My family has been going apple picking for as long as I can remember and it’s a tradition I have enjoyed continuing with my own kids. The best part? Apples are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and contain antioxidants. But what to do with all those apples when you get home? I love apple pie and I usually allow myself to bake one from scratch every year in the Fall and for the rest of our apple haul here are some healthy ways I use them in the kitchen.
Apples make great snacks! Think of apples as a healthier alternative to crackers and pair them with your favorite protein for a balanced snack. Slice half an apple and serve with thinly sliced cheddar cheese or with peanut or almond butter. You can also dip sliced apples in low sugar vanilla yogurt and top with chopped nuts or shredded coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a much healthier take on candy covered varieties.
Switch Up Your Salads Add apples to your salads. One of my favorite variations is spring mix or baby spinach topped with diced apples, creamy goat cheese, toasted almonds, chopped celery and some shredded carrots. To add more protein or make this a main dish, add grilled chicken or diced smoked deli turkey. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic or apple cider vinaigrette dressing and I promise you will never look at salad the same way again.
Keep it simple. It’s so easy to make unsweetened applesauce from scratch, and your house will smell amazing. I like to use a mix of apples and make my applesauce in the slow cooker, but this can also be done on the stovetop.
- 3 lbs apples
- ½ cup apple cider or water
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Start by peeling, coring and chopping about 3 pounds of apples. Add to a heavy saucepan or slow cooker with ½ cup water or ½ cup apple cider. I always add ½ teaspoon cinnamon but this is optional.
- Cook for about 2 hours on stovetop over low heat or for about 6 hours in the slow cooker on the lowest setting. Your sauce is done when the apples fall apart when stirred with a wooden spoon. I like to stir my sauce and leave a little texture, but an immersion or high speed blender can be used for a very smooth consistency. Keep your fresh applesauce in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for 6 months.
Make Apples Part of the Main Dish
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Sweet Onion and Fennel
If you’ve never tried fennel I urge you to give it a shot in this recipe. The flavor isn’t overpowering because it cooks for so long. If it’s just not your thing, you can substitute it for diced sweet potatoes, parsnips or carrots.
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 2-3 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 medium apples, cored and diced in ½ inch pieces
- 1 bulb fresh fennel, diced
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 4-5 stems fresh rosemary and thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat a large heavy skillet over medium heat on the stove top.
- Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, add oil and tenderloins. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned all over.
- Remove tenderloins from the skillet and add additional tablespoon of oil, if necessary. Reduce heat to low and sauté onions and fennel 5-6 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add apples and cook an additional 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Lightly season veggie mixture with salt and pepper and turn off heat and transfer the vegetable mixture to a slow cooker. Arrange full stalks of herbs over apples and vegetables, making a “bed” for the tenderloins. Place the tenderloins, along with any juices back in the pot.
- Secure lid and set to slow cook on low for 7-8 hours or until center of tenderloins reach 145 degrees fahrenheit.
- Just before serving, discard herbs. Remove tenderloins from the pot and slice into 2 inch pieces. Serve over apples and vegetables.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Tip: This recipe reheats nicely so I always make extra to have leftovers.