We in B.C. are blessed with some of the best apple orchards in the world. Over 400 farmers from the Okanagan to the Fraser Valley provide us with the “king of fruits” starting mid-August through to early November. Specific varieties of apples store well, continuing the bounty for months.
Apples are both delicious and nutritious – they’re a great source of fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidants such as quercetin, catechins and chlorogenic acid. Low on the glycemic scale and fibre rich, apples are great weight-management food.
I grew up in Vancouver where it was common to find apple trees right in people’s backyards. We had such a tree and every mid- to late-August it produced lots of little green apples streaked with red. These weren’t sweet like modern-day prized apples such as Gala or Ambrosia, but were tart and mouth-puckering. This saved them from decimation by me and my siblings while the neighbour’s sweet-treat-laden cherry tree didn’t fare as well. Through my research, I’m pretty sure they were Gravenstein apples, which are loved for their great baking attributes – crisp, tart, acidic with honey notes.
The magic happened when mom would transform them into pies, apple squares, muffins and apple sauce –these are precious apple memories and the beginning of my love of apples.
Early season apples tend to be tart and more acidic but can be very flavourful so are perfect for baking.
Watch for these mostly heirloom varietals with names such as Transparent, Gravenstein, Early Gold, and Sunrise as they land in the produce sections in late summer, and create your own early season apple creations!
Backyard Apple Sauce
(Makes about 4 cups)
1 1/2 lb early season apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (about 4 medium)
1/3 cup water
1-2 tbsp. maple syrup (for lower carb, use stevia or erythritol)
2 tsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
Optional: 1 tsp. allspice, cardamom or ginger
Place the apples in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the water, maple syrup and spices and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until apples are tender, adding more water if necessary, stirring frequently. When tender (about 15-20 min), remove from heat. If you like a chunky sauce, mash with a potato masher until you have the consistency you like. For a super smooth apple sauce, puree in your food processor.
Add the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and adjust seasonings if desired.
Serve apple sauce straight up, layer it with yogurt and granola for a healthy parfait, mix in your oatmeal or serve over ice cream for easy apple pie in a bowl!
D’Arcy Furness is a registered holistic nutritionist (R.H.N.) and is the Nutrition Consultant at Choices Markets South Surrey. For more free information on nutrition email firstname.lastname@example.org