Apples are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of September till the end of October. There are over 100 varieties of apples grown in the United States, but over 90% of the apples grown consist of only 15 varieties. These include McIntosh, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, Crispin, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Empire, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Jazz apples. Apple picking is available at lots of farms during this time of year, as it is a fun fall activity for all ages. Some of my favorite places to go are Applecrest Farm and Demerit Hill Farm.
Many of you have heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while apples will not necessarily prevent you from getting sick, they do contain a lot of health benefits! Apples contain about 95 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 14% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Due to their high fiber and water content, they are very filling making apples a great snack to hold you over until dinner or to bulk up your meals without adding a lot of calories. Apples also contain polyphenols, specifically a flavonoid called epicatechin that has been associated with lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Besides eating apples as a snack, one of my favorite ways to eat apples is in desserts. Baked apple products have a special place in my heart, however they are often loaded with sugar and not the most nutritious option to eat on a daily basis. The recipe below takes one of my favorite fall baked goods, apple muffins, and puts a healthy twist on this classic treat.
Healthy Apple Muffins:
- 2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cup grated apples
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla extract.
- Combine dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients while mixing. Fold in grated apples and walnuts. Stir until combined.
- Fill muffin tins all the way to the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Decrease heat to 350 degrees and bake for 12-18 minutes.
- Let cool and serve!