Functional Foods at Farmers Markets - Week Six

We’re starting to see apples at the farmers markets and will continue to see them throughout the next few months.

We've all heard "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", but this was a funny new one to me! 


As you enjoy your first crispy bite into one of this year's apples and, as the sweet juice gently trickles down your hand, just try to imagine using apples for baking a sweet treat, a savory dinner, as a base for a delicious salsa, a rosy colored batch of applesauce, or to make a delicious calorie friendly apple butter.

Lets’ discover why apples are a perfect fit for our Functional Foods at Farmers Markets series.



1. Apples contain polyphenol rich pectin, a type of water-soluble fiber, that helps lower LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol that is also known as “bad cholesterol.”

2. Apples are loaded with polyphenols (protective agents) that act as antioxidants to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as atherosclerosis, asthma, and some cancers.

3. Apples also help maintain healthy blood pressure as well as lowering the amount of fat found in liver cells.


1. That apples, specifically, lower the risk of lung cancer however, the exact reasons why are yet to be discovered through ongoing research. Both the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of apples are thought to be the basis of their power to protect the lungs.

2. That consistent consumption of apples lowers the risk of asthma and improves lung function in asthmatics and some with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Again, it is not truly known what specific properties provides the protection but the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions appear to be the basis.

1. Apple skin has VIP status because of what it has in it! When you peel an apple, and do not eat the skin, you lose 33-66% of the antioxidants such as vitamin C and quercetin.

2. Apple skin contains insoluble fiber, which promotes bowel health as well as healthy consistent bowel movements.


3. Apple skin contains ursolic acid, which has been shown to lower the risk of obesity by helping the body increase muscle mass.

4. Cells in the skin of apples contain polyphenols that protect it from the sun’s UVB radiation, which can cause cell damage. In humans, UVB rays cause sunburn and are the main cause of skin cancer. It is thought that eating the whole apple, skin and all, may provide some of the same protection for human skin but by possibly fighting off skin cancer cell formation. 

Below, take a look at the difference of one cup of apples with skin versus without skin. I’ve highlighted the areas that are different.

The serving with skin weighs more, so it's a little more calories. 

Apple with the skin provides more than double the fiber!

The extra sugar is just additional fructose in the apple skin.

Look at that extra vitamin C the skin provides! 

Extra iron is always a plus!






are on the Dirty Dozen list as a fruit that, if you can afford it, should be bought organic.

If you can't purchase organic, just wash them really well before using.

For more information about this, see the EWG resource below.


I’m really spoiled by having three apple trees in my yard, so I know the grower really well and she doesn’t use any chemicals.

Each year, the three trees supply an abundance of beautiful apples for our yearly family applesauce making day.

Making applesauce is so easy and fun, you should give it a try! Find a recipe in the resources section. 


Notice our applesauce is a rosy color because, to help retain antioxidants and fiber, we use green and red apples, leave the skins on when cooking, and don’t drain the water.

If any is left, we freeze it to have during the winter months.


A Way to, Skins-on applesauce to freeze, can, and share:

Ask the Dietitian: Apple Recipe Ideas news video/interview with recipe:

Culinary Nutrition Cuisine, March Recipe Redux: Baked Apples:

Daily Burn, 14 Amazing Apple Recipes for Fall:

Dietitian-Developed Kid-Friendly Apple Recipes:

Eating Richly: Kid Friendly Foods Rich in Nutrition & Flavor, Recipe for Sugar Free Apple Butter:

Eating Well, Our Top Healthy Recipes for Apples:

EWG (Environmental Working Group) - Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list signup: