Ideas and Recipes for In-Season Michigan Apples

As we head into the fall solstice, a fresh harvest of in-season produce is calling. In September, Michiganders can take advantage of grapes, green beans, corn, zucchini, cabbage and, of course, apples.

Sometimes known as nature’s toothbrush, apples offer an impressive list of health benefits, including prebiotic effects, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The fiber and polyphenol content in apples reduces the risk for heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, this study supports the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In the study, middle-aged adults who consumed one apple a day for four weeks lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 40%.

Apples are the largest and most valuable crop in Michigan. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan is the nation’s third-largest producer of the tasty fruit. Nearly 15 million apple trees cover 34,000-plus acres, producing popular apple varieties such as Fuji, Evercrisp, Gala, Golden and Red Delicious, and Honeycrisp.

Apples are known for lasting long, but refrigerated apples last longer than apples left out. Be sure to keep apples away from other produce, as apples be used as a snack and frozen for the year or purchase unsweetened applesauce.

After your next backyard harvest or trip to the farmers market, consider making these apple recipes:

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  • 1 Honeycrisp apple or other crispy variety, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 slices whole wheat or sourdough bread, toasted
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey

Orange and Thyme Whipped Ricotta Apple Toast

Orange and Thyme Whipped Ricotta Apple Toast — Serves 2

1. In a pan over medium heat, spray with oil and add hazelnuts. Shake around every 30 seconds or so and toast for 2-3 minutes. Watch so they do not burn.

2. In a blender or food processor, add ricotta, Greek yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, thyme and honey. Blend until smooth.

3. On toasted bread, add 2-3 tablespoons of whipped ricotta mixture. Add sliced apples on top, then finish with toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!

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For the cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup homemade or unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fall Spiced Applesauce Cake

For healthier frosting and topping

  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple or other crispy variety, sliced
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts

Fall Spiced Applesauce Cake

1. Make applesauce that can be used as a snack and frozen for the year or purchase unsweetened applesauce.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan with spray oil and apply unflavored breadcrumbs or panko crumbs.

4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

5. In a separate bowl using a high-speed mixer, beat the eggs with regular and brown sugar until smooth. Add the applesauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Mix on high speed until smooth.

6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix at high speed until well incorporated.

7. Pour batter into a baking pan. Depending on the oven, bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean from the middle of the cake.

8. For the frosting, combine Greek yogurt, light cream cheese, maple syrup and pumpkin spice.

9. After the cake has cooled, apply frosting to the top, then add sliced apples around the edges. Top with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts in the middle.

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  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 crispy apples, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups lettuce (kale or baby spring mix)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup walnuts

Crispy Brussels Apple Salad

Spiced Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Crispy Brussels Apple Salad — Serves 4

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Prepare a baking sheet and spray with olive oil.

3. Toss Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the shredded sprouts on the baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring halfway.

4. While Brussels sprouts are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a blender, whisk in a bowl or shake in a Mason jar.

5. Combine all salad ingredients with the dressing. Add grilled pork tenderloin, chicken, tofu or crunchy chickpeas for protein, if desired.

Crispy Apple Chicken Salad — Serves 4:

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Option 1: Slow cooker chicken

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small or ½ large onion, diced (shallot, red or yellow onion)
  • ½ cup chopped celery

Option 2: Canned chicken

  • 3 cans chicken
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 crispy apples, diced (such as Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious)
  • ¾ cup grapes, quartered
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Crispy Apple Chicken Salad

Crispy Apple Chicken Salad — Serves 4

1. Option 1 (omit if using canned chicken option). In a slow cooker, add chicken breasts, diced onion, celery and herbs. Cook on low for 4 hours. Shred using a fork, immersion blender or potato masher.

2. Combine Option 1 or Option 2 chicken with diced red onion, diced apple, grapes, chopped walnuts, light mayonnaise, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Enjoy on a salad or atop a slice of whole wheat toast. Add chopped herbs if desired.

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