This is one of my favourite times of year – the leaves are changing colour, there is still that last feeling of summer in the air, and it’s Elul, the time we prepare ourselves for the Yomim Noraim. As someone who loves preparing healthy dishes for my family and friends, this is a time when I get to go crazy with one of my favourite fruits – crunchy, delicious apples!

I love apples because:

  • Apples are one of the most convenient snack foods Hashem ever created. No light box, no soaking, no packages, and no hard inedible peel. Just give them a good wash and they are ready to eat. You can throw an apple in your purse, lunch box, or gym bag. It doesn’t get easier than that! If you happen to be cutting your apples before you grab and go, toss them with a small amount of lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning too quickly.
  • There are over 100 commercially grown varieties in North America. Try Granny Smith or Braeburn apples if you like a tart taste, and Royal Gala or Fuji if you like sweet, or the pricier Honeycrisp with it’s explosive crispness, distinct juiciness, and sweet taste.
  • Apples have an amazing versatility. They can be used in soups, salads, cakes, fruit crumbles, side dishes, and even ice cream! Check out the baked apple ice cream post.
  • Apple juice can also be fermented (like beer) and turned into apple cider vinegar. Fermented foods contain probiotics which are essential to the health of our large intestine
  • Have you ever stopped to think about the amazing variety of colours that Hashem used in His fruit-painting palette? Apples are no exception – they come in a rainbow of colours, including red, pink, green, yellow, and even brown. Rich colours in fruit and vegetables are a sign of rich nutrients and help ensure that we get a balanced diet.
  • Apple skins are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can damage the cells and cell tissue in our bodies. The apple’s high antioxidant concentration helps decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma.
  • When eaten with the skin, a whole apple has about 3.6 grams of fibre, nearly 17 percent of the daily dietary fibre This is enough to contribute substantially to colon health if eaten on a regular basis.
  • Apples are a satisfying, low calorie sweet treat. For those trying to shed some weight, reach for an apple when you feel the hankering for something sweet instead of that cookie, or bowl of ice cream.
  • Last but not least, we get to dip them in honey on Rosh Hashanah – perhaps one of the biggest treats of the year!

It is important to note that conventionally grown apples have one of the highest amounts of pesticides residue of any fruit or vegetable, so if possible, buy your apples organic. Most supermarkets now carry organic apples. I recently took my kids recently to a lovely little orchard in Markham called Organics Family Farm. We picked two varieties of organic apples – Vista Bella, and Sunrise – at half the cost of organic apples found in the supermarket.

When you bite into an apple this Rosh Hashanah think for a moment about the amazing qualities of this beautiful fruit. Wishing you a sweet and healthy year!

Sources:

  • Prescription for Dietary Wellness, Phyllis A. Balch, 2003
  • com – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/28/apple-health-benefits.aspx

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