An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Right?
Many other fruits, veggies, and grains/seeds/nuts have stolen the show recently with their super antioxidant powers, their outstanding omegas, and all that. But most of those superfoods have one thing in common with the common apple. They’re not processed — they recently, and obviously, had roots (that’s my test for junk food) — and we should eat a variety of them for a variety of reasons. So maybe our NEW saying should be:
Lots of fruits and veggies a day keeps the doctor away! Oh, wait. There’s the “5 a day” rule! I guess we do have a new one :)
But apples are not to be dismissed! They still provide amazing nutrition, they’re easy to find, store, and prepare, they taste good to almost everyone, and they’re affordable. You might also be surprised to know that larger apples count as 2 servings, so share that big luscious apple with a friend and you’ll both be on the right track!
It can get boring to just throw an apple in the lunch bag everyday, though. Even Washingtonians, who love their Washington apples, need to change it up now and then! I have to say that my family usually *doesn’t* eat an apple a day. We go through spells of it. We use a lot of apples in our fruit desserts and baked goods. When the kids were growing up, they had a lot of different ways to eat those apples, too!
So here’s a list of 30 different ways to eat an apple a day, without getting bored.
- Straight out of hand. Even here, you can change it up. There’s a lot of difference between eating a Golden Delicious (mild, tender skinned) and a Granny Smith (tangy-wowzer! and tough skin) and Gala (super-sweet.) My favorites for basic eating apples are Braeburns and Galas, or Red Delicious if they’re peeled.
- Cut it up. There are lots of ways to cut up an apple, and they all provide a different eating experience. Try it! First up: cut it in quarters and cut out the core. Take it a step further — cut those quarters into 2 or 3 wedges each. Spend a little more time and make thin wedges, one of my favorite ways.
- Give yourself a star for eating an apple — cut an apple crosswise (around the equator) and make circle slices, and you’ll see the 5 seed chambers make a star. Kids love this one. Just eat all around and leave the core. Although it doesn’t matter if you eat it, too.
- Make Samantha-slab-slices! Sam started her college days with an apple, sliced in a particular way. My husband now does this, too. If you prefer not to eat the skin, this is an easy way to leave out just 4 slices containing most of the skin. (But you should eat it, it is good for you!) And guinea pigs love the cores!
- Cinnamon sugar. Spread your slices, wedges, or slabs out on a plate and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar! (2 Tbsp sugar to 1 tsp. cinnamon — I keep a large shaker of this around, often more cinnamon-y than that.)
- Grate it! If you really want to skip the chewing, how about the way my daughter Becca at apples for the most part of a year? Grate it up skin and all, let it stand for a few minutes to get nice and brown in the air, then munch it. That oxidation is sweet, sweet, sweet! It all began one day when she started snacking on the apple peel spaghetti that our apple peeler creates.
- Take those thin slices, or grated shreds, or dice up an apple, put it in a cereal bowl, cover it with a plate and microwave it for a bit. If you have a “sensor reheat” button, try that. Let it stand, covered, then dig in to steamy hot apples. Yes, of COURSE you may sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar! If you want to mash it into applesauce, you might have to MW it some more.
- Add diced apple — lots of it — to your old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. If you use instant or quick-cooking, just microwave the apples as in #7 first!
- Spread your apple slices with peanut butter; maybe grab up a couple raisins (regular or golden) with each slice using that sticky PB. (or sub your fave nut butter)
- My special peanut butter dip created one day when my nephews were visiting: In a ramekin, heat a scoop of peanut butter in the microwave for just a few seconds until it becomes soft and warm. Stir in some of that cinnamon-sugar to taste. Cold apple slices + warm cinnamon-y PB =Yum!
- Caramel dip. Melt caramels with a bit of cream, evaporated milk, or whatever milk you have around in the microwave or a double boiler. Roughly 6-8oz caramel, 1-2 Tbsp cream/milk. Heat and stir, heat and stir stir stir (and adjust the ratio of caramel/milk) until it comes together as a beautiful caramel-colored (ha!) pool of yumminess. Apples + caramel = perfect! Use the individually wrapped caramels, or if you are me, buy the 5 lb block at Cash & Carry.
- Eat a caramel apple at the fair!
- This is not my style, but try sprinkling your sliced apple with salt. Apparently it is quite delicious, especially if you are someone who likes to salt their cantaloupe and other melons.
- Make a salad FROM raw apples, such as a Waldorf salad, or Jane Brody’s version (healthier, and with pineapple!) This blog has a faithful adaptation. Jane Brody’s Good Food Book is worth checking out from the library. I just picked up a copy from a used book store for a buck. Lucky me!
- Make a salad WITH raw apples. You can add thinly sliced apple to any salad that you would add thinly sliced pear to, such as: greens, dried cranberries, hazelnuts/pecans/walnuts/almonds, blue cheese crumbles, and a berry viniagrette (just blenderize frozen mixed berries with a bottled Italian for a shortcut) L.O.V.E this salad, whether it has apples or pears.
- Add raw apple to any fruit smoothie. Gives it fluff and bulk. And appley goodness.
- Add grated raw apple into any type of rolled up bread dough item, ie cinnamon rolls, crescent rolls, etc., or oatmeal cookies, that you may be putting together.
- Sliced apples in a sandwich. Who needs lettuce?! Becca got us hooked on the Ham and Havarti from her coffee hangout at WSU. (We all have panini presses now, because of our need for this sandwich. We all agree paninis rock.) Ham and Havarti: Raisin bread, thin sliced ham, thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, Havarti, stoneground mustard, then “panini” it. Or make it in a frying pan as you would a grilled cheese. Good for breakfast (yes!), lunch, dinner, late night snacks…
- Eat your apple with cheese. I have two suggestions: a sharp cheddar especially Tillamook Extra Sharp Reserve (black packaging) or mild, creamy, cute Laughing Cow wedges. Oh, and Becca says Brie. I agree with Brie, too.
- These Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini although I don’t think it would be completely necessary to caramelize the apples; you’d still have an awesome tidbit :) I might just smash the blue cheese onto the crostini, dust it with the peppers, then lay the apple over all. Or just do it their way LOL … hmm, what about an apple, blue cheese, and roast beef panini?
- Scalloped apples, done in a frying pan like this recipe from Viking Range people. My mom would do apples like this once in a while to have over French toast. I like them over pancakes or a Dutch Baby, too! So simple and quick! To reduce the sugar but still have that brown sugar yumminess, try either light or dark Muscovado sugar. This brown-sugar-fanatic LOVES Muscovado sugar.
- How about apples IN pancakes? Small dice, or grated, you can stir the apple right into the batter. Or dip some of those circle slices (core them) into the pancake batter and cook up a true apple-pancake!
- Some mug-liciousness for you: apple crisp for one in a mug. The topping might not be as crisp as an oven-baked version, but it will still be good stuff!
- Make the apple galette (a no-pan, no-skills required tart) that I use in my pie crust lessons here (scroll waaaaay down).
- Apple slices fried with batter, such as this award-winning recipe for Apple Rings (think onion rings, but dessert!)
- Wrap an apple in dough and call it a dumpling — apple dumplings! Here’s a recipe that’s been around since 1904. Talk about time-tested…
- Pork chops with apple and onion. A delicious fall dish. You can get creative with this, too; start here and make it your own.
- Apple bread pudding … I might start with this one and tweak it, because I always feel the need to have my own version. I don’t think it really needs tweaking though; looks pretty good! Or check this one that starts with cinnamon bread. Mmm!
- Apple crowns! I want an apple crown! Do they make sceptors, too? Seriously, this link to Apple Crowns dessert/snack I picked up from Savory Simple’s apple recipe round up this month looks like fun. (So do many of the recipes in that post!)
- Baked apples: core whole apples almost all the way through, trim the bottom bumps just so they will stay sitting flat and stable. Place in a buttered baking dish. Fill the centers with a mixture of raisins, nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar then top with a bit of butter. Seal with foil and bake for 30-60 min until apples have steamed themselves and are tender. Blast from the past!
- Bonus: Apple Cinnamon Scones. Yes, please. I might just need these for my birthday breakfast. With extra apples in the recipe, I think.
Well, I’m quite proud of this list! I was surprised to find a couple that are new to me, like eating apples with salt. I will be trying that one, and more!