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Apples Really Are A Healthy Snack So Why Not Grow Your Own

Sue Armstrong Love Hearing From You

Do you have a story about a farm-or home-based business? How about some household management tips? Does someone in the family have a special-diet need? Share some of your recipes and some meal ideas.

Send them to FarmLife, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0H1. Phone 1-800-665-0502 or email [email protected] lishing.com.Please remember we can no longer return photos or material.

— Sue

We all know that ancient Roman proverb: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I was only knee-high to a grasshopper when I first heard it.

So what’s in an apple that makes it so healing? Let me skim under the surface without throwing away the peel and perhaps we’ll understand how the expression came about. We may not think of apples as a super-food, but they really are.

IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOSTER

Nature has generously endowed apples with the complete form of natural vitamin C complex, bioflavonoids and pectin; all essential to good health and wellbeing. We cannot synthesize vitamin C within our bodies so need to replenish it daily. Apples also contain fibre to help maintain cholesterol levels in the normal range. Keep in mind many nutrients and fibre are found just under the skin. That’s why eating an entire apple raw is always best.

Japanese research reveals that apple pectin can help reduce the possibility of coming down with colon cancer. Pectin is also shown to effectively reduce or halt gallbladder relapse issues and help prevent gallstones.

Unique to apples is a crucial phytonutrient dubbed phlorizin. This formidable nutrient plays an important role in the support of lung health and assists those diagnosed asthmatic. Next time you bite into an apple, keep in mind it helps boost the very breath of life.

PLANTING SITE

Let’s all plant an apple tree or two this spring. The right location and proper-size planting hole are essential. The entire root ball needs space without cramming. Do not add fertilizer at planting time, as this can burn roots to the point of stunting growth. The bud union should be just at, or slightly above ground level.

Select an elevated site, such as a small hill or raised bed that catches direct sunlight for the better part of the day. When spring or fall frost threatens, place four-litre milk jugs filled with water around the base. This delays cold air spots from accumulating so quickly.

Today, most direct sales nurseries and garden centres sell fruit trees, shrubs, ornamentals, perennials and many other plants already potted for pickup by customers. This extends the planting season and avoids shipping cost. Think of it as cash and carry.

RISING APPLE STARS

… are catching the eyes and ears of home orchardists. One absolutely exceptional variety is Honeycrisp. At harvest, this full-size apple keeps crisp, juicy and flavourful for months in a cold room, temperature-controlled storage area or root cellar.

Honeycrisp was developed in the U. S. and may be a bit borderline hardy in some of our Prairie open areas. Try to provide a sheltered or micro-climate if you’re within an extreme weather region or bordering between Zone 2 and Zone 3.

Another apple that also keeps well in storage is Prairie Sunsation. It’s a new hardy introduction from the University of Saskatchewan. Fruits are large, firm and crisp with juicy texture and intense aromatic flavour. Check with your local-area nursery for availability. In my area, both Honeycrisp and Prairie Sunsation can be ordered from T&T Seeds, Winnipeg (www.ttseeds.com)with spring shipment at appropriate time for your region.

Red Sparkle is dark red over green and really excels when making fruity-tasting apple desserts. Prairie Magic is red blush on yellow, medium large, crisp and delicious. It was developed by Wilfred Drysdale, of Neepawa, Man. Collet apple is also medium large with red over creamy green. It’s good for eating fresh, useful in cooking and stores well. Collet was discovered by Albert Collet of Manitoba. A couple other apples rated for Zone 3 hardiness are Odyssey and Wintercheeks. Both have red blush cheeks and excellent-eating flesh.

For extreme cold regions, here are some apples rated for Zone 2. Battleford: red striped over light yellow; known for large fruit and excellent for cooking. Gemini: crisp, sweet and juicy; best for fresh eating, but stores well until end of December. Norkent: large red over pale-yellow apples with a distinct apple/pear taste that’s somewhat similar to Golden Delicious. September Ruby is a Zone 2 apple that does triple duty. It’s for eating fresh out of hand, useful in recipes and stores well.

Again — check with your local-area nursery first, for availability, or contact Jeffries Nurseries, Portage la Prairie, Man. (www.jeffriesnurseries.com).

A TOUCH OF NOSTALGIA

…with these Ted Bits from way back when. I can’t vouch for how well they work nor how effective, but there’s something to be said about the resourcefulness of our forebears.

I first learned how apples were once stored from a 110-year-old cookbook. Pack washed and dried firm apples in layers of dry sand, small dry pebbles, or in grain of any kind such as oats. ‘Twas said the grain was not adversely affected when used for this purpose. A wooden barrel or crock were the containers of choice.

Speaking of oats, drop a small handful of oat kernels in the bottom of an apple tree-planting hole and then insert the apple tree and cover with soil as usual. ‘Tis said that oats nurture the roots and get the tree off to a good start.

Did you ever wonder how Grandma kept Grandpa from snoring? She gave him six drops of olive oil in a pinch of dry mustard taken internally just before he got into bed. The oil lubricated the larynx while the mustard acted as a counterirritant. Gramps is said to have spent many snoreless nights.

Can’t sleep? Grandma had the cure! She relied on a warm or hot water footbath with a bit of dry mustard stirred in. This useful foot soak was a timely sleep inducer.

Here’s one to ponder for keeping potatoes from sprouting before putting them into fall storage. Immerse cleaned tubers into a container of boiling water and then immediately remove. Do just a few spuds at a time. Remember — that’s dip them in and out instantly… not a bath. This method is said to have effectively kept potatoes excellently. So much for long-ago practices.

VANCOUVER 2010 OLYMPICS

How do you say congratulations to skeleton racer Jon Montgomery of Russell, Man., who captured an Olympic gold medal on Friday, February 19, 2010 at Vancouver and fulfilled his Olympic dream?

Let me quote what his dad, Eldon Montgomery, retired school principal said on CTV. “Always hold to the end of the road. Once you start something; finish it!”

Those meaningful words were spoken during indelible, momentous minutes, while millions of Canadians watched and listened to Jon during an interview, with his family standing at his side. My true north strong and free heart was waving and fluttering with the same cherished pride that I attach to singing O Canada and the Canadian flags I fly.

Jon may not have time to grow roses now, but if he ever does, may I suggest that Olympiad hybrid tea belongs in his future rose garden. It’s tall, upright and a first-place prize winner from 1984. Long, pointed Olympiad rosebuds with delightful fragrance are freely produced and spiral open into large, long-lasting bright-red roses, on florist-length cutting stems. Congratulations Jon Montgomery. We are proud of you Jon beyond words.

SINGING GARDENER DRAWS HAVE TAKEN PLACE

All certificates and catalogues are mailed out. Remember, winners must mail certificates to the stated address for redemption. Winners’ names will appear in an upcoming Grainews. As a bonus, 20 random winners received a packet of Mortgage Lifter tomato seeds, courtesy of McFayden’s in Brandon. www.mcfayden.com

This unique and historical staking tomato produces large, well-shaped fruits with dark skin and are ready to harvest 85 days after setting out transplants. Mortgage Lifter is meaty with few seeds and makes a perfect one-slice tomato sandwich. Its developer sold Mortgage Lifter tomato seedlings so successfully back in the 1940s that he managed to pay off his mortgage in just six years.

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. Any day I’m vertical is a good day. I sing “A Smile Is So Contagious” and remind myself that prayer, gardening and laughter are the best of medicines. Thank you Lord for health and the wellness found in Dr. Garden. My email address is [email protected]

About the author

Columnist

Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

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