Celebrate apple season with 3 delicious recipes

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The leaves are starting to turn and the weather is cooling down here in Ohio. Fall is upon us and with it comes apple season! I’ve been an apple lover my entire life. As a kid, we used to go to an apple orchard near Mansfield called Apple Hill Orchards. There was nothing like munching on fresh picked apples in the back seat of the car on the drive home.

Occasionally, I’ll make the trek down to mid-Ohio just to get a gallon of their unpasteurized apple cider. The best part of the visit is filling my own jug from one of their spigots while dodging the ever-present bees and wasps that are trying to get a quick taste of the sweet juice. I’ve had a lot of cider in my life and none of it has ever come close to the complex flavor of Apple Hill’s cider. It’s a dark and cloudy cider with a tangy yet sweet taste. It’s pure unadulterated apple goodness!

Closer to home, I love going to Patterson’s Fruit Farm in Chesterland. I begin stalking their website in August to find out when their Honeycrisp apples will be available. This year, I noticed that they’re selling huge bags of “ugly” apples and I’ve been thinking about buying a bag. But, before I do, I need to form a plan for using them so I’ve been looking around for ways to use up a large quantity of apples.

Here are a few ideas I found:

How do you celebrate apple season? Share your ideas in the comments section or on our Facebook page. 

What’s your snack obsession? Apples and cheese are a healthy snack option to chew on

Apples and CheeseWhen you get a late afternoon hungry tummy rumble, what snack do you reach for to quiet the angry beast?

My guess is you walk to the vending machine and buy a bag of potato chips, because salty snacks are a common snack food in the United States.

I’ve been there.

But, I’ve also learned that tiny bag of salty goodness won’t keep my hunger at bay until dinner. I’ve found that fruit will. Why, you ask? Fruit contains carbohydrates that provide energy and slow digesting fiber that quells hunger and keeps blood sugar stable (goodbye 4 PM sugar crash!).

Apples are a key player on my healthy and affordable snack roster. Apples are a healthy snack choice, but obsession worthy? Yes, if you pair your apple with a bit of something special.

Lately, Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese has been my indulgence of choice. It’s an easy, portable snack and when you nibble on a morsel of cheese with a slice of apple you’ll have a delicious snack experience. The sharp tang of the cheese coupled with the sweet, tart flavor of the apple lifts your spirit (and your hunger). This is not a snack to gobble down. That would be a choking hazard and a missed opportunity. Slow down, savor the experience. Contemplate the lush, green hills of Vermont. (I feel less stressed already.)

Not only does adding a bit of cheese to your snack make you feel like you took a mini-vacation, a half-ounce portion of cheese has some healthy snack benefits. You’ll get 10% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium and little bit of fat and protein to help you feel full longer.

Watching your nutrition a bit more closely? Here’s some more stats for you to consider:

  • A medium apple contains about 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, over four grams of fiber, 14 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and is fat-free.
  • A half-ounce portion of cheese contains about 55 calories, zero carbohydrates and three grams of protein. It does contain five grams of fat (three of those are saturated fat), so moderation is the key to making it a part of a healthy diet.

What’s your snack obsession? Because mine change over time, I’m always looking for suggestions. Leave them in the comments or take part in the discussion happening on Facebook.

Cooking curiosity: Why are apples a healthy food?

Why are apples a healthy food?Apples are one of the most consumed fruits in the world. It’s easy to see why: they’re crunchy, full of sweet/tart flavor and a healthy, portable snack. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but do you know why apples have gotten such a good reputation?

Here are some facts about apples for you to chew on:

  • Apples help stabilize blood sugar levels. According this article in Reader’s Digest, a study found that women who ate an apple a day reduced their diabetes risk by 30%.
  • Apples contain pectin, which benefits your health in two ways. First, it helps keep your heart healthy: pectin is a soluble fiber and as it goes through your digestive tract, it absorbs water and binds to cholesterol, preventing it from being absorbed into your blood stream. Second, pectin serves as a prebiotic in the digestive process; essentially, it provides food for the “good” bacteria in your guts so they can keep working hard for you.
  • Apples contain flavonoids and polyphenols–basically compounds that give the fruit color and protect it while it’s trying to grow into your tasty treat–which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer.
  • And, my favorite reason to eat an apple: a medium-sized apple contains over four grams of fiber, making it a filling snack to keep tummy rumbles at bay until your next meal.

What about you? Are you an apple fan or foe? What varieties are your favorite? Why not share your thoughts on our Facebook page?