A SLICE TO SAVOR: Apples: A well-seasoned staple of fall food

Kelly Burgess

Kelly Burgess

The air is turning crisp, the mornings are breathing fog, and sweatshirts are emerging from the depths of our closets.

Although these telltale signs of autumn are lagging behind the calendar for southern Kentucky this year, the fall foods are coming in right on schedule. Among these fall favorites is a season staple, the apple.

My personal memories of apples start back in kindergarten when my class took a field trip to a local orchard. I got way too excited to take a hayride tour of the orchard and have the chance to harvest my very own apple. When you’re a little kid, choosing red, yellow or green apples and reaching up high in the tree for the most picturesque one is the experience of a lifetime.

If you’ve been in Bowling Green long enough, you may have had a similar experience even as a not-so-little kid. Jackson’s Orchard is the place to go for all your apple festivities and cravings. Their menu boasts apple cider slushes, fried pies, caramel apples and an unrivaled selection of freshly picked varieties.

I would like to think that I’m not the only one who feels the warm nostalgia of autumn apples. But how did apples earn this coveted spot in the hearts of so many? I’m convinced apples are a very dynamic fruit, capable of bringing fond memories and a rich history to mind. Apple pie strikes the chords of patriotism all over the United States, and you know you’ve heard “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Apples seem to steal the show for fall-time favorites, but their striking nutrient content, health benefits and functionality justify the favoritism they inspire. Although they are not directly medicinal by nature, eating apples on a regular basis promotes health in ways associated with lowering the risk for several chronic diseases.

The fiber found in apple peels is beneficial for digestive health, prevention of Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Fiber gives your digestive tract a workout, regulates spikes in blood sugar, and causes you to feel full longer. Apples are also excellent sources of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body to prevent infection –– no more cold symptoms this season!

The phytochemicals found in apples also make a significant contribution to their health benefit profile. “Phytonutrients” are just special chemicals found in plant foods that promote neuron and cell health by protecting against damaging substances in the body.

While some students may eat apples for these nutritional and health benefits, others may simply enjoy the sweet, sour, crisp fruit just for the taste alone. Just as apples’ functions are dynamic inside the body, they are also versatile in how they can be consumed. Apples can easily be transformed into a tasty snack that can even be enjoyed as a dessert.

First, cut the apple into slices, and lay them in a pinwheel shape on a plate. Then, add a small dollop of peanut butter to the inside portions of each slice. If you love chocolate as much as I do, top the peanut butter with a few chocolate chips. Finally, drizzle honey in a spiral around the slices, and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. This delicious snack will give you all the benefits of eating an apple, plus a little extra protein and sweetness. Apples provide a wealth of ways to eat and enjoy, so find your favorite, and celebrate autumn with an extra apple today!