As fall approaches, apple picking is a fun activity for the family! The fresh air and exercise are invigorating; add the challenge of who can find the biggest apples, collect the most apples or find the most unique looking apple, and bring to your outing lots of smiles and chuckles. After all the apples are gathered, everyone wins by eating their favorite variety.
Apples also provide excellent nutrition. According to the USDA, one medium-sized apple contains approximately 90 calories, is a simple carbohydrate and a good source of dietary fiber; it has Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and even some Calcium and Iron mineral content. According to Chinese Medicine nutrition, an apple is cool in temperature, has sweet and sour tastes, supports the Lung and Stomach meridians or energy pathways, and has the function of increasing fluids, lubricating the lungs and promoting digestion. According to Ayurvedic nutrition, apples have a cool temperature with an astringent taste. The Ayurvedic mind-body type, Vata, which approximates to the Western ectomorph body type, runs cold and dry; cooked apples eaten at a warm temperature are soothing and calming for a Vata. Another mind-body type, Pitta, which roughly corresponds to the Western mesomorph body type, runs hot, so a sweet and ripe apple is a great option. Like a Vata, a Pitta can also consume apples that are not sweet and ripe, as long as they are cooked and eaten at a warm temperature. The third and last Ayurvedic mind-body type, Kapha, with a shape close to the Western endomorph, runs cold and oily, so here too, apples are a favorable food choice: this even extends to apple butter on pancakes or hot apple cider.
And there are so many apples types to choose from during this time of year! Some of the more popular varieties are Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, Autumn Gold, Pippin, Granny Smith and Braeburn. New varieties, like “Envy” (a cross of Royal Gala and Braeburn), appear all the time. When my son was in preschool, his teacher would bring in samples of various apples to see which variety of apple the children preferred. They loved participating in the daily apple tasting. If you don’t have the opportunity to go to your own classroom tasting or family apple picking, one alternative is to prepare an apple tasting in your home. Add dipping sauces for the apple slices to add more appeal (pun intended).
A simple way to incorporate an apple into your meal is to add thinly sliced or cubed apple to your salad, or apple butter to your favorite sandwich. Apple chutney on chicken or turkey is delicious. And an easy dessert is to simply core an apple, bake until soft, and then add Earth Balance or butter, along with a pinch of cinnamon (Ayruveda holds that butter is good for Vata and Pita types). Craving more apple fun? Try an apple candle or apple potpourri.
Since it is prime time to enjoy apples, find your favorite way with friends and family to embrace the apple season. Whether that is apple picking, apple tasting or just making and sharing your favorite apple recipe, come celebrate what Thoreau admiringly called “the noblest of fruits.”