Diverse, popular and healthy
Apples offer a wealth of diversity. According to current figures, there are more than 30,000 different apple varieties worldwide, although just over 20 varieties are grown in commercially significant quantities. In Switzerland, apples are in season from August to October and can be stored in a cool place for up to a year. Apples and the culinary pleasures they can be made into – like apple sauce, for example – form the finishing touch to many dishes and provide a memorable taste experience. A classic and delicious dish from Swiss cuisine is the tangy, cheesy Älpler macaroni paired with fruity apple sauce.
- Potassium: helps cells, nerves and muscles to function properly.
- Vitamin C: ensures strong defences, contributes to building connective tissue, cartilage and bones, and has an antioxidant effect.
- Quercetin: this flavonoid gives the apple skin its beautiful colour and has a strong antioxidant effect. It is anti-inflammatory and protects the body from arteriosclerosis, asthma and diabetes mellitus type 2. According to studies, this can reduce the development of cancer cells.
Old or new varieties – which are healthier?
The concentration of healthy substances in apples varies according to variety. “Old" apple varieties such as Boskoop, Cox Orange and Gravensteiner score better in this respect than the new, highly bred varieties such as Pink Lady and Gala. Breeding has led the newer varieties to become more resistant to plant diseases, easier to store and transport, and look immaculate. But this is often at the expense of polyphenols. Usually found directly underneath the skin, these secondary plant substances give the apple a rich flavour and ensure, among other things, that the apple turns brown when cut. Breeding has often led to a strong reduction in polyphenols.
Old varieties are particularly tolerable for apple allergy sufferers
Old apple varieties contain plenty of polyphenols. Often, allergy sufferers tolerate these varieties better. But polyphenols also act in the interest of "non-allergy sufferers": they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and regulate blood pressure.
The multi-talents of apples
The skin of the apple contains large amounts of pectin, which counts as a polysaccharide. Nutritionally speaking, pectins are dietary fibres. These fibres have a lot going for them. Not only do they have the ability to bind water to themselves but also to solidify liquids.
Slow digestion depreciates a person’s quality of life just as much as diarrhoea. To regulate digestion, eating fresh apples is recommended. This is due to the dietary fibres pectin and cellulose that they contain which, in combination with sufficient water, can swell up in the digestive tract and stimulate muscle activity. The stool becomes softer and bowel movements are accelerated. A glass of naturally cloudy apple juice can also provide relief. When drinking juice, the naturally cloudy variety should be chosen, as it contains more valuable secondary plant substances such as polyphenols and flavonoids than clear apple juice.
Excess water in the intestine leads to liquid stool – which is then excreted as diarrhoea. This is where the water-binding pectin in the apple peel can provide relief. In order for the apple pectin to develop its full effect, the best method is to grate the apple with its peel and let it stand for 15 minutes before consuming. The pectin can then bind excess water in the intestine and help reduce diarrhoea. In addition, pectin can bind toxins to itself and eliminate them from the body.
Apple sauce can be used as an egg replacement for baking! The vegan egg substitute keeps cakes, muffins or pancakes moist and succulent. One egg can be replaced by 60-80g of apple sauce. The apple flavour is almost completely lost during baking. For a light and fluffy baking result, simply add half a teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda to the mixture. Caution is advised with store-bought apple sauce, as it often contains large amounts of added sugar. For this reason: pay attention to the ingredients or make it yourself.
Vegan gelling agent
Pectin is a plant-based alternative to conventional gelatine. Thanks to its binding properties, it can be used to make jams, jellies, marmalades and blancmanges. This natural gelling agent can be bought in health food shops or most supermarkets.