I love this time of year, not least because of the apples, pears and stone fruit that are ripe and ready to pick. If you’re lucky enough to have your own trees, or like me, have a generous neighbour who’s happy to share their bounty, then you will be able to make some delicious stewed fruit to store away in the fridge and freezer for the weeks and months to come. Of course you can buy the fruit too, but we recommend that you try to find local and organic fruit to reduce exposure to pesticides, and boost nutrient intake – farmers markets and local growers are a great choice.
Stewed fruit, rich with cinnamon, is a lovely thing – it can form the basis of crumbles, and, paired with some coconut (or regular) yoghurt, makes a speedy dessert or breakfast. But it’s also really, really good for you, and here’s why…
Consuming apples regularly can help reduce allergies (1), help to protect cells against oxidative damage (2), reduce inflammation in the intestines and throughout the body including the brain (3, 4, 5). And finally apples can improve your microbiome, by favourably impacting on the bacterial colonisation of the large intestine (6).
The deep, rich colour of most of our native plums gives an indication of their antioxidant, or phenol, content. Plums are also a good source of vitamin C, needed for iron absorption, to fight free radical damage, and to help protect our arteries from atherosclerosis. Stone fruits like plums have also been studied in relation to obesity and found to be protective, due to the bioactive compounds they contain (7), and in fact they can even help to ward off diabetes due to their blood sugar balancing effect (8).
We recommend that you add cinnamon to the stewed fruit, not only for its delicious autumnal flavour, but also to boost the health benefits of this dish even further. Cinnamon has been found to reduce inflammation (9), as well as helping to keep blood sugar levels stable (10).
Stewed Apples and Plums – makes enough for several servings
8 English apples – I like Bramleys, they stew really well and are naturally lower in sugar
6 large plums
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp raisins (optional)
Peel and core the apples, then cut into slices or chunks. Wash and halve the plums, then remove the stone. Put all of the fruit into a large saucepan, then add the cinnamon, a splash of water, and then turn on the heat to low. In just twenty or thirty minutes, the fruit will be softened and stewed. Store any unused stewed fruit in the fridge for use over the coming days. Or freeze for use at a later date. We recommend that you add a natural sweetener when serving rather than during stewing, such as raw honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Xylitol can also be used for those with yeast overgrowth or diabetes. Delicious served with plain, live yoghurt or Coyo coconut yoghurt.
Written by Emma Rushe