As summer turns into fall and the cool, crisp air kicks in many of us look forward to the annual tradition of apple picking.
It’s impossible to deny that apples are good food. If raw apples don’t tickle your taste buds there are plenty of alternatives: apple pie, apple cider and caramel apples to name a few. Apples are known to be an excellent source of dietary fiber, which reduces cholesterol, aids digestion, and prevents certain types of cancer. Research indicates that because apples contain flavonoids they may reduce the risk of lung cancer and generally improve lung function.
As you head into the orchards to pick your bags of apples keep these simple tips in mind to help green your apple picking.
- Bring your own reusable bags to pick apples-don’t use plastic bags. One reusable bag holds the contents of 2 to 3 plastic grocery bags and can carry up to 25 lbs of weight. Using reusable bags for apple picking and grocery shopping will help eliminate the use of 300-700 plastic bags per year!
- Apples have consistently made it to the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”, a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that were the most likely to have pesticides detected on the parts you eat, after typical washing. For organic apple picking, find an organic apple orchard close to home by using PickYourOwn.org – click on your state and browsing pick-your-own farms. Another option is to check with your state department of agriculture office for orchard listings. PickYourOwn.org provides local listings of pick your own (also called U-pick or PYO) farms in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries.
- Wash your apples- fill a spray bottle with three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar. Spray each apple with about six squirts of the solution — just enough to coat the surface — and then rinse it in cold water. The cold water will wash the residual flavor from the vinegar, and finishes the cleaning process.
Now it’s time for some apple picking! Whether you choose an organic or conventional orchard, know that you are helping sustain an important part of the apple-growing industry.
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