Did you know that New York State is the second largest producer of apples in the U.S. with an average of 25 million bushels harvested annually? A variety of fresh locally grown apples can be found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
The old adage, “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”, has a grain of truth to it. Apples are loaded with pectin, a soluble fiber that aids in digestion and may help reduce cancer and heart disease. One apple provides as much dietary fiber as a bowl of bran cereal. Apples also contain boron, an essential trace element that helps harden bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.
The best place to store apples is in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to maintain quality, juiciness and crispness. Apples stored at room temperature deteriorate ten times faster than refrigerated apples. It’s best to store apples in a ventilated plastic bag away from foods with strong odors. Don’t store apples with broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, lettuce or spinach. Apples give off a gas that can damage these vegetables. This same gas will speed the ripening of bananas, kiwis, peaches, plums and pears. Placing these fruits into a paper bag with an apple will help them to ripen much quicker.
Consider serving apples with cheese as a snack, appetizer or dessert. The following dessert pizza recipe is from the New York State Apple Country web site, www.nyapplecountry.com. Visit this website for more recipes and information about different apple varieties.
APPLE CHEDDAR PIZZA WITH TOASTED PECANS
3 large apples*, thinly sliced
1 cup apple juice
1 (12 oz. can) refrigerated, ready-made pizza dough
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. honey*
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese*
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat 14-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Press dough into pizza pan.
Cook apples in apple juice until tender. (This won’t take long, only a few minutes. Don’t allow apples to get mushy.) Drain off juice and reserve.
Place apple slices on dough. Dissolve cornstarch in apple juice, cinnamon, and honey. Cook over medium heat until clear. Spread sauce over apples. Sprinkle pecans on top. Top with cheese. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.
Source: U.S. Apple Association
Nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 7g protein.
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For more information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org, 885-8995.