Written by : Emily Wise Miller 

Good Apples

Apple cider. Applesauce. Apple pie. Apples are a fundamental staple of the American kitchen. If apples were not already vibrant red, green and yellow, they might as well come in red, white and blue.

ApplesThe versatile fruit—a member of the rose family—thrives in cold weather but is available year-round. Apples come in a mind boggling number of varieties, from stalwarts such as Granny Smith and Gala to newcomers like Jazz, Pink Lady and Honeycrisp.
You’ll get the full benefit of apples’ nutrients when you enjoy them raw with the peel on. (Wash them well and/or buy organic.) Apples achieve their startling colors thanks to antioxidants called polyphenols, including the flavonol quercetin, which concentrate in the peel. These chemicals have been ascribed with warding off cancer, to name but one superpower. Eating apples also aids digestion and lowers two kinds of cholesterol.
The fiber in apples gives you a feeling of being full; in addition, apples are lower on the glycemic index than other fruit, which makes them a perfect snack for those who want to shed a few pounds.


In fall when apples are abundant, you can slice then into salads, juice them or eat them any way you like. Here are two favorite recipes to add to your list.

Apple Cake With Toasted Pecans

You can easily omit the pecans and leave this cake very simple. Serve it with coffee in the afternoon or bring it to a potluck and watch it disappear before your eyes. (Adapted from “Spiced Apple Cake ” in Muffins by Beth Hensperger.)

Serves 6 to 8 people.

3 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Fuji, peeled, cored and chopped into roughly ½-inch piecesApple Cake
Zest and juice from one small orange or Meyer lemon
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round springform pan, or a square baking pan.

In a bowl, combine the apples, zest and juice, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, combine the softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla with the granulated sugar in the bowl of the mixer and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then add the dry ingredients a little at a time. Finally, remove the bowl from the mixer and add the apple mixture, using a wooden spoon or spatula to gently mix into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until top is golden and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean—about 60 minutes (check at 50 minutes if using a square pan and not a springform). When the cake is done, allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Release from the pan; let cool and serve.

Apple Sauce With Cranberries

Use this classic fall recipe with turkey, Hanukkah latkes, or any time you would normally use regular apple sauce.

Serves 6 to 8 people as a condiment.

4 whole tart apples, such as Fuji or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped into large pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup raw cranberries

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy pot with 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon to break up the apples, until the ingredients have melded into a chunky sauce, about 15 minutes. If you would like a more refined texture, pass the sauce through a potato ricer or food mill.

Emily Wise Miller is the Web Editor for Live Happy. Some of her previous articles on food and cooking include 3 Steps to Healthier Eating and Tomatoes Take a Starring Role.

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