Healthy Table: Apple Pumpkin Bread packs some powerful nutrients

Nothing says fall like apples and pumpkin, and that’s precisely why we paired them in today’s quick bread.

Apples contain a variety of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) being studied for their anti-cancer effects. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating one or more apples a day was associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancer in several large studies. To get the most phytonutrients, eat the peel, too.

Apples provide a heart-healthy dose of soluble fiber that can help lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood.

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Pumpkin’s big claim to nutrient fame is carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lutein, the pigments that make them orange. Carotenoids may protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and may help ward off age-related vision loss, such as macular degeneration. Pumpkin also provides a healthy dose of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E and iron.

Don’t mistake canned pumpkin pie mix or filling for pure, solid-pack pumpkin purée. While the labels look similar, pumpkin pie mix is pre-sweetened and spiced; pumpkin purée is 100% pumpkin.

Many recipes featuring pumpkin never use the entire can, and today’s quick bread is no exception. As a point of reference, a 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée equals 13/4 cups, and a 29-ounce can has 31/2 cups. A quick Internet search for leftover canned pumpkin resulted in a slew of ideas.

Here are some of my favorites:

■ Add a few dollops to a warm bowl of oatmeal, with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and toasted pecans.

■ Mix with reduced-fat cream cheese and a pinch of cinnamon for a bagel spread.

■ When making chili, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup to the pot. The flavor is so mild, no one will notice.

■ For a hint of pumpkin flavor, add about 1/3 cup to most cupcake, muffin or quick bread batters.

Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Apple Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 24 servings (12 slices per loaf) / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (plus cooling time)

Cook’s note: This recipe makes 2 loaves and freezes well.

Floured baking spray

1/4 cup canola oil

5.3 ounces (about 2/3 cup) fat-free plain Greek yogurt

13/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (about 1/2 of a 15-ounce can) pumpkin

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

21/2 cups unpeeled, diced apple (Granny Smith works well)

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with baking spray, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat oil, yogurt and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs, pumpkin, milk and vanilla; beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until just moistened, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in diced apples and walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Created and tested by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

176 calories (26% from fat), 5 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat), 30 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 81 mg sodium, 16 mg cholesterol, 45 mg calcium, 2 g fiber. Food exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat

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