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I used to love to order fried apples as a side for my meal at restaurants. They were so delicious, so sweet and spicy, and even healthy too, right, since they were apples?
When I started eating real food, I realized just how unhealthy those fried apples actually were.
I just looked up the nutritional facts for a side order of fried apples from one of the restaurants I used to order them at (I won’t mention any names, of course, so as not to implicate the guilty party….), and I was pretty shocked. The ingredients list actually wasn’t as bad as most of the other side items, even some of the “healthier” sounding vegetable ones that included partially- hydrogenated oils, among other atrocities.
The apples still had plenty of questionable ingredients, though, like refined sugars, soybean oil (GMOs!) and cornstarch (more GMOs!) and “spice” – which could be cinnamon and nutmeg, but could also potentially be code for “who knows what chemicals and other artificial flavor enhancers.”
What really surprised me, though, was the amount of sugar in this little serving of apples. 49 grams. 49!
Now, I’m not a sugar hater at all. I don’t believe that sugar is evil, especially natural sugars like maple syrup and honey eaten in reasonable amounts as part of a balanced diet. But, 49 grams is a lot of sugar for a side dish, especially one as innocent-sounding as apples.
The amount of sugar in those apples could maybe be an occasional splurge for dessert on a special occasion or a holiday, but for a side dish?! When I used to get them as a side to go with my meal, I would have a dessert too after my meal. Might as well just sit down with the sugar bowl and empty it out by the spoonful!
Thankfully there’s a way to get the same amazing spiced fried apple taste without the massive sugar high – making homemade healthy fried apples. I did this the other night as a quick evening dessert, and they tasted amazing.
They’re also really quick to make. It took me less then 10 minutes to go from this….
The recipe for these apples is so simple, it hardly even classifies as a recipe, but here’s what I did to make them:
Homemade Fried Apples
- Peel an apple and slice it. I use just one apple if I’m making a single serving, but if you’re making this for a group you can just increase the number of apples. I like to use Cortland or Macintosh apples, but any kind would work well.
- Melt butter in a saucepan or a cast iron skillet on medium heat. I usually use the cast iron skillet if I’m making a larger batch, but if I’m in a hurry, the saucepan usually heats up faster. If I’m going to use the cast iron pan, I usually pre-heat it on the stove-top first since it takes longer to heat up.
- Add the apples to the pan, stirring them around to coat them in the melted butter. Let them cook for about five minutes, stirring to make sure they don’t stick or burn.
- Add any autumn spices you like – cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, cloves, ginger, cardamom – and a sprinkle or drizzle of your favorite natural sweetener – honey, maple syrup, molasses, whole cane sugar – they’re all equally delicious.
- Let the apples cook for a couple more minutes until all of the ingredients have caramelized together and the apples are soft. Then serve them up and enjoy!
I like to experiment with different flavor combinations. These are some of the ways I’ve tried this recipe:
- Whole cane sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg
- Maple syrup with allspice and cloves
- Maple syrup with cinnamon and cardamom and a bit of orange peel
- Molasses with mace and nutmeg
- Honey with ginger and a bit of lemon peel or lemon juice
(Note: I like to use organic Grade B maple syrup because it has a stronger maple flavor)
You can even omit the sweetener if you want and just enjoy the warm, buttery, spicy goodness of the apples themselves.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.