Conscious Cook: Relish the season with Autumn Apple Slaw

“We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Autumn’s glory is on the way! The world will take on deep, distinctive color, as the leaves turn shades of burnished amber, brilliant scarlet and rich russet. These will be days to truly savor, to play outside as much as possible, while the sun’s rays still warm the fields and forests and the magnificent autumn harvest begins.

Autumn’s bounty is vibrant, varied and oh so delicious. Apples of all varieties are now available at farmers’ markets and supermarkets, including crunchy-sweet Honeycrisp, gorgeous Galas, early McIntosh mottled with both green and red, pale yellow Ginger Golds and dark, dusky Paula Reds.

Apples are the perfect snack, satisfying and sweet. Try slicing an apple, place the slices in a plastic baggie, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, close the bag and shake until the slices are well coated with cinnamon. The apple slices will stay crisp and white for several days in the refrigerator! Perfect for grab and go school lunches, picnics or work from home snack breaks.

A versatile cooking ingredient, apples marry well with both sweet and savory components. Combining apples with plums, cranberries, figs, raspberries or blueberries will yield particularly pleasing desserts, such as pies, puddings, tarts, cobblers and crisps. Whether baked, poached or sautéed, apples lend marvelous layers of flavor to breads, sauces, slaws, salads, stuffings, coleslaw, chutney and relishes.

As the weather turns cooler, what could be more comforting than the scent of apples roasting in the oven, mingling with spicy cinnamon. Apples enjoy an easy association with all manner of spices, including allspice, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

There is no question that while apples are a delight to eat, every apple also supplies a bevy of nutritional benefits as well. Full of soluble fiber, apples can provide relief from both constipation and diarrhea, the fiber pulling water out of the colon to keep waste moving through the system, or absorbing excess water to slow things down. Regular consumption of apples may have a positive impact on reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as diabetes. Apples may also promote weight loss, reduce inflammation and help prevent heart disease, as well as cleaning and whitening teeth!

Enjoy an apple a day as you prepare a delicious life!

Autumn Apple Slaw

Serves 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped celery leaves

2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds

1 firm, crisp apple thinly sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake the first five ingredients together. Place celery, fennel and apple slices in a bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more dressing and salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.