The humble apple… Full of goodness, easy to cook with and so tasty. If you’re lucky like me and have an apple tree in your garden, you may be left wondering what to do with its bounty this time of year.
Even if you don’t have an apple tree, apples are a really cheap seasonal fruit to buy – particularly in Autumn – especially if you have a local farm that will lets you pick or collect your own.
One of my favourite ways to cook with apples is stewed apples (which I use all the time with my clients who have IBS).
Yep – that classic weaning food is good for adults and children alike, and you don’t need to add sugar – just some cinnamon, vanilla and mixed spice do the trick. Plus if you don’t get on with apples, you can use pears instead.
Why are stewed apples so good for the gut?
Apples are rich in polyphenols, which may help to modulate and balance inflammation in the gut and around the body. Apples are also rich in soluble fibre, which helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in your bowel that are so important for your health. These good bacteria or microflora not only help to keep your gut strong, but also your immune system healthy, support nutrient absorption and even make nutrients such as B vitamins.
For anyone with IBS, I recommend a portion of stewed apples every day – perhaps with some plain yoghurt for breakfast or as a dessert with a dollop of coconut cream. I also love them on top of my porridge or chia seed pudding. If you want to keep the goodness of the skin, instead you could try baking your apples. Here’s how to make both these recipes.
Healing Stewed apples recipe
Take around 6 to 8 apples – peel, core and chop.
Put in a pan with about 3 tablespoons of water, half teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg or mixed spice and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Stir well and cover with a lid, or a damp piece of grease proof paper put directly on top of the apples.
Allow to bubble gently for around 10 to 13 minutes, until the apples turn into a compote on stirring. You can freeze in individual ramekin dishes once cooled, or in a larger glass container.
Take a large apple and score around the widest part. Take a sharp knife or corer to remove the core. In a separate bowl, mix a teaspoon of soft butter or coconut oil with 2 chopped unsulphured apricots or dates, and 3 chopped almonds or a tablespoon of ground almonds. Stuff inside the apple core. Bake on a baking tray or oven proof dish at 180C for around 20 to 30 minutes, until the apple is soft. Serve with some coconut cream, plain yoghurt or creme fraiche.
Superfood Apple Crumble – healthy enough for breakfast!
You can make the most delicious crumble without white flour or refined sugar in sight! When I make a pudding, a good test for me is whether it’s healthy enough to give to my kids for breakfast… then I know it’s nutrient dense and not just empty calories. This recipe is one of my children’s favourites for breakfast, with a big dollop of plain Greek or coconut yoghurt. Truly satisfying, yummy and filling this time of year.
Either use your stewed apples for the base – or you can peel, core and chop around 6 large dessert or cooking apples. Put into an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of mixed spice and 2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup.
3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
1 cup oats
1 handful of pecans or almonds
2 tablespoons of soft organic butter or coconut oil
1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut
5 unsulphured dried apricots or dates
Put everything in a Nutri bullet or food processor and pulse until mixed and smooth. Spread onto your apples, and pat down to form a level topping. Bake in oven for around 20 minutes on 180C, until the apples are soft and the topping gently browned. If you find the top is getting too brown, cover with some grease proof paper.