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It’s Apple Season—Pick Your Favorites!

apple-torteOver half of the apples in the United States come from Washington state. We are so lucky to have so many varieties available, both heirloom varieties that have stood the test of time, and new hybrids that come on the market almost yearly.

Today you can find more than 20 types of apples in most local markets. Some apples are great for eating fresh, some are best for pies or baking, and others cook into the most wonderful applesauce. To help you enjoy all types of apples, I’ve included recipes for each below. You can also try mixing varieties to get the best of all worlds.

Apples ripen up to 10 times faster at room temperature than if refrigerated. For best storage, try keeping apples at 35–40 degrees in the refrigerator crisper drawer, or in a cool basement or garage if you have a whole box. For more healthy, low-sodium apple recipes, search under apples at

Fall Harvest Apple Sauce

Taste your apples first. If they are pleasantly sweet, they probably don’t need any sugar. If your mouth puckers when you take a bite, try adding sugar at the end of cooking.

1–3 pounds of apples

½ cup water

½–1 cup sugar, optional

½–1 teaspoon of cinnamon, optional

¼–½ teaspoon nutmeg, optional

1–2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional

Peel, core, and slice apples. Put in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add about ½ cup of water to keep them from sticking. Put on medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10–15 minutes, until bubbling hard. Turn the heat down to low and stir, cooking about 30 minutes more.

If you like smooth applesauce, wait until the apples are very soft and then stir hard until lumps are gone. If you like chunky applesauce, stir less, and take off stove sooner.

Keep tasting the applesauce because, as it thickens and condenses, it will get sweeter. If it’s too tart, now is the time to add sugar, brown sugar, or honey. If your apples taste bland, try adding lemon juice and/or cinnamon, a little at a time.

Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for about a week. You can also put into freezer containers. Cool first, then freeze to keep for one year.

Nutrition information (per half cup)

Calories: 62, Carbohydrates: 16 grams, Protein: 0 grams, Sodium: 1 milligram

Fall Apple and Rice Salad

2 tablespoons balsamic or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons brown or Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon orange peel, finely shredded

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups cooked rice (any kind), chilled

2 cups (about 2 medium) apples, chopped

1 cup celery, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds, shelled

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, orange peel, and garlic powder. Mix well and set aside. In a large bowl, combine rice, apples, celery, and sunflower seeds. Toss until well mixed. Drizzle the dressing over the rice salad mixture and toss until salad is well coated. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving)

Calories: 238, Carbohydrates: 42 grams, Protein: 4 grams, Sodium: 227 milligrams

Quick Baked Apples

2 firm fleshed apples (Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, Gala)

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

2 teaspoons butter (or margarine)

Core the apples. Cut a strip of peel around the top and the middle. Place the apples in a microwave-safe dish; a glass loaf pan works well. Mix the raisins, nuts, brown sugar, and orange zest together. Spoon the mixture into the apples, dividing evenly. Top with butter. Microwave on High for 15 minutes or until tender. Makes two servings.

Nutritional information (per serving)

Calories: 250, Carbohydrates: 42 grams, Protein: 2 grams, Sodium: 36 milligrams

Easy Apple and Cream Cheese Torte

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar, divided in 1/4 cups

1 cup flour

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3–4 medium tart apples, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon cinnamon or pie spice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and ¼ cup of sugar. Blend in flour and press into a spring form pan. Beat cream cheese, ¼ cup of sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Spread into the spring form pan.

Toss apples with remaining ¼ cup of sugar and cinnamon. Arrange apples in concentric rings over cheese filling. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 25–30 minutes until filling is firm and apples have softened. Makes10 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving)

Calories: 298, Carbohydrates; 36 grams, Protein;4 grams, Sodium 176 milligrams

Katy G. WilkensContributor Katy G. Wilkens recently retired as registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards for excellence in education and for significant contributions in renal nutrition. She has also been awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients.

Eating Well, Living Well classes

Studies show that working with a registered dietitian can delay kidney failure and postpone dialysis for longer than two years. FREE nutrition classes taught by Katy’s former team of registered dietitians are available at convenient times and locations around Puget Sound.

Eating Well, Living Well classes teach people how to eat healthier to slow the progress of kidney disease and postpone dialysis. Learn more at

Posted in Food