Reportedly 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world, with 2,500 in the U.S. alone where the annual crop exceeds 220,000,000 bushels. Pomologists are discovering and cultivating new varieties all the time. In fact, historians believe apples have been consumed in one form or another since 6,500 B.C. The Greeks and Romans regarded them as symbols of love and beauty.
But what about alternative uses for this varietal, abundant, and crisp autumn crop? These possibilities will expand your apple database and perhaps inspire you to come up with some creative uses of your own!
Did You Know? Apples Can Help…
1. Alleviate allergies: Apples are high in quercetin, a plant compound said to slow down the secretion of histamine —released during an allergic reaction. (Maybe the old saying about an “apple a day” has some merit after all!)
2. Freshen stale cookies or cake: Slice an apple and place it into an airtight container with stale baked goods. The apple’s moisture can revitalize.
3. Soften hardened brown sugar: An apple slice placed inside the sugar canister overnight is known to soften the contents.
4. Ripen green tomatoes: Place tomatoes—and/or other unripened vegetables and fruit—in a paper bag with apples, which give off the gas ethylene, to speed ripening.
5. Remove excess salt from soups and casseroles: While potatoes are the old rule of thumb, some cooks say a sliced apple also does the trick.
6. Soften skin: Add sliced apples and/or a cup of apple cider vinegar to your warm water soak to help smooth callouses. (Do not add vinegar if you have diabetes or poor circulation.)
7. Manage a migraine: While not yet recorded in the annals of science, some studies reveal that inhaling the scent of a cut green apple can reduce symptoms and shorten an episode.
8. Combat dandruff: Massage apple juice into scalp after washing and allow to remain on several minutes. Rinse well.
9. Aid digestion: Apples contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which has been shown to slow digestion by attracting water and forming a gel which ultimately helps you feel fuller longer. A perfect grab-and-go snack for people who are trying to lose weight.
10. Create a festive apple candleholder: Simply remove the center with an apple corer, insert a tapered candle. Or carve a larger, shallow opening for a votive tea candle! Makes a beautiful fall table presentation. Use apples that are bruised or have wormholes.
11. Craft stamp: Slice an apple in half, dip in ink and use to stamp seasonal designs onto wrapping paper, gift bags, invitations, and the like.
12. Freshen breath: An apple a day keeps the bad breath away. Apples contain anti-bacterial properties and fiber, which help to clean your mouth, reducing bad breath. Eating an apple also increases saliva production which reduces bad breath.