The apple invasion has begun with a bumper crop of fall beauties - Fujis, Winesaps, Cortlands and other power pommes dominating the produce aisles and farmers market stands. They take the limelight from cherries and other summer delights. I'm going to help you navigate your way through apple season so you get the most out of this remarkable fruit down to its core values.
In the beginning …
This forbidden fruit tempted Adam and Eve and got them evicted from the Garden of Eden. Ancient scriptures claim that Adam's punishment for sneaking a bite was that a piece of the core lodged in his craw explaining how the lump in the front of men's necks became known as "Adam's Apple."
The apple was first domesticated in Asia Minor before the time of Christ, spread to Greece by 300 B.C., and became a favorite snack for the ancient Romans. The luscious orb made its way to North America in the 17th century through colonists who settled in Massachusetts. Johnny Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, spread apple seeds to the pioneers in the early 1800s while missionaries continued to spread the seed westward.
Today, pomologists claim that roughly 7,500 apple varieties are grown worldwide, with only 100 commercial crops in the U.S.
An apple a day keeps the Rolaids, Zyrtec, Metamucil, Lipitor … away
The fruit's healthful properties were recognized in 200 A.D. by Hippocrates, who prescribed sweet apples for indigestion and sour ones for fainting spells. Apples are packed with fiber and potassium while carrying a low glycemic load so diabetics can indulge. The anti-cancer crunch in apples' peels has been linked to inhibiting the growth of liver, colon and breast cancer cells.
Apples also contain flavonoids with anti-allergic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, and have the richest source of pectin of all the fruits, found to lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure and keep gallstones at bay. Quercetin, a free-radical buster in apples, helps combat heart disease, cataracts, gout and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease - aka heartburn).
A buyer's guide
Always choose organic apples since the conventional crops are the second-most pesticide-laced fruit after first-place peaches. Pick firm ones without atypical coloration. So, if a Granny Smith has a pinkish hue, select another one with the prototypic green skin.
Try a Jonagold, a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, a tangy, firm apple good for a snack or cooking, or a Winesap with a spicy winelike flavor, being the cidermaker's first pick. Heart-shaped Galas are an ideal snack size. Toss chunks in salads or oatmeal, or make an applesauce and use it in baked goods as a substitution for fats or in meatloaf as a binding agent.
Granny Smiths, with their mouth-puckering tartness, are divine in strudels, pies or chopped coarsely to add a zing to turkey burgers.
Refrigerate apples to prevent them from ripening further, and dip cut-up fruit in a solution of one-part citrus juice and three-parts water so they won't turn brown.
Thank you to the culinary team at Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., for sharing its turkey burger recipe featuring chopped Granny Smith apples.
The Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burger
- 3 ounces of scallion, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces of celery, finely chopped
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
- Salad oil to saute (my pick - olive or grapeseed)
- 5 pounds of white meat ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pepper
- 1/4 ounce of Chipotle Tabasco sauce
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of mango chutney, pureed
In a skillet, heat the oil on low and saute the scallions, celery and apples. Cool. Mix the sauteed vegetables with the remaining ingredients. Shape into 8-ounce burgers and refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper lightly greased with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 8 burgers.
Your culinary comments are welcome at kitchenshrink@
san.rr.com. Also check out the Kitchen Shrink and company's healthy eating blog at www.FreeRangeClub.com.