Apples are by far one my most favorite fruits, which is probably why I love the fall so much. Growing up in Virginia, there was nothing I loved more than picking McIntosh apples with my family. With the cooking spree that generally followed at home a close second. Between our homemade applesauce, apple crisp, apple pie, apple fritters, tarts, and Waldorf salads. Needless to say, things could get pretty fruity at home during apple season.
While I have an extreme fondness for apples there is also a great legacy apple-loving in America. Apples have been recorded as culinary staples in colonial kitchens stemming back to the early 1600’s, making them a true staple of American culture.
In 1603 Jamestown settlers grew apples for one sole purpose: Making cider. The apples they produced then were small, tart varieties more akin to crab apples, unlike the handy fruit snacks we enjoy today.
Even though apples are not the most purchased fruit in the United States. They come in at a close second behind bananas. But whether it’s through fresh apples or apple products, the average American consumes roughly 19 pounds per year. Making them the perfect fat-free, low-cal, sodium-free, cholesterol-free 80-calorie snack.
As the old adage goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Eating an apple before bed can help cleanse and whiten your teeth, eating the skin of apples can provide you with age-fighting anti-oxidants, including Quercetin, apples are nutrient-dense in fiber, and contain high levels of boron, which increases mental alertness. Now for a new more modern American apple facts!
1) Washington State produces the most apples each year in the United States. In fact, 70% of all apples sold in the U.S. come from the Evergreen state. This is followed by production by New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio, and Idaho.
2) The United States currently produced close to 200 unique varieties of apples but the only native apple to North America is the Crabapple. Crabapple trees once called common apples, became a staple of American markets as early as Boston in 1625. It is believed that apple seeds brought over from Europe began to change consumer markets and over time crabapples became out of step with American tastes. That was until the reemergence of the 20th-century cider renaissance, where now over 30 varieties of crabapples can be commonly found in store-bought microbrews.
3) It takes an apple tree five years to produce its first fruit. Apple trees are slow, but steady producers. Once the tree begins to grow, each apple tree can become quite voluminous. The average tree can fill 20 fruit boxes, with the average box weighing in around 42 pounds!
4) It takes around 40 apples to produce 1 gallon of cider. Making that each glass of cider you drink is the equivalent of 4 apples.
5) The top 10 varieties sold in the United States are Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Jazz. The most used apple for baking is the Red Delicious, due to its sweet, rich flavor. The top cider producing apples are McIntosh, Rome, and Empire.
Now that we all know a little more about these naturally sweet snacks, I thought I would share with you a few ideas to get you thinking of all things apple in the season to come. So pull out those crock-pots, mason jars, and baking mitts! Here are my 5 favorite apple recipes for the fall season ahead.
Crock-Pot Apple Chia Cider: What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make, stores well, reheats like a dream, and encompasses my two favorite drinks, cider, and Chai tea. This drink is always a favorite for family get-togethers, and family movie nights deep in the Fall. The best part? It can be prepped in under five minutes! This will be your new go-to drink this fall at home!
Harvest Crock-Pot Apple Butter: Need a way to use up leftover apples? This organic apple butter is perfect for just that! I often use leftover apples from my Crock Pot Apple Chai Cider recipe! What I love about this tasty apple butter is it a truly low and slow recipe, but oh so worth the wait. Depending on the sweetness of the apples used, the amount of sugar used in this recipe can be reduced or removed as a whole, making this a true low-glycemic recipe!
Crock-Pot Pork Loin with Apple-Cranberry Sauce: Looking for a super simple weeknight meal idea? Well, it doesn’t get much easier than my Crock-Pot Pork Loin with Apple-Cranberry Sauce! What’s nice about this dish, is that is can be made for a weeknight dinner, taken along to a potluck meal, or even served for Christmas Dinner. And my favorite part of this recipe? The aroma put off by the rosemary, granny smith apples, and cranberries. It’s totally reminiscent of the holiday season!
Make-Ahead Apple Pie Pecan Chia Seed Pudding: This yummy, nutrient-dense, flavor-packed chia seed pudding is a fun and frugal vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free recipe you’ll want to try this coming apple season! Enjoy it on toast, layered in parfaits, or warmed for a fun breakfast treat!
DIY All-Natural Apple-Honey Cough Syrup Recipe: If you are anything like me, then throughout the year you suffer from dry, scratchy, painful throat symptoms. With allergy season right around the corner, here’s my go-to fall All-Natural Apple-Honey Cough Syrup! Not only is this blend all natural, it costs merely $0.50 per bottle!
So, friends, those are my 5 favorite go-to apple recipes each fall. With the start of National Month a few short days away, I hope these recipes will inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to America’s favorite snack, the apple! Now, I’ve got to ask, do you have any go-to apple recipes you enjoy each fall? If so, I’d love to hear about them below!