Apples

Apples and Honey

With Rosh Hashanah right around the corner, apples dipped in honey will soon be on our dinner tables – a traditional symbol for a sweet new year.

Even without honey, apples make a delicious snack any time. They’re a good source of healthy antioxidants and pectin – a form of fiber that’s good for lowering cholesterol.

As for honey, why not try something new this year and choose a dark flavorful variety, like eucalyptus, avocado, buckwheat or chestnut? These tend to be higher in antioxidants than the milder and more common clover and citrus honeys.

Is honey good for you?

Preliminary studies suggest that antioxidants in honey may help speed up metabolism and aid in weight loss. But don’t get too excited. The calories in honey (64 per tablespoon) add up quickly, so you can easily gain weight by eating too much.

Though there’s no clinical evidence that honey can help relieve allergy symptoms, it just might help soothe a cough. When tested against over-the-counter cough syrups, honey was more effective! Just don’t give honey to children younger than a year old, as it contains bacteria than can produce botulism poisoning in an infant’s immature immune system.

In ancient times, honey was used as a wound dressing. Research is now confirming its effectiveness.

Nutrition and medicine aside, I recommend eating more apples and trying at least one new variety of honey this year, just because they taste so good!

שנה טובה ומתוקה

A Happy and Sweet New Year to Everyone

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Too Many Latkes?

Have you had your fill of latkes? Can’t bear to see another jelly donut?

Do you feel like you’ve put on weight since the start of Chanukah?

How about planning a simple and healthy Shabbat dinner this week? Here’s a menu idea: salmon, steamed broccoli, quinoa pilaf and a green salad. And for dessert, baked apples.

My greengrocer recently introduced me to Pink Lady Apples. First he had big shiny ones with stickers in English – obviously for export. Now he has smaller, un-waxed Ladies – export rejects! These apples are sweet and crisp. They’re great for eating raw. And they don’t fall apart during baking.

Here’s an easy recipe for baked apples that uses heart healthy walnuts and oatmeal and a minimum amount of sugar and fat.

Shabbat Shalom, Chanukah Sameach and Chodesh Tov!

Apple-Crisp Baked Apples (Parve)

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup apple juice or cider
6 medium or 8 small firm baking apples

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, walnuts and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the oil and stir to combine.

Peel the top third of each apple. Use an apple corer or a melon scoop to remove the core of the apple. Leave the bottom of the apple intact, so the filling won’t leak out.

Fill each apple generously with the nut filling. Spoon any extra filling on top. Arrange the apples in the baking dish and pour the apple juice around the apples.

Cover the dish tightly and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to bake for about 30 minutes, basting the apples with the juice in the dish. The apples are done when you can easily cut them with a sharp knife.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8

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What Should I Eat?

Most of us hear a lot about what we shouldn’t eat.

“Cut back on red meat.” “Don’t drink sweetened soda.” “Eat fewer processed foods.” “Eat less sugar, fat and salt.” The list of “don’ts” just keeps growing.

Do you ever wonder what’s left that’s healthy and still tastes good? Would you like to know what you really should be eating?

Here’s the first in a periodic series of articles called “What Should I Eat?” Short tidbits about “normal” food that is good for you. Nothing exotic or expensive – I promise.

An Apple a Day?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Doesn’t this phrase sound rather passé now that more fashionable fruits are “in”? But it may be closer to the truth that we ever thought.

In a number of large studies, eating apples regularly had a positive effect on blood pressure, risk of heart disease and stroke. Research points to an array of antioxidants and pectin (a form of soluble fiber) in apples that have a positive effect on cholesterol metabolism. Cancer-fighting compounds have also been identified in apples.

There are endless varieties of apples. Though modern agriculture has limited the choice in many supermarkets to a few mainstays like Red and Golden Delicious and Granny Smith, keep an eye out for other varieties as well. Don’t let the designation of “eating” and “baking” get in the way of tasting different apples. You may find that a baking apple is your favorite eating apple. And if you’re lucky, local farmers may be growing heirloom or more unusual varieties native to your area.

Since much of an apple’s healthy phytochemicals are concentrated in its peel, eat whole unpeeled apples whenever you can. When you want a change, try baked apples, apple crisp, apple sauce and even apple juice. Look for unsweetened products that are made with whole apples.

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Chana Rubin, RD

Food for the Soul

Traditional Jewish Wisdom for Healthy Eating
By Chana Rubin, RD

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