Vienna, Va. — The U.S. apple harvest is underway across the country and showing promise of an abundant crop. It is the perfect time of year to start thinking about apples and apple products, including juice, cider or apple sauce, and the varied ways you can use them to celebrate the changing seasons.
The latest USDA forecast estimates that 2010 crop will be roughly 226 million bushels of apples, 4% less than last season and 2% under the five-year average. That is equivalent to about 90 apples per person in the U.S., compared to 113 last year. “Apples and apple products are truly one of the most accessible and versatile ingredients available. They are also packed with nutrition and good for you and your family,” says Allison Parker MS, RD, Director of Consumer Health and Education at the U.S. Apple Association.
New Ideas for this Season's Crop
With so many fresh apple varieties on the market, Parker suggests hosting a fall apple “tasting party” as a fun and healthy way to enjoy the fall bounty. “Just slice up the apples, dip them in some vitamin-C fortified apple juice, and serve,” she says. “Ask guests to describe each variety and note their unique flavors and textures. And treat them to an apple cocktail or refreshing glass of 100% apple juice or cider!”
Fresh apples make a convenient, nutrient-rich, on-the-go snack. But apples and apple products also can play a starring role on your plate. This versatile fruit can be chopped up and tossed into salads, stir-fries, casseroles, and of course, served as a sweet, after-dinner treat. Visit the U.S. Apple Association website for more recipe ideas and tips, and stay tuned for more as we move into the holiday season.
“An Apple a Day…”
Apples are packed with soluble fiber and have a high water content, both of which help keep you full longer and maintain healthy weight. Fiber also helps promote heart health, decreases your risk for developing cancer and aids in good digestion. Furthermore, apples are a significant source of boron, a mineral important for bone health.
Apples may also improve brain health. Recent apple research from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell indicates that the regular consumption of apple juice helps keep our minds sharp and may even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also have found that apple juice may help individuals that already have Alzheimer’s disease by alleviating some of their symptoms, such as making them less agitated.
Source: U.S. Apple Association