September is pretty much the one time of year apples are exciting. Apples are the second most consumed fruit in the United States, and in my opinion, they can be pretty boring….except during autumn. When summer comes to a close I, all of a sudden, have a craving for all things apple.
Last weekend I went apple picking and had apples for days. I got a little sick of just eating them, so I came up with lots of different ways to consume this quintessential fall fruit – including a simple crock pot apple butter recipe.
10 Ways to Eat Apples
- Bake with them (such as this Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby recipe or this Apple Spice Muffin recipe).
- Chop them up and throw them in a salad. I like leafy greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped apples, and a little parmesan cheese.
- Make an apple and cheese appetizer or snack. Simply core the apples, slice them into thick rounds, top them with a nice nutty cheese, spread them out on a baking sheet lined with foil and stick in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
- Add them to your favorite chicken salad recipe.
- Take “pork chops and applesauce” to a new level by roasting pork tenderloin on a bed of apples and sweet onions.
- Baked Apples – Core a few apples and fill each with a mixture of oats, a little brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake in a 350 degree oven until tender (about 20 minutes). Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have little apple pies without the crust.
- Make apple chips – Slice the apples thin, spread them out on a baking sheet, and bake at a very low temperature (around 150 degrees) for about an hour. Check the apples after 45 minutes. If your slices are super thin, they will dry relatively fast.
- Dip apple slices in nutella or a peanut butter for a sweet (and a little bit healthy) snack.
- Make an apple cinnamon smoothie for breakfast. Blend together one diced apple, 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/4 cup apple cider, and a few pieces of ice. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon before drinking.
- Make my crockpot apple butter recipe (below).
Crockpot Apple Butter
Chop up about two pounds of apples (leave the peel on but remove and discard the core).
Rinse the apple pieces and toss in the slow cooker. Cover the apples with 2-3 tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of nutmeg, three teaspoons of cinnamon, the zest from one lemon, and 1/3 cup of water. Stir all together, set the crockpot on low, and cook for about five hours.
Depending on how large or small you chopped your apples, it might take more or less time. Check here and there and give the mixture a stir so it doesn’t scorch.
Once the apples are cooked and cooled, dump the mixture into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If you prefer lots of texture, skip this step.
Store the apple butter in airtight containers in the refrigerator for a few weeks.