Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Bringing Balance: Apples Anyone?

In celebration of Nova Scotiaʼs apple-picking season, I thought Iʼd pay homage to the provinceʼs most portable snack and post a simple, kid-friendly applesauce recipe for you to try this fall!

Here are just a few awesome apple facts:

• An apple a day might just keep the doctor away!  Apples are chock full of polyphenols, which perform two amazing functions:  They act as antioxidants and help protect against cancer (specifically, studies show, lung cancer), and they help prevent spikes in blood sugar.  In addition, apples are also a good source of fibre, especially pectin, which can help reduce blood fat levels and support heart health.

• One rotten apple really can spoil the bunch!  Did you know a damaged apple releases ethylene gas that can then put neighbouring apples at risk?  Handle your apples with care, and if you spot a bruised or spoiling apple in the fruit drawer, take it out!

• The apple skin is very rich in nutrients, so donʼt get into the habit of peeling your kidsʼ apples all the time, especially if you are buying organic!  As apples are one of the more highly-contaminated fruits, so I do recommend you choose organic or buy from an orchard using minimal spraying techniques.  However, if you canʼt buy organic, wash the skins well with a natural bristle brush under running water before eating to reduce the risk of residues.

• When apples are processed into sauces and juice, they lose significant nutrients.  To maximize nutrient content in the apple products you buy, choose “cloudy” juices which generally contain more pulp and nutrients.  As for applesauce, why not make a batch at home?

Simple Applesauce
I ended up with bags of apples left over from a pie-making fundraising extravaganza my daughter and I took part in this weekend.  Yesterday I made two batches of this sauce, one unsweetened and one slightly sweetened with agave, a natural, low-glycemic index sweetener that you can pick up in the natural food section of the grocery store.  Each batch takes less than 20 minutes to make.  The kids and husband gobbled it up!  This makes a great baby or toddler food, and you can always add pears or other seasonal
fruit to sweeten the pot. 

Ingredients:
8 cups of peeled, chopped apples
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp cloves
(2 tbsp agave syrup, optional.  Honey will also work!)

To prepare:  Just barely cover the bottom of a large pot with water (maybe a half an inch, the apples will give off a lot of liquid so go easy on the water to start).  Add the apples, vanilla, sweetener if using, and spices, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until apples are soft.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Puree with hand or stand blender.  Store in fridge, or use safe canning practices and save it for the winter – but I bet it wonʼt last till then!

 

Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, both aged 7.  For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.