Ingredient of the Month: Apples

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This crunchy fruit is perfect on its own or in desserts, salads or sauces. Although different varieties of apples have different picking seasons, you’ll find the best time for most is between February and April.

 

Originating from a tree found in Central Asia apples are part of the rose family. There are 7500 varieties worldwide with twelve of them coming from Australia. Although we don’t have the largest selection of apples, we are great lovers of the fruit eating nearly 200 million kilos a year.

 

Health Benefits

Apples are a great source of fibre and vitamin C but numerous studies have also linked eating apples to a variety of health benefits. Plus, they are also considered a powerhouse of antioxidants. One apple contains more antioxidants than a cup of strawberries, half a punnet of blueberries or an orange.

But the benefits don’t stop there! Apples contain flavonoids, a compound which has been linked to reducing the risk of lung cancer. Further benefits to the lungs were made when a study showed eating apples helped to protect against asthma and general lung health. They also showed that women who eat apples during pregnancy may help to protect their children from asthma in the future. In other studies, cardiovascular disease was also decreased as was type 2 diabetes.

 

How to Choose

Choosing the best apple is tricky at times. You want a beautifully crunchy apple- not one that has past its best eating time. You’ll be able to tell if it’s a bad apple if it’s brown and mushy when you bite into it.  So how do you know without taking a bite into the apple that it will be delicious and crunchy?

Simply squeeze the apple between your fingers and check that there are no soft spots or bruising. Rotate the apple and check in a few different spots. If the apple seems very firm all over, it’s probably delicious and crunchy on the inside.

With so many varieties of apples, it’s hard to know which are the best for eating by themselves and which are the best for cooking. For cooking, you’ll want to choose crunchy or firm apples with a great flavour. Try Pink Lady, Granny Smith or Sundowner. And if you’re looking for the perfect snack try Red Delicious, Jazz or Jonathan.

 

Some ideas for enjoying apples

  • Mix up a favourite snack and make an apple and peanut butter bruschetta.
  • If you feel like indulging, try an apple cake with a butterscotch sauce.
  • Add it to your favourite salad.
  • Create the perfect apple sauce to team with roast pork.

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