North Carolina Is Number 7 in Apple Production

— Written By and last updated by

Similar to our very favorite sweet potatoes, apples are a top crop for North Carolina Farmers, ranking our great state at number 7 in the nation!! During any year, NC can produce up to 4 million bushels!! Primarily they are produced in the Western part of North Carolina, but thankfully some are produced close by and some are shipped tasting almost as fresh as if you picked them yourself!!

Everyone knows an apple a day keeps the doctor away, they may not be totally true, but apples do have some significant health benefits. Rich in pectin and mild acids, apples help fight body toxins, aid digestion and pep up the whole system. Pectin has also been associated with helping to keep cholesterol levels in balance and is significant in helping to reduce the incidence of certain types of heart disease. Apples high potassium…low sodium ratio is important in certain cardiac and renal problems as well as in diet for overweight persons.

Research shows that eating apples regularly will result fewer headaches and other illnesses associated with nervous tension, as well as a reduced incidence of colds and other upper respiratory ailments. The mild nature and low acidic content of apples are more readily accepted and digested by infants, and causes less colic and rash-related disorders.

With zero fat and 5 grams of fiber per serving, using fresh apples is a great choice!! Apples can be used as a savory or sweet. Here are some recipes for you to try out with this year’s apple crop!! Time to go straight to your Farmers Market, pick some apples and get cooking!

Broccoli Salad with Apples

Ingredients

  • 4 cups small diced broccoli florets
  • 2 small gala apples, cored and diced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

For the dressing;

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • Salt

Directions

Dressing:  In a medium mixing bowl whisk together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey and season with salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp.). Chill until ready to use.

Salad:  In a salad bowl toss together broccoli, apples, walnuts, carrots, raisins or cranberries and red onion. Pour in dressing and toss until evenly coated.

 Serves 8, each serving contains: Calories 264, Fat 16 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Sodium 94 mg, Carbohydrate 26 g, Sugars 18 g, Protein 4 g.

Apple and Brie Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider
  • 3 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, divided
  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1/2 pound), divided
  • 3 cups arugula, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

Directions

  1. Combine mustard and cider in a small bowl; stir well.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with about 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard mixture. Place 1 tortilla, mustard side up, in pan. Arrange one-third of cheese slices over half of tortilla; cook 1 minute or until cheese begins to melt. Arrange one-third of apple slices over cheese; top with 1 cup arugula. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fold tortilla in half; press gently with a spatula. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas, cheese, apple slices, 2 cups arugula, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Serves 6, each serving contains: Calories 182, Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 24 mg, Sodium 397 mg, Carbohydrate 20 g, Protein 8 g.

Spiced Pork and Apples

Ingredients

  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 pieces
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced unpeeled Gala apples
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Combine first 5 ingredients; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
  2. Melt butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add apple slices, 1/3 cup shallots, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes or until apple starts to brown. Add apple cider to pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves. Serve apple mixture with the pork.

Serves 5, each serving contains: Calories 234, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 89 mg, Sodium 394 mg, Carbohydrate 12 g, Protein 24 g.

Apple and Raisin Slaw “Redo”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unpeeled chopped Rome apple (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 (16-ounce) package cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw

Directions

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chopped apple, 1 cup raisins, and coleslaw; toss to combine.

Serves 8, each serving contains: Calories 120, Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Sodium 162 mg, Carbohydrate 25 g, Protein 2 g.

One of my favorites, I make it every holiday:

Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.

Yield:  12 to 15 servings

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

(This recipe goes with Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting)

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Yield:  1 2/3 cups