One of the great things about fall is the abundance of fall fruit and vegetables. Apples & squash are delicious and healthy options. While we can get caught up in the world of pumpkin spice lattes, there are a lot of nutritious things we can make with falls bounty. Below are the health benefits of apples and squash, and healthy ideas to go with each.

Apples

Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. The soluble fiber found in the skin of apples helps lower cholesterol by acting like a sponge in the body, absorbing excess cholesterol. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Try this Wheatberry and Apple Salad from the Diabetes Canada website:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries 250 mL

  • ½ tsp salt 2 mL

  • 3 cups water 750 mL

  • 1 cup finely chopped celery 250 mL

  • 2 cups finely chopped apple, preferably Cortland or Jonagold (skin on) 500 mL

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint 125 mL

  • ½ cup finely chopped green onion 125 mL

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL

  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 45 mL

  • 2 Tbsp apple juice 30 mL

  • 1 Tbsp honey 15 mL

  • 2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger 10 mL

Instructions:

  1. In glass or ceramic bowl, place wheat berries. Cover with 2 inches (5 cm) water and let sit overnight in refrigerator to soften. In morning, drain water. Place berries in small saucepan, add salt and 3 cups (750 mL) water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45-55 minutes or until tender. Drain any excess water and place berries in large mixing bowl.

  2. Add celery, apples, mint and green onion and stir to combine.

  3. In small bowl, whisk canola oil, vinegar, apple juice, honey and ginger together. Pour over salad. Flavours improve if salad is refrigerated for up to 4 hours prior to serving. 

Squash

Butternut is a good source of fiber, potassium, and several other key nutrients.  The nutritional content of squash makes it beneficial for digestion, blood pressure, and for healthy skin and hair, among others.  Butternut squash is also a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese.  A cup of cubed butternut squash also provides 582 mg of potassium, more than the amount available in a banana.

Try this recipe for Butternut squash and apple soup!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water 500 mL

  • ½ cup wild rice 125 mL

  • ½ cup sliced almonds 125 mL

  • 1½ Tbsp canola oil 20 mL

  • 1 cup chopped onion 250 mL

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 500 mL

  • 2 cups water 500 mL

  • 1-3 lb butternut squash, peeled and flesh cut into 1-inch cubes to yield 8 cups 500 g-1.5 kg

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • ½ tsp salt, optional 2 mL

  • ½ tsp nutmeg 2 mL

Instructions:

  1. In medium saucepan, bring 2 cups (500 mL) water to a boil and add wild rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until water is evaporated and rice grains have split open. (Check occasionally to ensure water does not evaporate too quickly causing rice to burn). Drain any excess water and set aside.

  2. In non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, toast almonds to golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Watch so they don’t burn. Remove and set aside.

  3. In large soup pot, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes or until opaque; do not allow onions to brown. Stir in broth, water, squash, apple, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until squash and apples are tender. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

  4. Purée soup with immersion blender or food processor. Return to low heat and stir in salt (if using) and nutmeg. Stir in wild rice to heat through. Spoon soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) toasted almonds.