Fall is the Season for Apples

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Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith; no matter which variety is your favorite, apples are one of the healthiest food choices you can make! They are high in fiber and vitamin C, and also low in calories, (130 calories in the average apple), have only a trace of sodium, and no fat or cholesterol.

Research shows that apples are high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants. These polyphenols are found in both the skin of the apples as well as in the juicy inside. To get the greatest amount of benefits eat the skin of the apple.

These benefits mean that apples may reduce the effects of asthma and Alzheimer’s disease while assisting with weight management, bone health, pulmonary function, and gastrointestinal protection. It really is true when they say, “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.”

While we don’t grow a lot of apples here in Eastern North Carolina, we do in our state. Here are some places you can enjoy picking your own. Along with your favorite apple pie, try these tasty healthy apple recipes:

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Apple Flatbread


  • ½ cup softened cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 10 slices bacon, pre-cooked
  • 2 naan flatbreads (usually in the deli section)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, or your favorite, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread ¼ cup cream cheese on each naan bread and top with half of the blue cheese and bacon.
  3. Bake at 400°F for 8 minutes. Top the warm naan with fresh apples and rosemary. Serve immediately.

Fall Vegetable and Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner


  • 12-ounce turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1/3-inch thick rounds
  • 16 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾ inch cubes
  • 16 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2-3 medium yellow squash, diced
  • ½ medium red onion, diced into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 crisp apples, cored and diced
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a rimmed 18 by a 13-inch baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Add sausage, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, yellow squash, apples, onion and garlic to the sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and rosemary then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast in preheated oven 15 minutes, then remove and toss.
  4. Return to oven and continue to roast until the vegetables and apple are tender, about 15 minutes longer.
  5. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Serves 4.

Apple Nachos Supreme


  • 3 tart apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips1/4 cup diced pecans
  • ½ cup (hot) caramel sauce, purchase ready-made or make your own


In a large mixing bowl, add apple pieces and lemon juice, and toss to combine. On a serving platter, add apples and chocolate chips and drizzle with hot caramel sauce. Serve immediately for best results! Use additional caramel sauce for added sweetness.

Serves 5. Each serving contains Calories 231, Fat 13 g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrate 31 g, Fiber 3 g, Cholesterol 1 mg.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground mace
  • 10 medium apples, peeled and cut into large chunks (about 2 1/2 pounds)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until apples are very tender.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until desired texture, keeping in mind some of the liquid will cook out during the final stage. Cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon into jars; cover and chill up to a week.

Yields 4 cups. Each ¼ cup serving contains Calories 132, Fat 0.0 g, Protein 0.1 g, Carbohydrate 35.3 g, Fiber 3.1 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 6 mg.

Fresh Apple Salsa


  • 2 cups diced peeled Pink Lady or Golden Delicious variety apple (about 3/4 pound)
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced


Combine all ingredients, stirring well.

Yields 12 ¼ cup servings. Each serving contains Calories 21, Fat 0.1g, Protein 0.2g, Carbohydrate 5.7g, Fiber 0.8g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 50mg, Calcium 4mg.

Lightened Up Apple Pie with Oat Topping


  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 frozen pie shell, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine the apples, granulated sugar, applesauce, flour, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir to thoroughly combine, then scrape into the pie shell. (Depending on the size of your apples, this may make more filling than you need. The apples should rise slightly over the pie shell, mounding in the center.)
  4. Combine the almonds, brown sugar, oats, butter, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl. Use your fingers to help break up the butter and mix with the other ingredients.
  5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pie. Top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, or frozen Greek yogurt.
  6. Place on the middle rack and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the apples are soft and the crust is golden brown.
  7. Cool before slicing and serving with scoops of vanilla ice cream.