Fall for apples

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, August 31, 2017

by Jimmi Buell

September brings cooler weather and the thoughts of apples. I have fond childhood memories of living next door to an apple orchard. When fall came and the apples were plentiful, my cousins and I would sneak into Mr. Horton’s apple orchard and have a snack (I’m sure Mr. Horton knew we were there). We especially liked the apples that were not quite red, a little on the green side, with a tart flavor. These days we have many tart apples to choose from such as Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Pink Lady. 

Peak harvest of North Carolina’s apples is mid August through October. North Carolina is seventh in apple production. There are over 200 commercial apple operations comprised of 9,000 apple-bearing acres and up to four million bushels produced in a given year. The four major varieties, which make up the bulk of North Carolina’s production, are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Galas, although this is rapidly changing to new varieties, such as Honey Crisp.

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We have all heard, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away.” Why is that? Apples are rich in pectin. Pectin and mild acids found in apples help fight body toxins, aid digestion and pep up the whole system. Pectin has also been associated with helping to keep cholesterol levels in balance and is significant in helping to reduce the incidence of certain types of heart disease.

Apples have zero fat per serving and contain five grams of fiber per serving. Other studies have shown numerous health benefits including fewer headaches, a reduction of illnesses associated with nervous tension and reduced incidence of colds and other upper respiratory ailments.

With all the benefits of apples, I always try to add apples (and other fruits) to my dishes. One the favorite recipes of the Extension’s Men’s Cooking class is the Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Once you have one of these you will never go back to an ordinary grilled cheese. You could use any apple, but my favorite is the Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. The combination of the sweet/tart apple and the Havarti cheese, mmmhhh. Nothing like it! •

For more facts on North Carolina’s apples and recipes visit ncapplegrowers.com.

Jimmi Buell, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, Polk County Center of the NC Cooperative Extension Service, teaches cooking and nutrition classes with a focus on improving health with better food choices. She can be reached at jimmi_buell@ncsu.edu or

Grilled Apple Cheese Sandwich

Printed from Cooks.com


Raisin Bread

Cheese Slices (I use Havarti Cheese)

Apple, sliced thin, peeled or unpeeled (Pink Lady or Honey Crisp)

Butter or margarine


1. Peel (optional) and core apples. Slice thin.

2. Butter one side of raisin bread slices (2 per sandwich)

3. Place one slice, butter side on preheated griddle or skillet

4. Top with one slice cheese, then apple slices, second slice of cheese, and raisin bread with butter side up.

5.Grill on both sides until lightly browned and cheese melts.

6. Keep warm until read to serve.