Sometimes known as nature’s toothbrush, apples offer an impressive list of health benefits. Apples offer prebiotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The fiber and polyphenol content may reduce the risk for chronic conditions including heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Apples are the most valuable crop in Michigan. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, our state 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.
Here are two recipes to take advantage of Michigan apples this fall:
Orange and Thyme Whipped Ricotta Apple Toast Recipe
Welcome fall with a upscaled toast that can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a festive appetizer. Featuring thyme, orange, apples and hazelnuts, this recipe brings together all there is to love about fall on a toast.
The ricotta is whipped with thyme and orange zest to provide a silky contrast to the crisp apples and toasted sourdough. The toasted hazelnuts bring all the flavors together in an upscaled toast that can be enjoyed for breakfast or a festive appetizer.
- 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
- 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.
- In a blender or food processor, add ricotta, Greek yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, thyme and honey. Blend until smooth.
- On toasted bread, add 2-3 tablespoons of whipped ricotta mixture. Add sliced apples on top, then finish with toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!
Baked Apple Rose
Apples make for delicious fall desserts when combined with cinnamon, nutmeg and other classic baking spices. In this recipe, some of the fat and sugar in traditional apple desserts is cut down while leaving an impressive display of apple slices in a rose.
- 4 honey crisp apples, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- ¼ cup old fashioned oats
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- Optional – 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin with spray oil.
- In the muffin tin, line slices apples around the edges, working your way in so that they form a rose.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the oat and sugar mixture on top of the rose.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until apples are soft and the top is caramelized. Scoop ¼ cup of vanilla ice cream on top if desired.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more health tips and information, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.
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