The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and long gone are the sweet berries, peaches and plums of summer. Fall is in full swing and we are excited because it means apples are in season! You know the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, the same is true about wrinkles. And the best part about fall is that you have access to an exciting variety of apples (there are thought to be over 7,000 varieties) so you can eat a different type every day and never be bored!
How apples are good for skin
Apple are loaded with vitamins A and C as well as copper, all of which help to nourish skin. Vitamin C helps you make collagen, a protein that is a crucial structural component of skin that helps prevent wrinkles. Copper helps you make melanin, which protects you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Skin-friendly vitamin A, a family of chemicals called retinoids, plays an important role in skin development by increasing cell turnover. Apples also contain B vitamins, like B5 and B9, proven to combat acne and irritation. The key to getting the most health benefits from an apple as possible is to eat the skin of the apple!
How to buy
The apples sold in supermarkets are varieties developed for good disease resistance or storage properties, often at the expense of flavor. For more interesting and flavorful varieties, check out your local farmer’s market or visit a local orchard to pick your own.
Apples should be firm with taught unbroken skins. Many varieties have naturally freckled or dull matt surfaces – don’t shy away from those without the high-sheen finish supermarkets have led us to expect. The odd blemish on apples grown with low/no pesticides is nothing to be afraid of. The fragrance of an apple is a good indicator of freshness and quality.
How to store
Apples should be kept cool, in a plastic bag in the fridge rather than the fruit bowl – the rate at which apples lose flavor and juiciness is proportional to the temperature at which they are stored. Apples are much less perishable than most fruit and many varieties will keep for a month or longer if bought fresh (those sold in shops may have been in storage for some time) and kept cool.
How to prepare
Apples should always be thoroughly scrubbed and washed prior to eating. Apple trees are often treated with an aggressive program of chemical sprays. As we said, you should always eat the skin for optimal benefits; however, if you are peeling it off to add to a recipe, once you slice, drop the pieces in water acidulated with lemon juice to help prevent them from oxidizing (turning brown).
Ways to enjoy
Apples travel well, so they are a fantastic on-the-go snack option. You can also top a piece of whole-grain toast with thinly-sliced apple, sharp cheddar shavings and cinnamon for a savory and sweet open-faced sandwich. Add apples to your salad — the fruit pairs well with dried cranberries, spinach and maple-balsamic vinaigrette. 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.
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