‘Tis the season…for apples! Fall is in the air, especially in New England. Images of pumpkins, apples, cider doughnuts, and colorful trees fill the mind. One way to make these images a reality is to go apple picking. Massachusetts has great farms to choose from such as Lookout Farm in Natick or Russell Orchards in Ipswich.
When you go apple picking, you may wonder if you should pick organic apples. This is a tricky question. A recent study concluded that there is no significant evidence to suggest that organic fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than conventionally grown ones. However, there may be a difference in pesticide levels. In fact, apples are at the top of what’s called the “Dirty Dozen” list. These fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of pesticides on their skins than others. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose organic when buying from this list in order to reduce your intake of pesticides. Feel free to ask your local farmers if they use pesticides.
Conventional produce is better than no produce at all, however. If buying conventional fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly. Peeling off the skin will also lower your exposure to pesticides, but unfortunately it will deprive you of fiber and antioxidants.
When you return home from the farm, you’re bound to have an abundance of apples. Cooked apples with raisins is a go-to side dish in my family (and also a great dessert!). If you can’t eat all of your apples before they start going bad, don’t worry. Those leftover, on-the-verge-of-mushy apples will be perfect for this simple dish. This recipe calls for organic apples, but substitute conventional if that is what you have on hand. And remember that you can be creative with the recipe – add walnuts, oats, or different spices to satisfy your own taste.
Cooked Apples with Raisins
Total time: 30 minutes
4 organic apples
1 cup apple cider or water
½ cup organic raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
- Cut apples into bite-size pieces.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium heat, while stirring regularly, for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold and enjoy!
Lainey Younkin, RD is a second-year Nutrition Communication student at Friedman. She loves simple recipes and can’t wait to go apple picking this fall!