apples

Fruit in focus: Awesome apples

Crunchy, sweet, and versatile in cooking, apples are full of fibre and packed with vitamin C. By Guilda Akopians

Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables can bring many benefits to your health and wellbeing. Eating these in season not only maximises their natural flavour and scent, it enables you to support local producers (farmers, farm shops and local independent shops) in their businesses as well as for them to be able to bring us a variety of goods at reasonable prices because we create a demand!

Nutritious food is not only great for the body, especially our gut, it can work wonders for our mind, by keeping us energised and sustained positively.

In the month of September, the following fruits and vegetables are in season, however, I want to shine the spotlight on the fruit that can certainly keep the doctor away, the nutritious 'apple'!

Fruit

  • Apples (Bramley) (coming into season)
  • Apricots (end of season)
  • Blackberries Blueberries (end of season)
  • Grapes (short season to October)
  • Figs (coming into season)
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches (end of season)
  • Pears (coming into season)
  • Plums (coming into season)
  • Raspberries (end of season)
  • Tomatoes

Vegetables

  • Artichokes (globe)
  • Aubergines
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans (in season until early September)
  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash

 

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Kale (coming into season)
  • Pak choi (end of season)
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes (main crop)
  • Pumpkin (coming into season)
  • Rocket
  • Sweetcorn
  • Watercress

Apples are one of the world's favourite fruits and for good reason. Not only are they plentiful pretty much all around the world, but they are also super tasty and nutritious. There has been a lot of noise made in the media about people, in general, not getting enough fibre into our diets, however, apples are a great source of fibre especially when enjoying them with their skin and, along with apples containing a high-water content, when enjoyed throughout the day, it is a filling 'food type'.

We often hear the phrase, 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', well, this is quite true. The fibre found in apples is a soluble fibre called pectin and it can support a healthy digestive system therefore improving gut health. Apple skin contains quercetin, a type of plant pigment flavonoid that helps to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Apples also contain a high level of vitamin C which we can always do with in our general health and wellbeing.

How to enjoy apples every day
Apples can be enjoyed throughout the day, as part of a meal or as a snack. Here are some ideas to get you going:

apples

Breakfast

Apple Porridge:
Make apple porridge (serves 1 person) by mixing 45g (1.5 oz) porridge oats (gluten-free, if you wish) with 235ml (8 fl oz) plant-based milk of your choice, 120ml (4 fl oz) water, pinch of salt, 1 grated apple, a handful of raisins, ½ tsp of cinnamon and cook until ready. Alternatively, make a bowl of 'plain' porridge, then add freshly grated apples to the top with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder and a dash of maple syrup.

apples

Parsnip & Apple Soup with Parsnip Crisps

Serves 4
• 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
• 2 small/medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
• 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
• 2 medium stalks celery, sliced
• 2 medium apples, peeled and chopped (ideally cooking apples as these are sour and add a delicious flavour to the soup however I only had Gala apples in the fridge so I used them and they work well)
• 2 vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 2 litres (3.5 pints) hot water (or 2 litre (3.5 pints) fresh vegetable stock)
• 1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (with a grater) to make crispy parsnip crisps
Salt and pepper, to taste
• ¼ can of coconut milk
• 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped for garnish (or ½ tsp dried parsley)

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/370°F/ Gas 5.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the stock water and all the vegetables and apples. Once the water boils, turn heat down, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the thinly sliced parsnips on a flat baking tray, spray with some sunflower oil, a little salt and pepper, mix with your hands and bake in the oven for 15 minutes ensuring you keep turning them over every 5 minutes as they tend to burn quickly.
4. Once the vegetables are soft, add the coconut milk, mix with a hand blender until smooth.
5. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
6. Serve in bowls and top with parsley garnish and parsnip crisps.

apples

Dinner

Quinoa Salad:
Enjoy a nice quinoa salad loaded with red peppers, black beans, fresh herbs (coriander and parsley work really well), some toasted sunflower seeds and diced apples. Serve up with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing with lots of freshly ground pepper.

apples

Snack

Apple & Nut Butter:
Cut your apple into slices. Add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite nut butter to a bowl and dip in your apple slices.

I hope I've given you some delicious ways to enjoy apples and ideas on how to include them in your everyday meals and snacks.

Words by Guilda Akopians, plant-based chef and nutritionist. For more delicious recipes please go to rootedvegankitchen.com.

VeganLife

The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.