Invite apples to Halloween party

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween is looming and it is a great time to feature those seasonal favorites including apples.

Apples could be called a super food — which is defined as a food that not only provides essential nutrients, but also has an added benefit that protects our health.

Most everything in the produce section could be designated as a super food for one reason or another, but for your Halloween celebrations, apples should be on the menu. Not only are they tasty and great for you, but fun to use in various recipes.

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Here are five reasons to eat apples every day:

Your health: Apples are the perfect, portable snack: great tasting and energy-boosting.

Your heart: The pectin in apples lowers your LDL cholesterol.  People who eat two daily may lower their cholesterol  by as much as 16 percent.

Your digestion: Just one apple provides as much fiber as a serving of bran cereal, acting like a broom that keeps things clean.

Your lungs: Apples protect the lungs.  People who eat the most apples have a much lower chance of lung cancer due to the high levels of antioxidants.

Your bones: Apples contain the essential trace element, boron, which has been shown to strengthen bones — a good defense against osteoporosis.

Here are some fun, family-friendly ways to utilize this delicious fruit for your Halloween celebrations:

Mini apple pies — Utilize a package of pre-baked mini phyllo shells for these cutie pies. Sauté 1 cup diced apples, 1/4 cup walnuts; 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until apples are tender, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cool slightly and spoon 1 tablespoon of apple mixture into each mini phyllo shell. Garnish with whipped topping. Serve immediately.

Baked apples — you can’t beat this sweet treat.

Core the apple to within 1/2 of the bottom, stuff with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon butter.

Brush a muffin tin with canola oil, set apples into muffin tin and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Apple stars — Cut the apple horizontally into thin slices so that you are able to see a star in the center of each slice (remove seeds as necessary). Spread with a thin layer of peanut butter and top with granola that includes dried fruit.  Delicious.

Apple harvest salad — slices of apples on a bed of spinach, tossed with candied pecans, dried cranberries, cubes of havarti cheese and light poppyseed dressing.

Caramel Apples — need I say more?

One of the best apples for baking is Honeycrisp. It holds its shape, has a pleasing, slightly firm texture and full apple flavor.

Apple Salsa

All you need

1-1/3 cups cored, and diced apple

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons apricot preserves

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

All you do

1. Mix all ingredients, chill.  Serve with cinnamon pita chips.