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National Apple Month

Are you aware that there are over 120 different varieties of apples that grow in New England? Although local grocery stores may have some, most apple varieties are found in your local apple orchards. A great way to start looking for new apples to try is to go to http://www.newenglandapples.org/apples/. There you will find pictures, names and descriptions of apples, as well as, the orchards where you can pick your own apples. If you are not an apple picker but still want to enjoy the health benefits of freshly picked apples, many orchards also have apples ready to purchase.

Most of us know that apples are good for us, but do you know why?

A medium three-inch apple has four grams of fiber and vitamin C. The fiber helps to fill you up and lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels, improves blood sugars and insulin sensitivity. Increased fiber intake can help gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and constipation (1). Although for constipation you also want to make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Vitamin C helps our immune system to work properly; a support wound healing, and helps us absorb iron from plant-based foods (2). All this for only 95 calories!

One medium apple counts is equal to one cup of fruit. It is recommended that the average adult consume at least two cups of fruit daily.

Now that you know where to find them and why they are so good for you, what should you do with all the apples you pick? Besides eating them, there are plenty of foods you can make with apples besides baking apple pie. Below is a warm soup recipe that is perfect for fall.

Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Apple

Chicken soup with cabbage and apple is the definition of hearty in a bowl. Earthy green cabbage mingles with moist shredded chicken, chicken sausage, and broth-soaked potatoes. Tart, crunchy apple slices add a fruity counterpoint to this German-inspired soup.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces chicken apple sausage, sliced
  • 5 cups Chicken Stock or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces chopped Yukon gold potato
  • 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 cups sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add caraway and fennel; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Place in a spice or coffee grinder; process until ground.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook 6 minutes. Add sausage; cook 1 minute. Add ground spices; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add Chicken Stock and potato; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add cabbage and remaining ingredients; cook 3 minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 328, Fat 9.8 g, sat fat 2.2 g, Protein 28.5 g, Carbohydrate 33.2 g, Fiber 6.4 g, Sodium 369 mg

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine. January 2012. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-soup-cabbage-apple.

References:

  1. Anderson JW1, Baird P, Davis RH Jr, Ferreri S, Knudtson M, Koraym A, Waters V, Williams CL. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009 Apr;67(4):188-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x.
  2. Vitamin C: Factsheet for Consumer: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/.

Written by Inmay MacNeil MS, RD, LDN Nutrition Education Specialist

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