By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician, RD, LD
American’s eat on average of one apple a week, about 16.82 pounds a year according to bestapples.com. Apples have always been a big part of the Mitchell-Detwiler house, always filling the fruit bin in the fridge to overflowing during the Ohio apple season. My visits to the local orchard are great memories of my earlier years during the fall months. Back in the day, the visit started out as we jumped off the school bus and into the car for the twisting, turning, up and down journey of the few hills in this normally very flat area to the Ohio Orchard. The excitement grew as the apple trees began to come into view. Pick your own apples were not a thing in the early 70s but the warehouse-like barn was cooled to perfection and filled with bags of apples with different tastes, hues and textures. We watched as apples were picked and went through the grading table, hand selected for our special bag. Everything apple from gadgets, accessories to food pairings, such as my favorite caramel, were tucked around the apples tempting little and aged hands and tastebuds. Baby foodies were being born as we experienced the tastes of the different apple varieties and helped pick out our favorites. It is where I first learned the difference between great eating and cooking apples. Today the Hallmark Channel has taken apples, fall and orchards to a new level where it is all about the romance of the experience!
In the beginning, apples had some bad cred. They were branded during their debut in the Good Book as “forbidden fruit.” Let’s face it; fruit was the innocent party. In February 1866, the apple mantra began to turn when a Welsh proverb: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” appeared in Notes and Queries. The proverb was later adapted in 1913 into the modern version we know today! An apple a day keeps the doctor away. To docs the verse may have prevented them from bringing home the bacon but, in reality, it was just a little ditty to promote the health of eating apples.
Apples began to be the brand for good health and continue today for good reason. One large fresh apple (8 ounces) provides 20% of recommended amount of fiber, 8% of Vitamin C and 7% potassium all packed into 130 calories. Now that is nutrient dense! Please, do not forget to eat the peel…that is where a ton of fiber is. The fiber has all kinds of great benefits such as helping with “bad” cholesterol levels, stabilizing glucose levels as well as ease in the bathroom area. The phytochemicals jam-packed in apples protect cells with antioxidant, cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. Although I am not a fan of fad diets, the 3-A-Day diet encourages eating a fresh apple before each meal. The theory is the apple makes you feel full and satisfies your sweet cravings. Not sure how much weight you will lose but I don’t think you can go wrong with this philosophy since it is recommended that we eat 2 cups of fruit a day anyways.
Ohio produced over 47 million pounds of apples for fresh and processing in 2017. For babies in backpacks to Millennials to the gray hairs (I guess that is me!), the experience factor has made U-Pick apples the place to be. Throw in COVID and orchards are hopping. The cool temps in mid-September had orchards running on empty of fan favorites of caramel apples, cider, apples and of course Paul’s favorite, the donuts. Orchards in Ohio produce over 50 different varieties of apples. Mike Hirsch of Hirsch Fruit Farm says his two favorites are Honeycrisp and Fuji. Fuji is one of my favorites as well. Mike tells me “Fujis keep really well and retain their fresh eating qualities better than most other varieties.” For me it is all about the crisp, sweet-tart taste so shelf-life is important. I can’t wait to bite into an Ohio apple and make some of my favorite go-to apple recipes! Celebrate the abundance of Ohio’s agriculture by eating an apple today or enjoying one of these new apple recipes with your family.
Eat well and healthy,
Apple, Swiss Cheese and Pistachio Salad, adapted by Shelly
8-10 cups of favorite salad greens*
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
2 apples, sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
¼ dried cranberries or cherries
½ c pistachios, walnuts, or almonds
Poppyseed dressing sparkpeople.com
1/3 cup white wine vinegar 1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda/stevia) 1 tsp yellow mustard 1 tbs poppy seeds 1/3-1/2 cup vegetable oil (like canola)
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine salad ingredients and top with dressing and toss. Sprinkle on nuts.
Mix dressing ingredients well in a blender or shaker. Use to taste on salad.
*I like romaine or baby arugula, baby kale & baby spinach mix)
Melt In Your Mouth Apple Coffee Cake ohioapples.com from Nancy Blumenthaler, Copley
1 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix
1/2 cup cider
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups diced OHIO apples
Mix cake mix with cider, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Mix at low speed until moistened. Add sour cream. Beat 4 minutes. Stir in diced apples.
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
4 tablespoons dry instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Mix the streusel mixture with a fork until crumbly. Spray a Bundt cake pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Begin with streusel mixture and layer with cake batter and streusel mixture until cake batter is gone. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove cake from pan and drizzle frosting (recipe below) over warm cake. Serves 10-12.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Soften butter, add sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add additional milk, if needed, to make a thin frosting. Drizzle frosting over the cake.
One Pan Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta INSPIREDBYCHARM.COM
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound chicken apple sausage, sliced 1/2 large onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 granny smith apple, chopped 2 cups chicken broth 14.5 oz can of tomatoes with green chilies 1/2 cup heavy cream 10 ounces pasta (I used Cellentani.) salt and pepper to taste 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly for garnish
In a large oven-safe pan / skillet, add olive oil and set the temperature to medium high heat. Add in the onions and sausage and cook for about 5 minutes until brown. Then, put in the garlic and apples, cooking for about another minute.
Next, add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, heavy cream, pasta, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil; then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and let simmer until the pasta is cooked al dente.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/2 cup of cheese to the pasta. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Broil in the oven until the cheese melted.
Serve up, garnish with sliced green onions, and enjoy!