Canada has a long history of apples and apple growing. They are popular, ranking among the top three fruits grown around the world. They are easy to store making them available year-round. But fall is when it is time to head to your local orchard to pick some fresh apples. Here are 10 fun facts about apples, 10 health benefits of apples, some fun activities with apples, and 3 easy recipes that will make your harvest worth the time.
10 Fun Apple Facts
- Apple trees take 4-5 years to produce their first fruit.
- Apples will ripen 6-10 times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.
- The science of apple growing is called pomology.
- We can bob for apples because 25% of an apples volume is air. That is why they float.
- The first apple tree in Canada was cultivated by early French settlers in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley around 1633.
- The first variety of apple grown in Canada was called the Fameuse.
- It takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple.
- Apples are members of the rose family.
- Apple trees can live to be about 100 years old.
- Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia are the main commercial growing regions in Canada.
10 Health Benefits of Apples
We all know the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Did you ever wonder is this expression is true? Or why eating an apple a day is so beneficial to your health? Not only are apples versatile in the kitchen with their numerous colours and flavours, but they are also extremely healthy with research backed benefits.
- Is a nutritious source of key vitamins: Apples are a nutrient-dense fruit. One medium 200-gram apple contains 104 Calories, 28 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of fiber, 10% of the daily value of Vitamin C, 6% of the Daily Value of Copper, 5% of the Daily Value of Potassium, 4% of the Daily Value of Vitamin K, 2-5% of the Daily Value of Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6. Apples are also rich in polyphenols, which is an important group of antioxidants. The skin of the apple contains half of the fiber and most of the polyphenols.
- May support weight loss: Apples contain water and are high in fiber, which makes them filling. Eating whole apples increases fullness more than consuming apple juice. Research also indicates that apples may significantly reduce the Body Mass Index (BMI), a weight-related risk factor.
- Could be good for your heart: Research has found that eating whole apples daily is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The soluble fiber, polyphenols, and flavonoids have been linked to lowering blood pressure, lowering the chance of heart disease, and a reduced chance of stroke.
- Linked to a lower chance of diabetes: Eating apples has been linked to reducing your chance of type 2 diabetes. Just one serving per week may reduce the risk by 3%. This may be due to the amount of polyphenol quercetin in apples. Several studies have found that eating apples was linked to an 18% reduction of type 2 diabetes risk.
- May promote gut health: Apples contain a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic in your gut microbiome. What this means is that apples promote the growth of good bacteria in your colon to help you digest. Improved gut health is thought to protect against chronic diseases.
- May help prevent cancer: The fiber and antioxidant content in apples has been linked to reducing the chance of getting certain types of cancer. More research in needed to completely quantify how. Their antioxidants may protect against lung, breast, and digestive tract cancers. The polyphenols found in apples may keep cancer cells from multiplying.
- Could help fight asthma: Antioxidant-rich apples may help reduce airway inflammation related to allergic asthma. However, more research is required to validate this claim.
- May help protect your brain: The Quercetin in apples may protect your brain against oxidative stress. This claim has still not been fully explored and more research is required before any conclusions can be drawn.
- May improve mental health: Eating more fruit and vegetables may help your mental health. The benefit is only found if you eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.
- May help with digestive diseases: Eating fruit like apples may help reduce the chance of getting gastroesophageal reflux disease, improve your digestion, and help with constipation. Continued research is being conducted to determine how.
Fun Activities with Apples
Apple picking is a fun activity to do with friends and family. Not only is it a great activity for all ages, but it is also a way to enjoy the fresh autumn air and the great outdoors. This is a great place to start your apple adventure.
Now that you have picked all these apples you will move into the kitchen for another fun activity, making all those apples you picked into delicious snacks, side dishes, or desserts.
If you have children, involve them in the kitchen by including them in the cooking process. JUstenbois has a great maple wood knife for children, called the Chop Chop that will cut apples with ease.
Once you have prepared the food, eat with JUstenbois’ wooden utensils. Eating with maple wood utensils does not alter the taste or the nutrients of the food, allowing you to taste food at its best. There is a complete line for both adults and children.
3 Quick and Easy Apple Recipes
Here are a few recipes that will get you started on making those picked apples into delicious treats.
This is a great healthy snack. Perfect for that long hike or car ride. It is super quick to prepare and has only 3 ingredients that are probably in your home.
1 ½ teaspoons of raw cane sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Core apples and slice into very thin rings. The thinner the slices the crispier the snack. For this batch I made them thicker for a chewy snack for my hike.
Place the rings on a lined baking sheet making sure that they do not overlap.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Sprinkle over the apple rings.
Place the baking sheet in the oven.
Bake for 1 hour, flipping the apples halfway.
Let cool on a wire rack to get them crispy.
I had apple trees in my backyard growing up. At this time of the year my mother used to pick all the apples, make endless batches of apple sauce, and freeze them for the months ahead. To save time, she never peeled the apples, she just cored the apples and cut them into chunks. This is her recipe.
6 medium apples
½ cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple Syrup (optional to add sweetness)
Wash apples thoroughly.
Core and dice apples into medium cubes.
In a large saucepan, combine apples and water. Cover and bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Uncover and lower the heat to a simmer and cook the apples for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until they are cooked through and tender.
Add cinnamon. Simmer for a few more minutes.
Using a powerful blender, blend on high to puree for about a minute. See if it is the creamy texture that you like, and peels have been completely pulverized. If not continue to blend until desired texture.
If necessary, add sweetener to taste.
Apple Crisp made in Individual Servings
I like to make apple crisp in individual servings, that way everyone gets the proper mix of apples and crumble. This recipe can also be made in a larger dish if you prefer.
4-5 medium apples
¼ cup raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
Apple Crisp Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 6 small 6 oz. ramekins.
Peel and dice apples into small cubes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt, stir to combine.
Evenly scoop your apple mixture into the 6 ramekins.
In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Melt the butter and pour over combine dry ingredients.
Stir with a spatula until a crumbly mixture forms.
Cover the apple mixture in the ramekins.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, making sure the apples are tender and the topping is golden-brown and crispy.
To get the full flavours of your dishes, use Maple Wood Cutlery and dishes. You will only taste the richness of the cooked apples along with the spices you added to enhance the flavour. Visit the JUstenbois website to order your cutlery and dishes.