An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

— Written By and last updated by

There may be some truth in this catchy reminder. But it is important to realize, it doesn’t have to be just apples, everyone needs to consume a daily dose of fruit, whatever the variety. Apples are an easy way to get a serving of fruit into your diet. And apples are a great choice for a healthful, low-fat, low-calorie snack. They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants, both of which may protect against a variety of chronic diseases. To receive the maximum health benefits from apples, eat the whole fruit including the skin.

There are numerous varieties of apples grown all over the world. However, only about 16 varieties account for 90 percent of the domestic apple production. Some of the leading varieties are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Rome Beauty, Gala, Stayman, and Winesap. Some of the newer varieties for our area are Pink Lady and Honey Crisp. The apple orchards in western North Carolina offer fresh-picked flavor every fall, are beginning to come in now, so now is the time to experience new flavors by sampling some of the seasonal varieties.

When choosing an apple, look for apples that are firm and free of bruises. As you select the variety, consider the end use. Some apples have a taste and texture that is best suited for a particular use. For example, Gala is ideal for eating fresh, Rome is perfect for baking and Golden Delicious is well suited for pies. Apples can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two weeks. For larger quantities, store them in a cool, dry place such as a garage or cellar. Apples ripen 6 to 10 times faster at room temperature than if refrigerated, so keep them chilled for optimum storage life. To ensure optimal food safety, remember to always wash your apples prior to consuming.

This recipe is a great way to introduce North Carolina apples to your family.

Apple Crisp from Cook Smart, Eat Smart

This is a wonderful, lower-fat substitute for apple pie. Leave the peel on apples to increase nutrients and save time. All-purpose flour can be substituted if whole wheat flour is not available. Additional mix-ins such as fresh or dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans or almonds can be included as well. Most varieties will work well; you may want to use a combination.

  • 4 cups sliced apples
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3⁄4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Peel apples and cut into slices. Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except apples. Stir until well blended. Place apples in 9″ x 13″ baking dish and spread oat mixture on top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until desired brownness. Serves 6.