WESTfoodies: New York State Cider Season in Full Swing

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FISHERS,
NY
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 Atate,” 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.

To
find a cider mill near you, visit www.nycider.com – there are more than 200
statewide, says Quinn. For everything you need to know about New York State
apples, visit www.nyapplecountry.com.

The New York Apple Association is a nonprofit agricultural
trade association based in Fishers, N.Y., NYAA represents the state's
commercial apple growers. For more information, visit www.nyapplecountry.com.

eHeziWESTfoodies: New York State Cider Season in Full Swing

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