Apples to Apples
By Jamie Fisher

"Up at the crack of dawn with my apple-picking basket in hand, I vividly remember running out to meet my grandfather under the old apple tree in his backyard. After filling my basket to the rim, I would proudly deliver my morning pickings to my grandmother who was always waiting by the door with her applesauce press in hand?"

Some of my most cherished childhood memories begin with a scenario similar to the one above. Aside from delicious applesauce, my grandparents were known countywide for their infamous homemade apple pies, dumplings, and cakes. What was their secret? According to my grandmother, the secret was simple-knowing how to pick the perfect apple.

Do you know which type of apple to choose? While there is little to no difference between apple varieties nutritionally, apple types can distinctively differ in terms of appearance, flavor, and texture. Consequently, it's important to know how to compare apples to apples before heading to your local farmer's market.

To this day, I find few things more satisfying than hearing that distinctive "crunch" that accompanies taking the first bite of a crisp, juicy apple. My enthusiasm for this historically "forbidden" fruit has not subdued, as apples are still one of my favorite fruits today. As a 20-something millennial, I now understand the truth behind the saying, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." As fresh food advocates, my grandparents' enthusiasm for growing fresh fruits and vegetables ultimately led me to find my passion for nutrition and career goal to become a Registered Dietitian.

While my fondness for apples may have stemmed from flavor, I now appreciate these fruits even more as I now know that they are just as nutritious as they are delicious! Apples are modest in calories and high in nutrients like fiber and vitamins. Based on research, these nutrients may help: lower bad cholesterol, maintain a healthy digestive tract, aid in managing a healthy weight, and support healthy energy processes.

Use the Locavores Guide To Apples chart below to pick the perfect apple for your lunch box vs. the most delectable apple for a southern apple pie!

A Locavores Guide To Apples
(within 150 mile radius of Nashville)

Apple Variety:
Best For?
Rich Red-Yellow-White Flesh

Sweet & Tangy
Super Crisp

Fresh Eating
Red Blush Stripe Over Yellow
-Creamy Flesh


Firm & Crisp
Yellowish-Green-White Flesh
Sweet-Very Refreshing

Super Crisp &
Shiny Red-Creamy Yellow Flesh
Mildly Sweet

Crisp & Juicy
Red & Green Striated-Yellow Flesh

Extra Crisp
Fresh Eating
Red With Green Patches- White Flesh
Sweet With Tart Tang

Red-White Flesh

Mildly tart

Very Firm
Rich Red-White Flesh
Crisp &Very Juicy
Apple Cider

Hungry for apples?

Enjoy these healthy, apple-licious recipes!

Baked Apples
Yield: 8, ½ cup, servings


3 pounds Rome apples (or another firm, baking apple) 1/4 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Peel the apples and slice 1/4 inch thick (approximately 9 cups of sliced apples total). Place the apples in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, and toss to coat well. Cover and cook until the apples are very tender and almost translucent, but not pureed, 2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 4 1/2 hours on low. Stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Nutrition Facts:

Per ½ cup serving: 98 calories; 0 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 4 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 168 mg potassium

Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce
Yield: 3 ½ cups


6 Macintosh apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 2 Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Combine apple pieces and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the apples are very soft and falling apart, about 30 minutes. Mash the apples to the desired consistency and stir in maple syrup and cinnamon.


Per ½ cup serving: 77 calories; 0 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 2 g fiber; 1 mg sodium; 127 mg potassium

Chicken & Spiced Apples
Yield: 6 servings


2 Braeburn apples, peeled and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/8 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


Toss apple slices with lemon juice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Keep warm. Mix 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a small saucepan to a 1/2-inch thickness. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the seasoning mixture. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter to the pan; heat over high heat. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner. Add broth, lemon zest, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon herbes and any accumulated juices from the chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with the sautéed apples.


Per Serving (1/6 of recipe): 191 calories; 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat , 2 g monounsaturated fat ); 72 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 1 g fiber; 292 mg sodium; 342 mg potassium

Jamie Fisher is originally from a small, rural town located in Northwest Ohio. She graduated in 2013 from Miami University (Ohio) earning a B.S. in Nutrition. Jamie is currently an intern at The Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt, and hopes to ultimately work as a Registered Dietitian to help children achieve optimal nutrition