We hope Mom and her Caregiver, during their last visit to the apple orchard or a local farmer’s market, gathered a lot of delicious, crispy apples.
Apples are a favorite fruit of millions of Seniors. They are tasty, filled with hundreds of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Since we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of life and health for Mom, Dad and their Caregiver, we want to share with you interesting tips and creative ways of making the most of their apple harvest.
Did You Know?
Did you know that apples can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes? Apples, because they are high in antioxidants, may also help to prevent chronic disease and slow the aging process. When compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the United States, apples had the second highest level of antioxidant activity . Apples offer plenty of fiber, which is particularly important for an aging colon health. Fiber is like a broom that sweeps the colon clean and prevents many colon-borne diseases.
Baked apples are soft, tender, and easy to chew. Due to presence of pectin in apples, they can also help lower bad cholesterol and detoxify the body. As you know, baked apples contain more pectin than raw apples. Pectin is especially helpful in treating digestive disorders. If your Elderly parent suffers from stomach aches and pains, she may benefit from and enjoy a delicious baked apple.
Senior-Friendly, Naked or Stuffed Baked Apple
Since a baked apple dish is simple to prepare, Mom can have the fulfillment of doing it all by herself. If Mom needs some assistance, her Caregiver can wash the apples, prepare a baking dish, and set the oven temperature and timer. The key is to involve Mom or Dad in this process as much as possible. There is no pride of having everything done for them. They, too, want to feel the small, yet meaningful success of preparing this yummy dish.
Apples, after being washed, could be cored. Each apple could be stuffed with cinnamon, chopped raisins and pecan mixture. Apples, stuffed or not, should be placed in a baking dish and baked at 375°F (190°C) for 30-55 minutes, or until desired tender consistency is reached.
Different varieties of apples offer many mouth-watering flavors and can please almost every taste palate. Encourage Mom and her Caregiver to do a taste test. They can select 3-5 different apple types and bake them all at the same time. When they cool off, apples can be carefully sliced in halves or quarters and offered as an afternoon dessert snack. We can all save our health by skipping the chocolate or caramel syrup, powdered sugar or whipped cream as the topping. Please note that, generally speaking, the less processed, and the more naked the apple is, the more health benefits it will offer.
Those naked baked apples will make Mom and Dad’s taste buds dance!
DIY Mouth-Watering Applesauce
Applesauce is a favorite dish for many Seniors. When preparing applesauce, your Elderly loved one can assist the Caregiver in rinsing the apples, peeling, coring and quartering them into a large pot. After cinnamon, lemon juice, a little honey and water (when using 4 apples, 3/4 cup of water) are added to the pot, the apple-spice mixture should be cooked over medium heat for up to 30 minutes, or until apples become soft. After cooling off, cooked apples are now ready to be mashed or passed through a food processor.
Voila! On a cool November day, Mom, Dad and the Caregiver are sure to enjoy a warm applesauce dish.
DIY Apple Pie
If baking the entire apple pie might be too challenging for Mom, we can ask her Caregiver to assist in preparation of this delicious treat. They can opt for pre-baked pie crusts, which will decrease the cooking time considerably.
Ingredients that can be used for a filling include:
6 medium apples,
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice,
¾ cup of honey,
2 tablespoons of regular flour,
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon,
1 pinch of nutmeg,
1 pinch of sea salt,
3 tablespoons of butter,
Note: Please make certain that your loved ones and their Caregiver do not have any food allergies or health conditions, and adjust the food preparations accordingly. If Mom is gluten-intolerant, gluten-free pie crust should be used, and regular flour in filling replaced with tapioca flour. For a vegan pie, butter should be replaced with oil and applesauce (1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of applesauce). If only applesauce is used as a substitute for butter, the pie will be moister, sweeter and softer.
Apples should be sliced, then mixed with honey, lemon juice, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. This mixture is now ready to be poured into the pie crust, dotted with chopped, chilled butter and covered with the remaining pie crust. In order to let the steam out, slits could be cut in the top crust. Pie is now ready for baking in an oven preheated to 425ºF (220°C) for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown. After allowing it to cool off to palatable temperature, the pie is ready to be served. Mom may enjoy it with a cup of hot tea.
Bon Appétit everyone!
The joy is not in eating only, but in preparing any one of those dishes together! Encouraging and allowing Mom to participate in the preparation of baked apples, applesauce or the pie will put a big smile on her face, give her a sense of accomplishment and pride.
We hope your Mom, Dad and their Caregiver will enjoy these delicious and healthy Fall treats.
With love for the Elderly…
1. Jeanelle Boyer and Rui Hai Liu. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr. J. 2004; 3:5.