It’s not as sexy as a pomegranate. It does not conjure visions of an Amazon rain forest as does the acai berry. But the venerable apple does not fall from its exotic counterparts in taste or nutrition. Best of all, it is grown locally, and can be found at very affordable prices in every supermarket.
There are thousands of apple varieties, but in most supermarkets, less than ten kinds are sold. Everyone has their favorite, be it the tart Granny Smith, the sweet Red Delicious or the Fuji.
Apples originated in Central Asia and quickly expanded to Europe from where they journeyed as seeds to North America. Johnny Appleseed is known in American lore as the father of apples in this country, but a lesser known fact is that, until 100 years ago, most apples were grown for household cider production (yes, the alcoholic cider).
What you need to know:
A medium apple, 6-8 ounces, is over 80% water and packs in just 100 calories. It is rich in fiber – 5 grams which are 20% of the daily recommended intake. The sugar count is relatively high, 15% of DV, which may explain why apples are popular with kids. Some research has shown that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.
Peeling the apple will cut in half the fiber count as well as other benefits, so save your paring knife for other foods. Apple juices and applesauce don’t do a great job of retaining the fiber either, so if you can, try to get the old “apple a day”.
What to do at the supermarket:
The apple season is late August to late November. Sometimes apples are stored chilled for weeks or months before reaching the produce department in the supermarket, but in season they’ll probably be just a week or two off the tree . Look for shiny apples without scars and bruises. They should be very firm to the touch. At home, store in the fridge or a cool dry place. If an apple becomes overripe, it loses some of its crunch and may become mealy to the bite.