From Apple Picking to Preserving: 4 Safety Tips for Fall Treats

November 16, 2013
by Michael Barber
From Apple Picking to Preserving: 4 Safety Tips for Fall Treats

Fall is the time for pumpkin and apple picking, and trick or treating. As well, many people start freezing or preserving the fruits they pick. These four safety tips for fall treats will help you avoid harmful bacteria. They will also help you to stay healthy while preserving fruit, and teach you how too many sugary treats can be harmful to diabetics.

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Eat Healthy Apples reports the Environmental Working Group's analysis of USDA data revealed "pesticides showed up on 98 percent of more than 700 apple samples tested," and these were washed apples. In addition, it wasn't just one type of bacteria found on these tested apples, but 48 different kinds.

Related: An Apple a Day May Not Keep the Doctor Away, But Here's What Will

However, organic apples are free of pesticides and grown organically so not only are they healthier for you, they're fresher. Forbes also says the cost of organic apples is comparable to non-organic apples. Once ingested, harmful bacteria can cause digestive problems including nausea and vomiting. Certain bacteria can spread quickly. If you feel sick after purchasing non-organic apples, seek out an urgent care center for the appropriate medical treatment. Keep in mind, even organic apples should be washed correctly.

Preserving Apples: Freezing, Canning, and Drying

The University of California (UC) offers a great guide on how to preserve, freeze, and store apples. The tips say:

  • Always wash apples under running water and use a scrub brush before eating. Never place apples in a sink full of water as bacteria could be presents.
  • Learn which apples are best for eating, preserving, or for baking purposes. The UC guide offers an informative list.
  • Follow the UC guidelines on freezing, preserving, and storing apples. Learn which additives to include for preserving, how to make sure canning jars are capped tightly and ways to dry out apples correctly. Preserved apples make a great snack.

Apples not properly stored, frozen, or canned can grow tons of bacteria, so do some research before you begin these homemade projects.

Related: Bobbing for Bacteria: Keep Your Kids Healthy This Fall

Diabetics Need to Watch Sugar Consumption

Fall often involves lots of sweets from Halloween candy to Thanksgiving desserts. Too much sugary candy can raise glucose levels in diabetics and if your glucose levels are too high, diabetic shock or comas can occur. The Joslin Diabetes Center says diabetics, including adults and kids, can take control of Halloween candy consumption using the following tips:

  • Make sure insulin levels are where they should be before consuming even small amounts of candy.
  • Have healthy treat alternatives on-hand.
  • Avoid candies with a lot of fat like those containing chocolate.
  • Talk to your children about the importance of reading candy labels.
  • Save some of the candy and pack one piece in lunch boxes each day.
  • Plan trick or treat alternatives like family costume parties with healthy foods, gameplay, and exchanging toys for collected candy.
  • Work with your kids to develop a plan to donate Halloween candy. One good idea is to send it to our troops overseas.

If you set rules on trick or treating, find a plan for the candy, and teach your kids to eat smaller portions, it will be easier to make Halloween a fun event. High glucose levels can be dangerous, so if your child consumes too much candy and sugar levels are high, know the walk-in clinics near you to receive medical care.

Related: Care Continuum: Where to Go When Your Sick or Injured

Salmonella in Turkey

Fall is also the season for turkey. It's important to learn the proper way to cook a turkey including what internal temperature is necessary before consumption. Salmonella bacteria dies during cooking, so never eat raw turkey. Don't wash your turkey in the sink to avoid cross-contamination with other foods or sink bacteria.

These four safety tips for fall treats will keep you and  your family healthy and most importantly, avoid ruining your holiday fun and ending up in retail clinics offering emergency medical care.