Tis the season for apples

Whether you choose a McIntosh, a Golden Delicious or a Granny Smith apple, your body will thank you for every bite!  Apples are remarkably rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc.  There are so many health benefits to consuming apples – and thankfully our state of Michigan is known across the globe for its apple production!

Fresh apples are delicious and can be used in a variety of ways; and what better way to preserve their fresh flavor all year long than home canning?  One of my favorite recipes to can is Homemade Applesauce.  The best part is incorporating my kids in the process.  We have plenty of fond memories making and eating yummy applesauce.  I have even created fun, natural ways to flavor the applesauce using real fruit to avoid adding excessive amounts of sugar to the sauce.

FUN FACT:  The skin of the apple is the most nutritious part.  These days many substances are sprayed on the fruit to make them last longer, so it’s best to wash the fruit well with a vinegar and water solution before consuming.

There are many other health benefits to eating apples, like benefiting your cardiovascular system.  Apple consumption reduces the bad cholesterol in your body and it reduces your chances of getting diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.  Apples are high in potassium, thus helping to prevent high blood pressure and strokes.  Apples are also an amazing way to keep your skin looking younger and healthier.  Nutritionists say Granny Smith and Red Delicious are best for the skin by providing collagen and elastin.  Braeburn apples contain ingredients which have been shown to protect our skin from damaging UV rays.

Apples are often a primary ingredient when home canning.  Take chutney for instance.  Chutney is an East Indian word that means, “to be tasted” or “to be liked”.  I call it a ‘fruit relish’ because it is a combination of fruit, vinegar, sugar, spices, onions, garlic and peppers.  It is often used as a condiment with meats, however the possibilities in the kitchen are limitless!  One of my favorite recipes is Blonde Curry Apple Chutney.  Not only are you getting the health benefits from the apples and golden raisins, there are health benefits from consuming curry and ginger!

Another important use for apples in home canning is pectin.  Pectin is a gelling agent used to help jams, jellies, chutneys and relishes “set”, or thicken.  In human digestion, pectin binds to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and slows glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates. Pectin from apples is a soluble dietary fiber which has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

So this fall season, be sure to stop at one of the many orchards in our great state of Michigan and pick fresh apples to eat on the spot or preserve in a jar!  Your body will thank you!

For more information on how to use apples when home canning or for additional recipes, go to www.CanningDiva.com.

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