Learn what variety of apples are harvested in Michigan and their nutrient value.
Late September is harvest time in Michigan for a variety of foods. Apples are a fruit that are readily available in a variety of color and tastes. Archaeologists have found evidence that people have been eating apples since at least 6500 B.C. Apples are considered the most packable, portable food that comes in a variety of colors, sizes and tastes. Apple varieties were brought as seeds from Europe and were spread along Native American trade routes and planted on Colonial farms. By the mid-1600’s there were about 60 varieties of apples. John Chapman, (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) really did exist and is one of the reasons why we have so many apples today. Chapman owned many tree nurseries in the midwest and sold and traded apple trees.
Michigan is the third largest apple producer. Michigan apples are available in most stores, farmer markets or at the various orchards within the state. During the fall take a drive out to an orchard to meet the farmers and either pick your own apples or buy direct from the orchard store. If you can’t get out to the farm, visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store and look for Michigan grown apples.
Apples are low in calories; 100 grams of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories. They, however, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL (or bad cholesterol in the gut). The fiber also saves the colon mucous membrane from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals inside the colon.
Apple fruit contains good quantities of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful, natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Further, apple fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body.
Eat an apple for a snack or pack it in a lunch box – eat them in salads, main dishes or make a pie or crisp. There are endless varieties to choose from. Treat yourself and family to an apple taste-testing experiment to see which ones you like. Enjoy the fall by incorporating this Michigan grown fruit.