Apples are a consumer friendly fruit. They are convenient to carry around for snacks and lunches.
In the refrigerator they store and keep well, and they will even stay fresh for a day or so in a fruit bowl at room temperature. A wide variety of preparations are possible from salads to desserts to side dishes.
Two of the ways I like to use apples as a side dish are:
- Waldorf salad – cut up apples, halved red grapes, chopped celery, chopped walnuts or pecans, and some dressing (I use mayonnaise thinned with a little milk and lightly sweetened)
- Sautéed apples – sliced apples sautéed in a little butter, lightly sweetened with maple syrup and seasoned with a sprinkle of cinnamon
The health benefits of apples are amazing, and support the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A 2004 review from Cornell University looked at how the phytochemicals (natural plant based chemicals) in apples affect disease risk. Apple intake was associated with decreased risk for lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, asthma, and type II diabetes. In one study of overweight, middle-aged women in Brazil apples were even associated with weight loss. Apples are a good source of fiber (about 4 grams per apple), including soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels.
The phytochemicals in apples (called flavonoids) are concentrated in the peel, so whenever possible include the peels in your preparation, as in the examples above. The concentration of beneficial phytochemicals differs among types of apples. Fuji and Red Delicious apples are two varieties with the highest levels.
Now, back to my treasured childhood recipe. Recently I have been substituting Quaker oats for the flour, and if I slice the apples thinly, I can leave the peels on. I also often add some chopped nuts to the topping. Please share any variations that you try!
Peel and slice: 2 apples
Season with: 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Work with pastry blender into crumbs:
¼ c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. light brown sugar (packed)
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
Place the sliced apples into 6” pie tin. Spread crumbs over apples evenly. Bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes or until tender.
Serve hot or cold, plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.
© 2015 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN