An apple a day keeps the doctor away – so goes the old saying and it’s not far wrong! We all know that food is our medicine and the basis for good health is always a good diet with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs before we even get to using herbs as medicines.
Apples, the fruit of the Malus domestica tree, are one of the easiest, and most overlooked snacks we have and there are over 7,500 known varieties bred for cooking, eating, and cider making. There is evidence of apple cultivation from around 3000BCE so our relationship with this amazing food is ancient. While piles of prepacked supermarket fruit might not quite inspire seasonal living in us – there’s nothing quite like being able to pick an apple straight from the tree as our ancestors did.
Apples contain vitamins and minerals (including iron and vitamins A and C) that are essential for good health. The sugars in the apple pass quickly into the blood providing us with energy but because these sugars are delivered along with fibre, they don’t have the damaging effect that refined sugars have. People who are sensitive to sugars may need to limit fruit juice but again, that is due to it being served without the fibre that slows down transit in the gut. More than that, this soluble fibre actually feeds our gut microbiome. It’s no good taking probiotics if you don’t take this prebiotic fibre to feed the bacteria and many people forget this. Not only that but this fibre has been linked to lowering cholestoerol levels.
The polyphenols found in apples have also been linked to many health benefits including the ability of one of them, epicatechin, to lower blood pressure. So you can see that an apple a day may indeed go a long way to helping you live a healthier life!
At this time of year, apple pies, tarts, and crumbles are a great way to turn the humble apple into a real treat and make a really wonderful celebration of autumn. But for my family, with the German influence of my husband, we like to make German apple sauce or Apfelmus.
Here’s my current favourite recipe which you can scale up or down:
- 6 apples, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sugar to taste
- Cinnamon sticks
Simply add all the ingredients to a pan with around 75mls water and heat to soften the apple. Depending on how sweet the apples are, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time to taste. When the apple is cooked through, remove the cinnamon and puree in a blender. Apfelmus is delicious on pancakes, and porridge or used as a filling for muffins. Enjoy!