Fun Ways to Take the Boredom Out of ApplesPosted: Sep 29 in Healthy Eating Menu by Staff
An age-old fruit, apples are about as common as they come. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a grocery store at any time of year that doesn’t carry them. But along with their ordinariness, apples have lost their allure for many people–and a regular spot in their diets. And that’s unfortunate, because the apple is one of the most intriguing and powerful fruits around. Don’t let boredom with apples keep you from enjoying all they have to offer. Here’s how you can reignite passion and appeal for this dynamically delicious piece of produce:
Explore the Varieties
If red delicious, gala, or granny smith apples don’t tickle your taste buds, you’ve only scratched the surface of apple options. According to the University of Illinois Extension, 7,500 varieties are grown throughout the world, with 2,500 of them in the United States. And with flavors ranging from sweet to tangy to tart, there’s something to excite everyone, including many unique local choices. Head to the grocery store or farmer’s market to explore and taste. You’re sure to find any number of apples that’ll get your palate buzzing with fresh, juicy pleasure.
Read Up on Apples’ Health Perks
A small fruit that’s as powerfully packed as the apple is nothing to yawn about. Besides containing a hefty amount of fiber–over four grams in one medium-sized fruit–apples are jammed with disease-fighting antioxidants, like quercetin, which fights Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and catechins, known to fend off various cancers and lower bad cholesterol and diabetes risk. Green apples are also loaded with vitamin C to protect the skin and strengthen immunity. Reading up on the powerhouse health perks of the apple will keep your boredom at bay and the doctor away.
Enjoy Them Fresh: Whole, Chopped, or Sliced
The taste and texture of fresh, ripe fruit is hard to beat, especially when it comes to the apple. While biting into the whole fruit can spark an invigorating sensation, you can enjoy fresh apples chopped and sliced too. Add them to humdrum salads, yogurt, oatmeal, and peanut butter toast for a crunchy, lively boost. Or toss them into a glass of sangria for a fun embellishment. To keep freshly cut apples from browning, consume them soon after slicing. You can also sprinkle them with lemon juice or soak the slices in cold salted water for a few minutes, drain, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Dabble in Dips
Dips are all the rage and the perfect accompaniment to spice up the everyday apple. Choose between sweet and savory, creamy and chunky, or warm and cold dips. For some healthy options, consider a yogurt-based dip made with peanut butter and honey or pure maple syrup. Dipping apples makes them fun to eat, serve, and prepare, plus it’s a great way to enhance the fruit’s flavor.
Experience an Apple Orchard
Nothing can turn a dull day into a spirited adventure like visiting an apple orchard. Not only will you find local apple varieties to learn about, pick, and sample; many orchards host activities and events for all ages, from hayrides to corn mazes to live music. Orchards also offer prepicked apples, baked goods, and other products for sale. Bear in mind, apple orchards are typically open during apple-picking season in the fall months, so mark the calendar well in advance to avoid missing out on this fun family activity. Check online directories for apple orchards in your area.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Move over apple pie, and make room for all the innovative new recipes that use apples as a key ingredient. A search for what’s trending in cooking with apples will yield plenty of fresh ideas as well as twists on old favorites. Try apple tartlets, apple coleslaw, baked chicken with apples, apple pancakes, apple fritters, sweet potato and apple casserole, or apple upside down cake. Or be bold and concoct your own signature recipe using apples. You’ll be amazed at how a simple piece of fruit can bring fun, flare, and flavor to your culinary creations and endeavors.
Play a Game with Apples
Although the popular game of bobbing for apples started as a Celtic New Year’s tradition to determine a person’s future spouse, you don’t need a special holiday or reason to play the game nowadays and it’s still popular with all ages. About 25% of the apple’s volume is air, which is why they make the perfect floating fruit. But other apple games can raise the fun factor of this common, everyday fruit too. How about an apple balancing relay race, a scavenger hunt with apples, or an apple stacking game? Be warned: the apple may become your new favorite game piece.
Make Apple Bowls
Like doing crafts? Grab some apples for the enticingly fun project of making apple bowls. Craft the bowl in a similar fashion as you would when carving a pumpkin. Slice off the top with a knife and scoop the insides using a serrated grapefruit spoon or melon baller. Once the bowl is formed, wipe the inside with lemon juice to keep it from browning. Apple bowls can be filled with berries, nuts, granola, fruit salad, or anything of your choosing. Be sure to reserve the top of the apple for a lid. The best thing about apple bowls? Unlike other bowls, you can eat them!
Dry for a Healthy Variation
Don’t be fooled by the shriveled appearance of dried apples. They’re anything but weak and boring. In fact, dried or dehydrated apples have many enticing benefits. For one thing, they’re easy to store, eat, and use. They also pack a punch in fiber and other nutrients. Drying apples is a fun activity you can do with the kids, too. Follow directions for making dried apples in a food dehydrator, the oven, or the sun. Once dried, apples can be tossed into breads, soups, salads, or tea, or you can opt for a healthy snack of dried apple chips sprinkled with cinnamon and cardamom.
Entertain with Apple Facts
Whether you’re a trivia buff or not, the apple is rich in fascinating history and facts. For example, did you know the modern apple evolved from a species of fruit trees native to the Tien Shan mountains in central Asia? Or that the largest apple grown came from Japan and weighed more than four pounds? How about the fact that producing one apple takes energy from 50 leaves of the apple tree? Do some research on apple facts and trivia and you will uncover a plethora of information to amaze and entertain your family and friends.
If you haven’t already, get reacquainted with the apple and embrace all it has to offer. You’ll soon discover this ordinary fruit is nothing short of extraordinary in nutrition, versatility, and fun.