Let's Enjoy Apples! (FN1966, July 2020)

You’ve probably heard the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Research continues to show that the fiber and natural antioxidants and other phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in apples may help prevent chronic diseases.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

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two apples

You’ve probably heard the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Research continues to show that the fiber and natural antioxidants and other phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in apples may help prevent chronic diseases. Apples may help with weight maintenance or loss and blood glucose control, and may reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer.

On average, one medium apple with skin (3 inches in diameter) is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals for fewer than 100 calories. Be sure to eat the peel because it is a good source of fiber and disease-fighting natural antioxidants.

This handout provides recipes for preparing and preserving apples. See for more information.

Key to abbreviations
c. = cup
oz. = ounce
tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
g = gram
mg = milligram


apple nachos
NDSU Extension photo

Apple Peanut Butter Nachos

2 medium apples
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (or other nut butter)
2 tsp. honey
1½ Tbsp. semisweet dark chocolate chips
Shredded coconut (optional)

Slice apples and arrange on a serving dish or plate. Combine peanut butter and honey in a small bowl. Place in microwave for about 10 seconds (enough so that it can drizzle). Drizzle over apples. Top with chocolate chips.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g protein,
21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 30 mg sodium.


baked apples

Baked Apples

½ c. sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
6 medium-sized apples
2 Tbsp. melted margarine or butter
a c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon, mixing well. Partially core apples, leaving bottom end of apple cores in place. Dip apples in melted margarine or butter, then roll in sugar mixture. Place coated apples in shallow baking dish. Combine walnuts, if desired, and the remaining margarine and sugar mixture; spoon into centers of apples. Add water to just cover bottom of baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Makes six servings. Each serving has 198 calories, 8.3 g fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 32 mg sodium.


slow cooker applesauce
NDSU Extension photo

Slow Cooker Applesauce

4 large apples 
Juice from 1 lemon (about 4 Tbsp.)
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ c. water

Rinse, peel and core apples; cut into quarters. Add apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and water to a slow cooker; stir. Cover and cook on low four to six hours, until apples are very tender. Mash with the back of a fork or potato masher.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber and 0 mg sodium.

apple crisp

Microwave Apple Crisp

4 large apples, cored and sliced
½ c. butter (1 stick), melted
¾ c. brown sugar
¾ c. quick-cooking oats
½ c. all-purpose flour (or substitute whole-wheat flour)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Spread apples on an 8-inch square glass baking dish or glass pie plate. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar, oats, flour cinnamon and vanilla. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Cook on full power in the microwave for 10 to 12 minutes, until apples can be pierced with a knife.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 270 calories,
13 g fat, 3 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 95 mg sodium.


fruit salad

Crunchy Fruit Salad

1 red apple, unpeeled, cut into bite-size pieces 
2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (or 2 small cans mandarin oranges) 
½ c. sliced celery 
¼ c. raisins or dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ c. sunflower seeds (or chopped walnuts) 
Spinach or arugula (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 170 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate and 5 g fiber.

Freezing Apples

Apple slices – Select firm, crisp, full-flavored apples. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium apples into twelfths, large sizes into sixteenths. Pack in one of the following ways:

Sugar pack: To prevent darkening of apples during preparation, dissolve ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid (available with canning supplies in stores) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle over the fruit. To retard darkening, place slices in a single layer in steamer; steam 1½ to two minutes, depending on thickness of slices. Cool in cold water; drain. Over each quart (1¼ pounds) of apple slices, sprinkle evenly ½ cup sugar and stir. Pack apples into containers and press fruit down. Leave head space (room between the food and the cover to allow for expansion). Seal and freeze.

Unsweetened pack: Follow directions for sugar pack, omitting sugar.

Applesauce – Select full-flavored apples. Wash apples, peel if desired, core and slice. To each quart of apple slices, add 1 cup water; cook until tender. Puree and add ½ cup sugar, if desired, for each quart of hot puree, stirring until dissolved. Cool and package. Seal and freeze.


Funding for this publication was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXG028.

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