Friday, August 30, 2013

Cheap Food Factfile: Apples

I decided I would start creating little “ingredient fact-files” on my blog, so that you guys can learn a little about the history, science, nutritional information, and funny facts regarding some of the foods you cook with and eat. All of these ingredients I’ll feature will be cheap, and will be nutritious- these are my main focuses. Firstly, I thought I would start with apples.

Price per kg: £1.30

The apple is a seeded fruit, that originated from Central Asia. Since then, it has been grown for thousands of years in Europe, and was brought to North America by the English and Irish settlers.

There are over 7500 different varieties of apples, with the most popular in the UK being:

·         Pink Lady
·         Cox Orange Pippin
·         Honeycrisp
·         Fuji
·         Granny Smith
·         Gala
·         Golden/ Red Delicious
·         Braeburn 

Health Benefits
Theres a reason why they say “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”! As well as being one of your 5 a day fruit and vegetable portions, it is also low in calories, and a good source dietary fibre. It is perhaps this high fibre content that links the consumption of apples with lower risk of colon cancer, and also aids with weight loss in overweight/obese individuals- with dietary fibre keeping you fuller for longer.

Nutritional Information  (per 100g)
Calories- 52kcal
(of which Sugars)- 10.39g
Protein- 0.26g
Fat- 0.17g
Dietary Fibre- 2.4g

We British think that apples are an English staple, but in fact almost 50% of the world’s apples are produced by China. The two other biggest producers are America and Turkey.

Interesting Apple Fact
Apple seeds are poisonous! Don’t panic though, a few swallowed seeds will do you no harm, but a whole cup of the things (about 120g) will kill you! There is a chemical in the seeds, called amygdalin, which is like a mix of sugar and cyanide.

Ways we like them!
The most popular way of consuming apples in this country (apart from eating them raw) is in an apple pie or an apple crumble. Apple sauce is very popular in both USA and in England (to put with roast pork!). Apples can also of course be pressed and filtered to make apple juice, and can also be fermented to create many alcoholic beverages (particularly popular in England and France) such as Cider and Calvados. Cider vinegar is also a very popular ingredient for use in salad dressings.

I’m not too much of a sweet girl (we all knew that!), but I quite like apples- the main ways I like to have them is chopped up and mixed with yoghurt and honey for breakfast, or, I like chucking 1 or two into blended soups- they go particularly well in tomato/red pepper soups, or spiced butternut squash/sweet potato soup, because they add a nice sweetness to them.

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