Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Apples

Apples are one of the few fruits that seem to be available in plentiful quantities year-round, but they’re at their peak (both in quantity, quality, and nutritional value) in the Fall.  Apples are one of the best sources of soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol.  They’re also a good source of Vitamin C.  To get the most health benefits from apples, eat them with the skin on, as that’s where most of their nutritional value lies.  I went apple picking over the weekend, and I plan on using my fridge full of apples in the following recipes.

Applesauce

Ingredients
8 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices (preferably a naturally-sweet variety like golden delicious, red delicious, or gala)
½ cup water
2 lemon slices
⅛ tsp nutmeg
¼  tsp cinnamon

Instructions
1.  Combine apples, water and lemon slices in a large saucepan.
2.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until apples are part sauce and with some chunks of apple left. Watch closely and stir often to prevent burning. Applesauce should be thick; add more water if necessary. Leave sauce chunky or put apples and lemons through a food mill or coarse sieve.
4.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm or chilled. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to one week. Yield 5 to 6 cups.

Recipe from University of Illinois Extension

Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients
¼ cup raisins
2 acorn squash
8 sprays butter-flavored cooking spray
2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 medium Fuji apples
2 tbsp butter

Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 375°.

2.  Soak raisins in warm water for 20 minutes.  Drain.
3.  Cut acorn squash into quarters and remove seeds.
4.  Spray the inside of each quarter with one spray of the cooking spray.  Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and sprinkle squash with half of this mixture.
5.  Bake for 10 minutes.
6.  Cut apples into quarters, remove core, and chop into ½-inch pieces.
7.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add apples, raisins, and the rest of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Mix well and remove from heat.
8.  Take squash out of the oven and fill each piece evenly with the apple mixture.
9.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until squash and apples are tender.  Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Fruits and Veggies – More Matters

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