Tis the season, for apples, apples, apples!
Did you know . . .
- Apples date back to 6500 B.C.? Remains of apples were found during the excavation of Jericho in the Jordan Valley, which was dated to this time period.
- In 79 A.D.., Pliny the Elder described 20 varieties of apples in his work, Natural History (note: I actually have a nephew named Pliny. He’s awesome. An architect that does a lot of green design [for Whole Foods stores around the world] although people often ask him to repeat his name.)
- Apples are actually part of the rose family?
- The average American eats 45 pounds of apples a year!
- “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” comes from an old English saying, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread.”
- In 1100 A.D., the medical school of Salerno, taught that apples could help disturbances of the bowels, lungs and nervous system.
Health benefits of apples . . .
- Great source of fiber with about 4 grams for a medium apple (only about 95 calories)
- Good source of immune-boosting vitamin C
- Can help lose weight
- Can help lower cholesterol
- Can help reduce risk of diabetes
- Can reduce risk of certain cancers:
- One study of showed that the flavonoids, quercetin and naringin in apples could reduce lung cancer risk up to 50%
- Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research found that consuming flavonol-rich apples could help reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23%
- Researchers at Cornell University identified triterpenoids in apple peel that have a lot of anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast.
I’m sure this is all great, but I’m sticking to organically grown apples – minus the toxic chemicals please! Apples are the #1 worst foods (loaded w/ pesticides when non-organically grown) on the Dirty Dozen foods list published by Environmental Working Group in their annual study of conventionally grown foods v. organic foods in terms of pesticides.
My recent apple picking adventure . . .
When did apple picking become such a competitive sport? We went out with a couple of the kids and our grand kids this past weekend, and when we pulled up to the farm driveway and saw lots of official looking men with flags to direct traffic and that cars were already overflowing into a new parking field at 10am, we kind of knew we might be in for a serious adventure. We noted all the “security” people and it just didn’t seem congruent with a day at the farm.
We also weren’t entirely prepared for the myriad of farm-related activities that were far more thrilling for the kids than the apple picking would be. We spent a lot of time feeding, interacting with and being entertained by all kinds of animals. The frisky goats were fun, especially this one little tough guy who kept head-butting a COW out of the way every time someone tried to feed it. There were bunnies – FAT bunnies, donkeys (even a super cute baby donkey), a gorgeous pregnant horse, chickens, geese, ducks, oh my! The pony ride was almost as popular with lil Green Dude Mason as the hay bale tunnel, which he kept disappearing into!
This fun family farm fest all took place at Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ. I like this farm because they have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, participate in local farmer’s markets, grow some certified organic produce, use integrated pest management in other areas, work to grow responsibly and sustainably, and do a lot for the community. I’ve met them at farmer’s markets, but who knew they had a virtual farm circus back at home base! The place is HUGE and the pick-your-own crops include acres of fruits and vegetables, pumpkin patches AND fresh-cut flowers. In order to get around, there is a hay ride route with about a dozen stops that takes almost an hour to go through all the stops and back to the starting point.
We came home with a crate of apples and a crate of veggies including huge eggplants, fresh tomatoes, even found some jalapeno peppers out there, but they were having a spud fest and we couldn’t resist picking up a few fresh and dirty potatoes – yum! So, I immediately got creative and made up an apple crisp/crumble recipe. I also made fresh salsa with some of the other goodies and canned it, but that’s another post – stay tuned.
click here for GD Meg’s yummy apple crisp/crumble recipe . . .