An apple a day keeps the doctor away | SierraSun.com

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Chef Heather Hunsaker
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212;-This popular saying has had generations gobbling up apples one day at a time and for good reason.

Apples have been found throughout most of history, dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, more than 7,000 varieties of apples are grown world-wide, with only about 100 varieties produced commercially in the Untied States.

Apples are a fat, sodium and cholesterol-free food. They are rich in fiber and pectin, which has been proven to reduce cholesterol, aid in digestion, as well as help diabetics regulate their blood sugar. Apples also contain boron, which has been shown to help strengthen bones.

While apples are sold throughout the year, they are harvested in the fall and freshest during the months of August through November. When selecting apples for this week’s-meal planning, look for ones that are firm, with a fresh fragrance, smooth skin, and free from bruises or gouges. Apples should be stored in a cool dark place, such as the refrigerator. Once cut, apples will discolor quickly if exposed to open air. To prevent this, store sliced apples in a lemon juice and water mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Apples can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Raw apples are a wonderful snack or can be added to salads. A raw apple eaten with the skin on has the most vitamins and nutrients. Apples can also be baked into pies, cobblers or crisps. Granny smith, cortland, cameo, and jonathan apples are best for this cooking method due to their ability to keep their shape and flavor during the baking process. However, if choosing to cook apples over direct heat for the creation of sauces, McIntosh or golden delicious apples are preferred choices for this shorter cooking method, due to their ability to break down quickly. In addition to these cooking methods, apples preserve

well in canning and freezing processes.

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With apples in abundance this autumn season, why not try a few new varieties and different preparation styles? These Easy Caramel Apple Pork Chops are quick and flavorful, and will sure to be a hit with the entire family!

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Serves 4

4 (3/4-inch thick) boneless pork chops

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoon butter

2 apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

2 tablespoon water

4 tablespoon chopped pecans

Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops on each side with salt and pepper. Saute chops in oil, 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until both sides are evenly browned. Remove; keep warm.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Add butter to skillet; stir in brown sugar mixture, apples, and water. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or just until apples are tender.

Spoon apple mixture over prepared pork chops and serve topped with pecans.

and#8212; Chef Heather attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was 9-years-old in her mother’s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site http://www.foodonthetable.com.