Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pick of the Week: Apples

March is a strange time to be writing about apples, but since I am dissecting the 13 most powerful super foods as identified by the Web site Everyday Health, apples it is this week.

What's not to like about apples? Sweet and crunchy, with juice that runs down your chin, apples for me have always been nature's candy. But what I love most is that there are so many different apple varieties, you can always find one to fit your mood.

My favorite time to eat an apple is at 4 p.m., my end-of-the-workday solution to not grabbing a box of cookies. And then after dinner, when I want something sweet, I slice an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and pop it in the microwave to soften. So yummy.

Everryday Health quoted Jonny Bowden, PhD, author of "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" as saying: "An apple a day really does keep the doctor away." Why? Because apples are loaded with two powerful antioxidants -- quercetin and catechin -- that protect cells from damage and reduces cancer and cardiovascular disease. But you got to eat the skin, because it contains five times more polyphenols than the flesh. Lots of fiber too, which we all know keeps things moving in the right direction!

Before moving on to the nitty-gritty of apple picking, I want to talk about my new favorite apple, the Honeycrisp. We owe its creation to the folks at the University of Minnesota. The outside is red with pale green touches, the flesh a cream color. It is crisp and juicy, and has the perfect blend of a sweet with slightly tart taste. It's all purpose -- use it for baking, sliced into salads, eating as is. It holds up to anything.

CHOOSING: Apples should be firm, with no soft or brown spots.

STORE: Keep apples in the refrigerator. If left at room temperature, they will ripen 10 times faster than those kept in a cool place.

And now for my favorite salad. It really is perfect, especially if made with Honeycrisp apples.

4 cups baby spinach
4 cups baby arugula
4 apples, cored and sliced thin
4 green onions, diced
4 Tblsp. walnut oil
2 Tblsp. Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Gorgonzola
  • Mix together the spinach and arugula in a large bowl.
  • Mix in apples and green onions.
  • Place walnut oil in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in Sherry vinegar.
  • Sprinkle vinaigrette onto salad and mix through.
  • Top with cherries, walnuts and Gorgonzola. Makes 8 servings.


  1. Only thing I'd change - goat cheese for the gorgonzola. I am a cheese wimp and cannot abide any of the blues. (My mother cannot understand where I possibly came from - how could she, of all people, have a daughter that doesn't like blue cheese!?!?)

  2. Great Val. I also love apples. Mostly I like them cooked. Unfortunately I like them cooked in PIE, CAKE,COBBLER -- you know. All the delicious fattening stuff.

    I also lament that for me, so many apples today are too sweet. I'll try the honeycrisp--haven't yet. I like the oldies: winesap, stayman, newton-pippin and gravenstein for eating, but you can only get those in the fall at farm stands.

    I eat apples -- agree with you that 4:00 is a good time. It's a quick and nutritious "sugar" lift just when I would otherwise think COFFEE!!! And I like your idea of nuking them with a sprinkle of cinnamon. I usually make them into chunks and eat them with toothpicks so it seems like more than it is.

    Last night we had leftover chicken which I made into a salad using apples. No real recipe but basically it was cut up chicken, diced apple and toasted almonds mixed with some (oh my goodness, forgive me ...) mayonnaise. YUM. The almonds gave the crunch that most people use celery for and the apples gave it a nice sugar-salty balance. I'd say the ratio was about 3 cups chopped chicken, 2 apples, 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds and enough mayo to bind (we like it rather dry so there really wasn't too much mayo).