assortment of apples

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 Alice Henneman, MS, RDN

The possible health benefits of apples were noted as early as medieval times, according to the U.S. Apple Association. The old English saying "Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed makes the doctor beg his bread" is the forerunner of the version we hear: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Some studies indicate apples may help decrease the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. And, weighing in at approximately 80 calories per average apple, they may also help with weight control.

Ever wondered about which apple tastes best for different uses (snacking, salads, pies, sauces, baking, freezing)? Check the Apple Usage Chart from the U.S. Apple Association.

Following are 4 recipes so you can enjoy versatile apples anytime in your meals from salad to side dish to dessert!

HINT: Make quick work of coring an apple with a melon baller.

Mighty Quick Cole Slaw

Serves: 4

Coring an apple with a melon baller

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup light or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice or vinegar and sugar. If desired, mix in a little milk, a teaspoon at a time, to thin dressing.
  2. Mix mayonnaise mixture with cabbage and apple. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Alice's Notes:
Additional quick add-ins include one or more of the following: orange slices, shredded carrots, chopped bell peppers, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped celery.

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole

Sweet Potato Apple Casserole(serves: 2 to 4)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 apple, with its skin; sliced (Granny Smith apples taste good in this recipe; however, most any apple except Red Delicious will work in a baked dish)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, mix together the orange juice, brown sugar, butter or margarine, cinnamon and dried cranberries or raisins. Heat and continue to stir until the sugar is dissolved and the margarine is melted.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes, apples and orange juice mixture.
  4. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  5. Bake, covered, for one hour or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Stir the mixture before serving to coat the sweet potatoes and apples with the juices accumulated at the bottom.

French Apple Yogurt

Makes 1 quartFrench Apple Yogurt

  • 3 cups diced or sliced apples (Alice's Note: You can leave the skins on.)
  • 2 cups plain, low-fat yogurt (Alice's Note: I used non-fat, vanilla yogurt and omitted the brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, if apples are tart
  1. Cook the apples in 1/2 cup water 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Reserve one cup cooked apple and put rest into blender with one cup yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Blend very briefly.
  3. Mix all ingredients together.

Approximate Nutritional Analysis (per serving): calories, 148; protein, 7 g; carbohydrates, 25 g; dietary fiber, 3 g; fat, 2 g; cholesterol, 8 mg; sodium, 87 mg; 12% calories from fat.

Source: Courtesy of US Apple Association

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Cranberry Apple CrispMakes 9 servings

This recipe may be enjoyed with a variety of berries.

  • 5 cups pared, sliced tart apples, about 6 medium apples
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (See Alice's Note 2.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat; OR /3 cup flour PLUS 1/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chilled margarine, cut into small pieces
  1. Position oven rack so crisp will bake in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the apples and cranberries with the sugar until coated. Transfer to baking pan.
  3. Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon for topping. Work in margarine until light and crumbly. (See Note 3)
  4. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples and cranberries.
  5. Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with a small scoop of a light ice cream or frozen yogurt. (See Notes 4. & 5.)

Alice's Notes:

  1. Granny Smith apples work well as a tart apple in this recipe. Leave the skins on, if desired.
  2. 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries may be substituted for the cranberries; 1-1/2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries is another substitution possibility.
  3. Combine margarine with the dry ingredients by working it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs and there are no large chunks of margarine visible. As a quicker method of mixing the topping: Place the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add margarine and pulse 10 times or until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Test for apple tenderness by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the apples. This leaves smaller cuts in the apples and topping than using a fork.
  5. Serve warm. Limit the TOTAL time the crisp is left at room temperature to two hours. Refrigerate and eat remaining crisp within 3 days. To reheat leftover crisp, warm in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 - 30 minutes. Heat single servings in the microwave on higher power for 60 - 90 seconds.

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