Apples are a member of the rose family of plants, along with pears, peaches, plums, and cherries. Today, apples are grown commercially in 36 states and have become the second most-valuable fruit grown in the United States; oranges are the first.
Nutritional Properties of Apples
A large apple has about 100-130 calories, 20% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber, 8% of vitamin C, and 7% of potassium. Apples are also rich in quercetin and pectin. Quercetin is a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, while pectin is a soluble fiber that may help to prevent chronic diseases, lower cholesterol, improve digestion, reduce the risk of some cancers, and induce beneficial bacteria in the colon.
According to studies, eating apples every day for one month increases the body’s antioxidant capacity. Also, exposure to apples and apple products has been associated with reducing cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent work suggests apples may also be associated with improved outcomes related to cognitive decline of normal aging, diabetes, weight management, bone health, pulmonary function, and gastrointestinal protection.
*Note: According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), apples are generally near the top of EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list because they contain pesticide residues. The EWG states that people can reduce their risk of ingesting pesticide residues by eating organic apples, apple juice, and applesauce.
What to Know About Apples
How to select: Select firm apples, free of bruises, decay, broken, or shriveled skin.
How to store: Store apples in a perforated, plastic bag inside of the refrigerator, ideally between 32–35ºF.
5 Fun Facts About Apples
- Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since 6500 BC.
- 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air; that’s why they float.
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
- Apples are propagated by two methods: grafting or budding. The only way to get exactly the same apple is to graft a piece of apple wood onto a piece of rootstock.
- Americans eat more apples than any other fruit, approximately 16.9 pounds per capita of fresh apples.
Recipe of the Week
The recipe of the week will be a wonderful addition to your holiday celebration. “Apple Roses” recipe comes via cooking with Manuela.
- 1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed
- 2 red apples
- Juice of half lemon
- 1 tablespoon of flour, to sprinkle the counter
- 3 tablespoons of apricot preserve
- Powdered sugar for decorating (optional)
1. Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature if you haven’t done so yet. It should take about 20-30 minutes.
2. Prepare a bowl half filled with water and the lemon juice. Cut the apples in half, remove the core, and cut the apples to paper-thin slices. Leave the peel so it will give the red color to your roses. Right away, place the sliced apples in the bowl so that they won’t change color.
3. Microwave the apples in the bowl for about 3 minutes, to make them slightly softer and easy to roll. If you prefer, you can also simmer the apple slices with the water in a small pan (on the stove). The apple slices should be cooked just enough to bend without breaking. If they break, you need to cook them a little more.
4. Unwrap the puff pastry over a clean and lightly floured counter. Using a rolling pin stretch the dough into a rectangular shape of about 12 x 9 inch. Cut the dough in 6 strips, each about 2 x 9 inch.
5. In a bowl, place three tablespoons of apricot preserve with two tablespoons of water. Microwave for about one minute (or warm up on the stove) so that the preserve will be easier to spread. Spread a thin layer of preserve on each strip of dough.
6. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Drain the apples.
7. Arrange the apple slices on the dough, overlapping one another. Make sure the top (skin side) of the slices sticks a little out of the strip. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
8. Fold up the bottom part of the dough.
9. Starting from one end, carefully roll the dough, keeping the apple slices in place. Seal the edge at the end, pressing with your finger, and place in a regular muffin cup. No need to grease the muffin mold if it’s silicone. Otherwise, make sure to grease with butter and flour (or spray).
10. Do the same for all 6 roses. Bake at 375º F for about 40-45 minutes, until fully cooked.
- Make sure the pastry is fully cooked on the inside before removing the roses from the oven! If after the first 30 minutes the apples start to burn on top, move the pan to a lower rack of the oven and finish baking. You can also cover loosely with aluminum foil for these last 10-15 minutes, to avoid burning the top.
- These are best eaten right after baking, when still warm and crisp.
- They can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can always warm them up for a few minutes by placing in the oven before serving.