By Lisa Ronco, RD, CDN, CDE, MS
Apples are one of the most popular fruits worldwide, and for many great reasons. (Did you know the proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” dates back to the 19th century?) Beyond being inexpensive, easy to pack and eat on the go, apples are a good source of fiber (eat the peel!), and are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, which serve important roles in keeping the body healthy.
But that’s not all! There are many fun uses for apples. They can be deliciously useful both in and out of the kitchen. Read on to learn how apples can be used in the kitchen, for a facial mask, and even as an exercise booster!
Fun ways to use apples:
Ripen other fruits: The natural gas apples emit (called ethylene) helps to speed the ripening process. If you need to ripen fruits like bananas, avocados and pears, place them in a paper bag with an apple.
Keep Baked Goods Moist: The moisture apples give off will keep those homemade cookies you made moist. When you are storing cakes and other baked goods, store them in an airtight container with half an apple.
Soften Brown Sugar: Has your brown sugar ever turned into a brick? Soften it up by putting some of the brown sugar, along with an apple slice, into a sealable bag. Your brown sugar will be good as new in a few days.
Sweeten Food: Apples are a great natural alternative to processed sugars. In baking, applesauce is a way to get the taste you love with fewer calories. Slice a few apples and simmer in water (add a splash of your favorite juice if you’re feeling adventurous) until the apples are soft. Once cooled, puree in a blender. When baking, use a 1:1 ratio to replace oil with applesauce (1/4 cup applesauce for 1/4 cup oil). Not ideal for cookies.
Make a beauty mask:
True beauty starts in the kitchen! Whip up this easy and delicious-tasting mask for younger-looking, more vibrant skin. The Alpha-hydroxy acid in apples helps slough off dead skin cells to reveal fresh new skin underneath. Honey is a wonderful moisturizing humectant used for centuries. Mixed together, they make a recipe for a vibrant and glowing complexion.
INGREDIENTS: Honey as needed (about 1/8 cup), 1/4 apple, 1/4 orange, 6 grapes peeled, 3 strawberries.
1. Mix the fruits (without the honey) in a blender or food processor until smooth.
2. Wash face and pat dry. Immediately apply a thin layer of honey, and then smooth the fruit mixture evenly over the honey.
3. Allow the mask to remain in place for at least 15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and gently pat dry.
Lisa Ronco is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and Certified Diabetes Educator based in New York City. She also specializes in Ayuverda, a system of medicine traditional to India.