This month I can only speak apple. Everywhere I look there seem to be fruit of every colour and variety and the boughs of my own apple trees are bending under the weight of an unreasonable abundance. Whilst I love apples and my children are cutting quite a swathe through the crop, even I am wondering whether it will be possible to avoid wasting some of this treasure.
And, as we chomp our way through with unfettered enthusiasm, I also think about the saying: 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' and wonder where it stemmed from. Whilst apples have been considered to have healthful properties for many centuries, a version of this proverb was first recorded in Pembrokeshire, Wales in the 1860s, so is a relatively modern saying. Whether or not it was observed that those who ate apples regularly had less need for medical support, it is certainly true that apples contain healthful properties. Not only do they contain good levels of vitamins but they also have plant chemicals which have anti-inflammatory properties and may offer some protection against neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's Disease.
Apples also contain a type of fibre, called pectin, which is supportive of a healthy digestion and which provides nourishment to the desirable bacteria in our gut. This can help reduce potentially harmful bacteria and support a well regulated immune system.
One of my favourite apple habits is borrowed from Michael Ash of Nutrilink. This is to have a 100g portion of stewed apple every morning at breakfast, spiced up with a teaspoon of cinnamon. The best apples to use are the cooking varieties, as they have a higher pectin content and achieve a better consistency. I try to make this in batches, so that I have enough for a few days but it is so popular with the family, that I struggle to make it last for two days. However, larger batches of apple may be gently stewed, then frozen and, looking at the apples weighing down my trees, I have enough of them to last the whole winter.