While we’re in that season of cleaning out closet clutter and starting off the year with a blank slate, we’re also clearing out some of the “excess” when it comes to eating habits as well.
With reducing the amount of processed sugars and boxed foods, it also means stocking up on whole foods to make it easy for my family to embrace.
I like to look for Pazazz for apples at this time of year (local friends, find them at Publix!) because they’re grown to peak in flavor right now, so we can still have that fresh, crisp taste even in January! And being descended from the Honeycrisp, you can expect that kind of crunch but with a really balanced sweet tart flavor that works so well for most people… and most recipes.
So, while my kids grab these apples up to eat them as-is, we’re also sharing three of the best apple recipes to try right now, and easily get in that apple a day!
Top 3 Best Apple Recipes: Apple Rings
Move over fried donuts, these apple rings make it simple AND aesthetically pleasing. Top with homemade caramel (made with dates instead of sugar) or your favorite nut butter to get in a bit more healthy fats and protein, this isn’t just a pretty treat.
Just core your Pazazz apples, and slice into rings, add nut butter and top with mini chocolate chips, berries, coconut, crushed cereal, granola, nuts and more.
Top 3 Best Apple Recipes: Cinnamon Apple Chips
While we’re on the subject of slicing apples into rings, bake a few of them into cinnamon apple chips and they’re perfect for on-the-go snacking!
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lay apple slices in a single layer on lined baking sheets and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.
- Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.
- Once you remove the slices from the oven loosen them from the parchment paper, they should look golden brown and a little shriveled… let them cool and they will crisp up a bit more.
Top 3 Best Apple Recipes: Apple Butter
This no-sugar-added spread is great for kids sandwiches, on toast, in yogurt or oatmeal… or even just eating with a spoon!
- 1 2lb bag Pazzaz apples, cored and sliced
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Slice apples into small pieces (about 1/4″) and dispose of cores.
- Place apples in the basin of large slow cooker
- In a medium-sized bowl stir together the rest of the ingredients until combined and pour over apple pieces.
- Cook covered in crockpot over low heat for 10 hours.
- Once 10 hours has elapsed, either use an immersion blender to puree apples until smooth and no chunks remain, or move in batches to a blender or food processor.
- Turn crockpot on to low heat and cook another 2 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Store apple butter in the refrigerator in an airtight container, will keep about 2 weeks.
Need a little more convincing on WHY to eat more apples? Pazazz recently sent me a list of a few benefits of apples, and you guys, there is SO much goodness in an apple that I wanted to share it with you. I mean, I KNEW that apples were a good-for-you-food, and always loved that my kids asked for them (and often), but I didn’t realize they offered so many health benefits.
Apples Can Help Fight Obesity and Encourage Overall Dietary Wellness
- Cholesterol, fat and sodium free
- Low calorie
- Excellent dietary fiber – 5 grams per medium sized apple
- Rich in soluble fiber which can help you feel fuller longer (eating an apple slowly before lunch can help you reduce caloric intake)
- Contain non digestible fiber and polyphenols which when they reach the gut aid good bacteria in the colon
Apples Can Help Boost Brain Function
- Contain the antioxidant Quercetin that helps protect brain cells during oxidation according to researchers at Cornell University
- Quercetin blocks free radicals from damaging brain cells. This is found in the skin of the apple so it’s important not to peel
- Other studies have linked apples to helping reduce memory loss and the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Apples Are Good for the Heart
- Antioxidant properties also benefit the heart
- The Journal of Functional Foods reported a 2012 study that showed participants who ate an apple a day lowered their LDL bad cholesterol
- Fiber and vitamin C is also good for the heart
Apples May Help Protect Against Diabetes
- Two servings per week at least can reduce diabetes risk by 23 percent according to a Harvard School of Public Health Study in 2013
Apples Can Help Maintain Healthy Skin and Bones
- One medium apple has 14 percent of the recommended daily vitamin
- Also contain Vitamin B
- Both vitamins help promote healthy skin, speed up skin cell production and fight acne and other skin irritations.
- Phloridzin in apples is a flavonoid that can protect post menopausal women fight the effects of osteoporosis