Apple Picking Time

— Written By and last updated by

September is prime apple-picking season at North Carolina orchards. The largest North Carolina crops come from Henderson County, just outside of Asheville, and include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and sweet Gala varieties. At most locations, your family can pick a peck of apples, sip on cider and sample homemade apple butter, apple-cider doughnuts, and apple-cider slushes. Be sure to call ahead, apple harvest can also be affected by weather, wind, and rain.

You may laugh at the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but much about that is rooted in truth. Apples provide multiple nutrients and compounds that help promote good health and weight management. One apple counts as one cup of fruit, helping you meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation to consume at least 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Apples are available in just about any grocery store and have a long shelf-life, so plan on adding this tasty fruit to your diet.

Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients
2 medium apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided (or more, if desired)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/8 – 1/4 ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Peel and chop the apples coarsely.
  2. Put in a microwave safe bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and maple syrup.
  3. Stir and microwave for 2 minutes on high. They should be soft after the two minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the yogurt, milk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl of your food processor.
  5. When the apples are done, add half of them to the food processor and process about 30 seconds, or until thoroughly combined.
  6. Then with a spoon or spatula, stir in the other half of the cinnamon apples. Add more cinnamon to taste, if desired.
  7. At this point, it was about room temperature. Serve now, or chill, or even warm up in the microwave if you’d like it warm.

Yields: 1 large smoothie

Cabbage Apple Salad

Ingredients
2 tsp butter
1 C pecan halves
2 T light brown sugar
1 T Worcestershire
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 T seasoned rice vinegar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
 1/4 C olive oil
2 medium fresh apples, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
5 ounces dried cherries
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet. Toss in the pecans and stir for about a minute. Add the sugar, Worcestershire, and cayenne, and stir for about another minute. Place the cooked pecans on a large piece of foil to cool. Separate the pecans so that they don’t stick together.
  2. Blend the rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon in a bowl or small food processor. Slowly add the oil until fully emulsified.
  3. Mix the apple slices in a large bowl with the lemon juice.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork and Apple Bowls

Ingredients
1 (3-pound) bone-in pork shoulder
1 tablespoon Herbs de Italian Seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 apples of choice, peeled and chopped, I used gala and fuji
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups 100% apple juice
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1 tablespoon pure Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
For the bowls
2 cups dry brown rice
1 large head kale, chopped
1 large ripe avocado, diced

Directions

  1. Sprinkle the pork shoulder with Italian seasoning and sea salt and gently press into the meat. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker, along with the diced onion, garlic, and apples. Pour the apple juice and chicken broth into the slow cooker. Cover, and set slow cooker on low for 6 to 10 hours, until meat is very tender and pulls easily away from the bone.
  2. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. Transfer the shredded meat back into the crockpot, discarding the bone. Allow meat to sit in the juices at least 1 hour before serving (if possible). Taste the meat for flavor and add sea salt to taste.
  3. Cook the rice according to package instructions.
  4. While rice is cooking, sauté the chopped kale in a small amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add desired amount of rice to bowls and top with sautéed kale, pulled pork and apples, and sliced avocado. Spoon the pork-apple juice from the crockpot over the bowls and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

Layered Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce

(this one can be made gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and whole grain, borrowed this one from a friend)

Ingredients
For the apples
4 cups firm baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped to 1/4″ chunks (this was about 4 medium apples or 492 grams of chopped apples)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon raw or granulated sugar
For the topping
9 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw sugar or granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (113 grams) rolled oats (use gluten-free oats, if necessary)
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons oat flour (use gluten-free oat flour, if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the vanilla sauce
1 1/2 cups milk of choice (just not canned coconut milk)
3 tablespoons raw sugar or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and grease a 9″ pie pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the apple chunks, cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add the oats, oat flour, baking powder and salt and stir just until combined.
  4. Spread the apples evenly over the bottom of the prepared pie pan. Spread the topping over the apples.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the apples are bubbly and the topping is firm.
  6. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.
  7. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refrigerate after that.

For the vanilla sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the egg. Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the pan along with the scraped-out bean.
  2. Bring to an almost simmer while stirring constantly. It should thicken quite a bit and coat the back of a spoon. It’s okay if it simmers briefly, but do not let it boil. It’ll likely take 5-10 minutes. If using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it now. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Once cooled, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.