Recipe – Apple Almond Flour Cookies

Organic Apples High in Bacteria

Published in Frontiers in Microbiology, a new study shows that organic apples harbor a more diverse and balanced bacterial community, which could make them healthier and tastier than conventional apples.

“The bacteria, fungi and viruses in our food transiently colonize our gut,” says study senior author Professor Gabriele Berg, of Graz University of Technology, Austria.

The researchers compared the bacteria in conventional store-bought apples with those in visually matched fresh organic ones. Stem, peel, flesh, seeds and calyx – the straggly bit at the bottom where the flower used to be – were analyzed separately.

“Putting together the averages for each apple component, we estimate a typical 240g raw apple contains roughly 100 million bacteria,” says Berg. The majority of the bacteria are in the seeds, with the flesh accounting for most of the remainder. So, if you discard the core, your intake falls to nearer 10 million.

“Freshly harvested, organically managed apples harbor a significantly more diverse, more even and distinct bacterial community, compared to conventional ones,” explains Berg.

Specific groups of bacteria known for health-affecting potential also weighed in favor of organic apples. Lactobacilli – of probiotic fame – was found in most of the organic apple samples.

For those who can “taste the difference,” “Methylobacterium, known to enhance the biosynthesis of strawberry flavor compounds, was significantly more abundant in organic apples; here especially on peel and flesh samples, which in general had a more diverse microbiota than seeds, stem or calyx.” Together the studies show that across both bacteria and fungi, the apple microbiome is more diverse in organically grown fruits.

Excerpts from

Recipe – Apple Almond Flour Cookies 


1 small organic sweet or tart-sweet apple (red delicious, gala, Macintosh, Braeburn)

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tsp. coconut sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup, optional

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 tsp. fine sea salt


Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub and cut apple into chunks; process in a food processor, scraping down sides, until pureed (mixture will look like raw apple sauce).

Place the almond flour in a medium bowl. Add the apple puree (1/2 cup only, not packed), sweetener, cardamom, extract, and salt. Stir until completely blended.

Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough in 12 mounds, spacing 2 inches apart, on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and centers feel firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.