nutrient uptake and eliminating harmful bacteria and toxins.

Dental Health

Eating apples helps in cleaning the teeth and gums and reduces the incidence of cavities in the teeth. When you eat an apple, the fiber in it cleanses the teeth while the antibacterial properties of the fruit keep bacteria and viruses from infecting the body. Eating apples also stimulates the secretion of saliva, which is an alkaline compound, meaning it further reduces the ability of bacteria to multiply and grow in your mouth.

Help Maintain a Healthy Weight

Firm and packed with fiber, they demand a chewing commitment, giving your body time to register itself “full” before you eat too many calories. Also, the natural sweeteners in apples enter the bloodstream gradually, helping keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady so you feel full longer.

Help Manage Diabetes

The polyphenols in apples are believed to reduce the uptake of carbohydrates by the body. This, in turn, reduces the fluctuation of blood sugar levels that occur in the bloodstream, an important factor for helping to keep diabetes under control. The polyphenols also lower glucose absorption in the digestive tract and stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas, which is necessary to keep blood sugar levels in check. Finally, the polyphenols stimulate the insulin receptors on cells throughout our body, speeding up the removal of sugar from our bloodstream and getting it to our cells, which need it for metabolism and proper organ function. Apples are one of the best all-around foods for improving the health of people suffering from diabetes.

 

Tips for Selecting and Storing Apples

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Selecting:

  • Look for firm fruits with rich coloring.
  • Your preference for a sweeter or tarter fruit and whether you plan to enjoy your apples raw or cooked will guide your choice of variety.
  • Just remember that Red and Golden Delicious are among the sweetest apples. Brae burn and Fuji apples are slightly tart, and Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture best during cooking.  Here’s a quick guide to keep on hand.
  • While applesauce and apple juice do contain some valuable vitamins and antioxidants, eating apples in their whole form will give you the synergistic blend of nutrients and fiber the way nature intended.

Storage:

  • The skin of the apple is unusually rich in nutrients, so even if the recipe you’ve chosen requires peeled apples, consider leaving the skins on to receive the unique benefits found in the skins.
  • Ideally, of course, choose organic apples to avoid problems related to pesticide residues and other contaminants on the skins. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” conventionally grown apples are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found.
  • Apples can be stored for relatively long periods of time (3 to 4 months). Cold storage at low refrigerator temperatures (35-40 Fº) is able to help minimize loss of nutrients.
  • To prevent browning when slicing apples for a recipe, simply put the slices in a bowl of cold water to which a spoonful of lemon juice has been added.
  • For use in future recipes, sliced apples freeze well in plastic bags or containers.

Serving Suggestions

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  • Add diced apples to fruit or green salads or as an extra ingredient in tuna or chicken salad.
  • Apple slices can be served with a fruit dip or topped with nut butter.
  • Top a piece of whole-grain toast with thinly sliced apple, sharp cheddar shavings, and cinnamon for a savory and sweet open-faced sandwich.
  • Try adding apples to your pureed soups—butternut squash and apple soup or a carrot-ginger-apple soup make for comforting meals in cooler weather.

Recipes:

Cold Weather Hot Cinnamon Apple Smoothie

Cold Weather Hot Cinnamon Apple Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 organic apple, cored and cut into large chunks (leave the skin on)
1/4 cup black or yellow raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw pecans

To Make:

  1. Place the apple chunks, raisins, cinnamon and ¼ cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let the apples cool for 1 minute (see warning below).
  3. Add the apple-raisin mixture to a high speed blender. Add the pecans and 3/4 cup warm water.
  4. Process on high for 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Pour into a coffee mug and drink warm.

WARNING! If you have a glass blender jar you need to be extra careful that you let the ingredients cool to almost room temperature before you put them in the glass jar. Otherwise the glass could explode and cause serious injury.

Apple, Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili in a Slow Cooker

Apple, Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
4 pitted dates
2 tablespoons Miso Master brand “Mellow White Miso” dissolved in 3 cups hot water OR 3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil (such as Barlean’s)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Unrefined sea salt, to taste
2 apples, chopped (keep the skins on)
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons medium-grind corn flour
2 large cans (29 ounces each) BPA-free black beans (such as Eden Organic), rinsed and drained

To Make:

  1. In a high speed blender, add the pumpkin, dates, 1/4 cup of the miso mixture (or vegetable broth), coriander, cumin, and lime juice.
  2. Process until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.
  4. Add the remaining 2-3/4 cup of miso mixture (or vegetable broth) to the slow cooker.
  5. Turn the slow cooker onto low heat and cover with a lid.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add the garlic and onions and sauté 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Season with salt to taste. Add the apples and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  9. Season with salt to taste and stir in the corn flour.
  10. Transfer the onion-apple and celery mixture to the slow cooker. Add the black beans. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  11. Let chili sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. Add more salt if necessary.
  12. Serve warm.

Apple Almond Squares

Apple Almond Squares

*Gluten Free!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp stabilized rice bran, optional
2 tbsp organic evaporated cane juice
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 McIntosh apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened raisins
1/4 cup sliced raw unsalted almonds

Topping:

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Sucanat
1/8 tsp arrowroot powder

To Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving 1 to 2 inches of overhang on opposite sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, bran (if using), cane juice, flaxseeds, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. In a large bowl, mix egg, egg white, applesauce, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in apple, raisins and almonds.
  7. Spread evenly in dish.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
  9. Lift edges of parchment paper to remove bars from dish. Cut into 12 squares.
  10. Prepare topping: In a spice grinder, pulse Sucanat and arrowroot into a fine powder.
  11. Sprinkle over bars.
  12. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons water
1 cup chopped skinless, boneless Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken (about 4 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped Braeburn apple (about 1 small)
1/3 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons raisins
1/8 teaspoon salt

To Make:

  1. Combine mayonnaise, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended.
  2. Add the Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and salt.
  3. Stir mixture well to combine.
  4. Cover and chill.

Fresh Apple Salsa

Fresh Apple Salsa

Ingredients:

2 cups diced, peeled Spartan apple (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

To Make:  Combine all ingredients, stirring well.

Superfood Apple Crisp Breakfast

Superfood Apple Crisp Breakfast

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 cups finely chopped apples (any kind of apples will work, but please keep the skins on!)
1 cup dried mulberries (such as Navitas Naturals brand) or white or black raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons barley flour (or white whole wheat flour)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon unrefined salt
3 tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil, melted

To Make:

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch casserole dish.
  3. Add the apples, dried mulberries (or raisins), cinnamon, and nutmeg to the casserole dish and toss ingredients together.
  4. Set dish aside.
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the oats, barley flour, chia seeds, and salt.
  6. Use your clean hands to mix ingredients together.
  7. Add the oil and crumble the mixture between your fingertips.
  8. Crumble the mixture on top of the apples.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and set aside to cool before eating. Serve warm.