In case you haven’t heard…there’s a revolution going on! It starts in the ground, is grown to feed the earth and to nourish its inhabitants. Food. A precious yet vital source and the key to sustainable health. For some, access to food is more difficult than others. Here in the Napa Valley, we live in a climate that is temperate and suitable for planting a variety of crops. Sure, we’re known for our grapes, but there are so many possibilities for additional food production that we are just beginning to uncover…
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…I would say make applesauce but that’s so obvious. So let’s look at how how delicious and healthful they are, in many iterations. Of course, I always promote the whole food first.
‘Tis the season for this heart-healthy fruit in Northern California, beginning with the harvest of Gravensteins, to over 7,500 varieties today. Commercially we have access to about 100 types, but if you scour the farmers’ markets you can find some pretty unique selections – all of which have great nutritional benefits.
Apples are super high in fiber, providing 15% of our daily value when eaten with the skin. (If eating the skin make sure the apple is organic, as this is one of the fruits which absorbs pesticides the most. (Source: www.FoodNews.org) Apple skins are loaded with antioxidants – such as quercetin – in the form of a phytonutrient. Quercetin provides cardiovascular protection, helps prevents cataracts and has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-viral properties. It also prevents ulcers, kidney stones, and herpes simplex. The fiber in apples latches onto LDL (the Lousy cholesterol) and moves it out of our bodies. Eating just two apples a day can reduce cholesterol by up to 16%!
In addition to high fiber, apples are a good source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin K combats osteoporosis like calcium-rich foods and keeps cell damage at bay.
Right now you can find luscious apple varieties at your local farmers markets. The best way to store apples is in the refrigerator for about seven days. We’ll review tips on keeping other produce soon but suffice it to say, the longer you wait, the less the nutritional bennies will wait for you.
Here are some silly teasers for your kids or your friends (the big kids):
• Apples float because 25% of their volume is air.
• An apple tree must grow four to five years before it will produce an apple.
• The “Delicious” apple variety is the most widely grown in the U.S.
• The apple belongs to the rose family.
• In ancient times, apples were thrown at weddings instead of rice or birdseed. No wonder the bride had to change her clothes:)