An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
This saying has for years locked the perennial apple into the closet of everyday and boring. Although the apple has been locked in the closet of everyday, it is apparently in almost every American home — the apple is among the top four fruits purchased by the United States population.
So, if this many people seem to buy apples year-round I think it is my duty to inform the Cal Poly student population that this pomaceous fruit, a member of the Rose family, is in the peak of its season.
Yes, it is a perennial fruit, but one can pick the sweetest, juiciest and most flavorful apples between the months of September and November. No wonder the apple pie is such a notorious sweet guest at the end of home-cooked Thanksgiving dinners.
We are right in the prime of this apple season’s peak, so why not unlock the closet chains of everyday and bring a new light to this fruit, as it can be found just around the corner in its most delicious form.
Before we get to cooking and tasting this yummy fruit, why not take a gander at its benefits that we all too often take for granted.
As with many fruits, the skin of the apple is very nutrient-rich. This is something to keep in mind when a recipe calls for peeled apples — why not get a bigger health benefit and just leave the skin on for a little extra texture and lots of added nutrients?
Furthermore, an apple’s appeal is more than skin deep — beyond its skin, the apple flesh still has many benefits to boast.
Apples have a unique ability to help regulate blood sugar through flavonoids. These flavonoids inhibit enzymes that breakdown complex carbohydrates; thus, with less broken-down complex carbs, there are less simple sugars that the blood has to deal with.
Apples have also been linked to lowering cancer risks. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components they contain are most readily connected to lowering the risk of colon, prostate and lung cancer.
If all these health benefits still don’t move apples from the category of everyday boring to extraordinary, then perhaps knowing there are more than 7,500 known cultivars (different types of fruit deliberately bred for desirable qualities such as flavor, size and disease resistance) will bring it up a notch.
Even if you choose to eat an apple a day, if you truly take advantage of the variety offered, I can’t imagine that your taste buds and senses will remain bored.
The trip to get the apple can keep you just as far from boredom as well. If you have a free morning why not bike to Avila Valley Barn and pick your own apples as a part of their U-Pick fun? The marvelous thing about picking your own apple is not only that you can’t get any closer to picking the perfectly ripe fruit, but you can also learn that the same apple tree can bear multiple different cultivars.
When you pick an apple from the tree, or even from the market, be sure to keep the stem attached, as it aids in keeping the fruit fresh longer. As with most fruits, look for an apple clear of bruises — don’t even grab the apple sitting next to the bruised one; the bruised apple releases ethylene gas and enhances the spoilage of surrounding apples.
Apples will store quite nicely in a cool dry place and for up to three months in the fridge, but let’s be honest, I am writing here on foods that are in season — don’t buy it in season and wait to eat it until it is out of season. For the best taste of the season, eat the fruit within a reasonable time after purchasing or picking it.
The last thing to send you away with before you run off and bite into a delectable apple treat is the fact that there is a difference between apples for cooking and apples for quick snacks. Sure all apples are good for eating, but not all apples are quite as good for cooking. When cooking with apples, stick to varieties such as Rome Beauty, Gala and Granny Smiths. These varieties are high in malic acid, which allows them to breakdown while still retaining much of valued texture and flavor.
Now that you have bitten into the forbidden fruit and tasted its wonder, I challenge you to figure out next week’s divine featured food.
Clue: In 1948 Marilyn Monroe was crowned the first _______ Queen.
Upside down Apple Pancake Recipe
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large cooking apple — cored and sliced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2. In a blender, mix first 10 ingredients on medium speed until well blended. Let stand for 15 minutes or prepare the night before and let stand overnight.
3. Melt butter in a 10 inch ovenproof skillet. Mix remaining sugar, spices, and apple in a small bowl. Add mixture to the skillet. Cook on medium heat until mixture begins to bubble.
4. Evenly spread apple mixture over the skillet and pour prepared batter over.
5. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for 10 more minutes. Slide pancake off skillet and top with honey, syrup or jam. Enjoy!
Heather Rockwood is a food sciences junior.