Apples among my favorite fruits. I like them raw, in fruit and vegetable salads, slathered with nut butter, simmered, stewed, in crisps and cobblers, or stuffed and baked. They’re available throughout the year, making it easy to get your “apple a day.” They’re very nutritious (I’ll tell you more about some of their nutrients in my next apple post) and they come in so many varieties that you don’t have to eat the same variety day after day. They also have a long history dating back to ancient times.
Did you know that…
Archeologists have found carbonized remains of apples in prehistoric lake dwellings in Switzerland, dating back to the Iron Age. There is also evidence that apples were eaten and preserved by slicing and sun drying during the Stone Age in Europe.
The crab apple is the ancestor of many of the varieties of apples grown today. Most wild apples are crab apples with small, sour, hard fruit. There are 25 to 30 varieites of wild apples grown throughout the world and seven of them are grown in the U.S.
According to food historians, man has been grafting fruit trees for more than twenty centuries. Currently, there are approximately 10,000 different varieties of apples grown in the world and more than 7,000 of them are grown in the United States
Apples are a bargain food. They have a low calorie density, a low glycemic index, low glycemic load, and a high fiber and nutrient density. Because they are so filling, you’re unlikely to overeat them the way you might with cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, and other foods that pack a lot of calories in a small package.
According to The Guiness Book of World Records, the largest apple ever picked from a tree weighed 3 pounds 2 oounces. Imagine how many people that would feed for a snack!
Early apple orchards produced very few apples because there were no honey bees. Historical information indicates that colonies of honey bees were shipped from England and landed in the Colony of Virginia early in 1622. One or more shipments were made to Massachusetts between 1630 and 1633.
The expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” comes from an old English saying, “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, makes the doctor beg his bread.” (Eat an apple before going to bed makes the doctor beg his bread.)
One of my favorite apple recipes
This is one of my favorite apple recipes. I recently prepared it at Primalcon Lake Tahoe, 2015, a four day retreat for people into paleo and primal diet, fitness, the outdoors, and eating a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free (or mostly dairy-free diet) whole foods diet. The recipe comes from my book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce Dominated Diet & Cookbook.
If you’re not already adding fresh and dried fruits to your green salads, give it a try. You might be surprised at what a difference it can make in the flavor, texture, and taste-appeal. I recently had a cooking student tell me that he found salads boring and that he ate them because he knew he was supposed to but that this recipe really wowed him. Finally, he was excited about salads!
You’ll find more great recipes for apples, salads, homemade dressings, and other nutrient dense dishes in my book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook.
Nutty Apple & Green Salad with Fruity Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette
Prep: 30 minutes / Yield: 6 servings
This recipe is a takeoff on the classic Waldorf salad. Fruit and nuts make green salads more interesting and appealing. Experiment with different varieties of salad greens, apples, dried fruits, and nuts. When cucumbers are out of season, you can simply leave them out or substitute sliced fresh fennel bulbs.
Fruity Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette (3/4 cup):
1 serving without dressing: 143 calories, 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate (4 g fiber), 5 g fat, 55 mg calcium, 27 mg sodium
1 serving with 2 tablespoons dressing: 237 calories, 3 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate (4 g fiber), 14 g fat, 56 mg calcium, 45 mg sodium