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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
golden delicious

Apple Picking

As I was leaving the office yesterday afternoon, I noticed the temperature dropped 20 degrees. With the cooler nip in the air, the footballs game on TV, and the numerous fall festivals going on, it was my first feeling of fall. And that gets me excited for delicious fall foods, including fresh apples!

Apple orchards are gearing up for the apple season. And if you haven't made plans to visit your local orchard, you should! Apple picking is fun for the whole family, and the University of Illinois Extension has all sorts of easy and delicious apple recipes to try at Apples and More.

Many people ask the question: which apples are best for snacking, baking, or making applesauce? Well, that depends on your own taste buds!

Granny Smith apples are tart and hold their shape well when baking. They are generally known as the ideal apple for baking pies. Golden Delicious apples are considered the "best all around" apple because these sweet tasting apples are good for baking or snacking, and they freeze well. A Gala (sweet) or Jonathan (slightly tart) apple are also good for baking or simply biting into as a snack. A McIntosh apple falls to pieces when cooked so it's great for making applesauce. But Fuiji (sweet) and the Winesap apple (slightly tart, spicy wine-like flavor) are also favorites for applesauce eaters. Of course, there are thousands of different apple varieties to choose from. Ask your local orchard staff to help you choose the best type of apple for your dish.

Choose firm apples with smooth skin, free of bruises and blemishes. Store apples in the refrigerator away from other produce; apples release ethylene gas, which can be damaging to lettuce and other produce. Try apples in more than just apple pie! This is an easy slow cooker recipe for a healthier version of caramel apple pie.

Caramel Apple Crisp

4 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup fat-free caramel syrup

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup flour

2 Tablespoons melted trans-fat-free margarine

Spray the interior of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.In a large bowl, toss apples with cornstarch.Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and toss with apples.Add apple mixture to the slow cooker and drizzle with caramel syrup. In a separate bowl, stir together oats, flour and melted margarine. Pack on top of apples and cook on High for 3 hours.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts: (Amount Per Serving) 220 calories, 4.5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 85mg sodium, 45g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 2g protein

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