Cheers! New York state cider season is now in full swing
Fishers, N.Y. – McIntosh, Honey Crisp, Empire, Crispin… this time of year, there are about as many ways to get your apple a day in New York state as there are taste buds! And now you can add drinking your apple to that list, says Registered Dietitian Linda Quinn, because apple cider season is in full swing across the state.
“Now through Halloween and into Thanksgiving is absolutely the best time to buy apple cider in New York state,” says Quinn, MS, RD, consulting dietitian for New York Apple Association (NYAA). “And we had a bumper apple crop this year, so unlike last year when apple supplies were short, cider will be in ample supply this year.”
Everyone knows the adage about eating an apple a day, says Quinn, and for good reason – research in recent years has documented numerous nutrition and health benefits packed into each great-tasting piece of fruit. The added good news, notes Quinn, is that much of the apple’s natural goodness is found in cider, too.
“Drinking apple cider is like sticking a straw in an apple. You get all the nutrition of eating a whole apple, including the skin!” exclaims Quinn. “The reason you can’t see through cider is because of all those tiny bits of apple skin and flesh that are floating suspended in the apple’s juice.”
An 8-ounce serving of cider contains an impressive 3 grams of fiber, according to Cornell University analyses, compared to 5 grams of fiber per serving of the whole fruit. That officially makes New York state apple cider a good source of fiber, per U.S. Food and Drug Administration nutrient content claims regulations.
Fiber’s health benefits are well documented; it can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by removing the “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, and may reduce the risk of some types of diet-related cancers by regulating the digestive system. Fiber can also promote a healthy weight and aid in weight loss by filling you up faster, and leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
In addition, notes Quinn, juicing the apple concentrates the fruit’s natural sugars, which are high because of this year’s excellent apple-growing conditions. That combination of fiber and natural sweetness makes cider a better choice than sweetened beverages containing no fiber, says Quinn. Fiber naturally slows down the body’s release of sugars, she explains, preventing spikes in blood sugar and providing the body with a more regulated energy source.
“As a Registered Dietitian, I am completely comfortable recommending apple cider as a healthy, flavorful beverage for consumers of all ages,” said Quinn. “We all need to eat more fresh produce, and by eating the whole fruit and drinking cider you can easily get the two servings of fruit a day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
Quinn offers these ideas for making the most of your New York state cider:
- Drink it at breakfast, to help hold off hunger until lunchtime
- Too warm? Freeze cider into pops for the kids
- Too cold? Heat up a mug of cider
- Add flavor to your meals by replacing part of the recipe’s stock or wine with cider
- Make cider a healthy, flavorful part of your Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations
Cider lovers can also be completely confident in the safety of New York state cider, reports Quinn. New York state law requires that all apple cider is pasteurized or treated with ultraviolet light, both FDA-approved methods for ensuring cider’s safety.
Aficionados can get an “incider’s” look at New York state cider via a series of six videos produced last year. The videos touch on the history, health benefits and process of crafting cider. View them on YouTube at www.youtube.com/newyorkapples1.