Eight Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Use Michigan Apples

We’re all familiar with apple pies, apple crisp and caramel apples, but an apple a day can be used so many ways! Michigan apples make delightful desserts and simple healthy snacks, but the options are endless when it comes to cooking with Michigan apples for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each apple variety has its own unique taste and texture that makes it perfectly suited for certain styles of preparation.

Whether you prefer Honeycrisp, Jonagold or Golden Delicious, check out this usage chart to find how to best prepare your favorite variety and try your hand at whipping up these out-of-the-ordinary apple recipes courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee. 

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Apple Turkey Wraps
Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups diced red Michigan Apples
1/2 cup low-fat lemon yogurt
4 flour tortillas, 8-inches in diameter
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
6 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey breast
2 ounces thinly sliced havarti cheese
2 cups clover sprouts

Combine Michigan Apples and yogurt. Set aside.

Warm tortillas according to package directions. Divide and arrange remaining ingredients evenly over tortillas. Place ¼ of Apple mixture down center of each tortilla. Fold 2 opposite sides in about 1 ½ – inches and roll. Cut each wrap in half and serve immediately. Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Empire, Gala, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Red Delicious or Rome.

Apple Pecan Burger
Ingredients:
1 cup shredded Michigan Apples
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 cup cold, cooked brown rice
3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
5 hamburger buns, optional
5 tomato slices, optional
Lettuce, optional
Vegetable cooking spray

Place apples and remaining ingredients in food processor bowl. Using metal blade, process about 30 seconds or until evenly chopped and thoroughly combined. Using 1/2 cup measure, portion and shape mixture into 5 patties. (Mixture will be soft.) Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake in 400 degree oven about 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Serve hot on bun with tomato and lettuce or with sweet and sour sauce, if desired. Note: Patties may be broiled 4-5 inches from heat, about 3 minutes per side or until deep golden brown. Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Empire, Gala, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, or Rome.

 

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Apple Nachos
Ingredients:
1 large Michigan Apple*, cut into 12 wedges
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Colby cheese
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar
Assorted crackers

Place apple wedges on microwave safe plate. Sprinkle cheese and cinnamon-sugar evenly over apples.Microwave on HIGH 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until cheese is melted and apples are hot. Scoop up the hot apple mixture with crackers. Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Ida Red, Rome, Empire, Gala, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh.

Apple Salsa
Ingredients:
2 medium red Michigan Apples
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup chopped orange segments
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 finely chopped jalapeno
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Yield: 3 cups.

Core and dice apples into 1/4 inch pieces. Toss immediately with lime juice. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill 2 hours before serving over fish, chicken or turkey. Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Empire, Gala, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Red Delicious, or Rome.

 

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Caramelized Apples and Cheese Quesadillas
Ingredients:
4 tsp. butter
1 medium unpeeled cored Golden Delicious or Gala apple, sliced
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 (6-inch) whole grain tortillas
2 slices reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream (optional)

Sauté apples in butter in skillet on medium heat 3-4 minutes or until apples are soft and lightly browned. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook 1-2 minutes on medium-low until sugar is dissolved. Overlap cheese slices on 1 of the tortillas. Top with apple mixture; cover with second tortilla.

Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Cook tortilla 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Cut into quarters and serve with sour cream.

Roasted Rome Feta Salad
Ingredients:
4 firm Michigan Rome Apples*, peeled and cut into sixths
2 tbsp. brown sugar
8 cups mixed greens
4 tbsp. thinly sliced green onions
2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:
2 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp.apple cider vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss apples with brown sugar. Spread in a single layer on prepared sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until apples begin to brown but are still firm enough to pick up with a fork. Remove and cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss greens and green onions together. Chill for 30 minutes. Shake dressing ingredients together in a small jar. Set aside. Just before serving, drizzle salad with dressing. Toss. Divide into four salad bowls. Divide bacon and cheese onto each. Arrange 6 apple slices on each. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings. Other suggested varieties: Empire, Jonagold, Fuji, Braeburn, Jonamac, McIntosh

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
Ingredients:
2 cups fresh apple cider
½ teaspoons cracked black pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt sprinkle of ground clove to taste
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
1 and ¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix together all ingredients (except oil) until sugar is dissolved.

 

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Apple Committee

Michigan Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients:
3 cups Michigan Jonagolds or your favorite Michigan Apple, cored and chopped
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed*
1 cup sweet onion, peeled and roughly diced
2 T. Michigan butter
1 T. grated ginger
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ cups Michigan Apple cider
3 to 4 cups of liquid (equal parts chicken stock and water), depending upon thickness of soup desired*
salt and pepper to season and taste

In large soup pot, add butter, squash, apples and onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes to soften onion.  Add 1 cup of water to help steam squash. Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash is soft. Blend mixture with a hand immersion blender or in a stand-alone blender or food processor. (If using blender or food processor, process in batches.) Return mixture to the soup pot, add nutmeg, ginger and apple cider and the remaining liquid for desired consistency. Salt and pepper to season and taste. Serve with a small daub of sour cream or Greek plain yogurt on top and with crusty bread. Enjoy!

*Chef notes: Roasting squash adds a wonderful layer of flavor. Try it. Place squash in oven-proof pan. Add 1-2 T. oil and 1 t. dried sage. Toss squash to coat. Place in 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. Encourage charring of the squash for extra flavor.If you want vegetarian soup, add equal parts water and cider to taste in place of chicken stock. May need extra seasoning and salt.

See more Michigan apple recipes on our Pinterest board.

Are you a master Michigan apple chef? Share your recipes with us below!

Get Your Fall Fix at These Michigan Cider Mills and Orchards

Whether your preference is tart and tangy, crisp and crunchy, or sweet and juicy, there’s  a Michigan apple variety to satisfy all taste buds. Many apple aficionados prefer Michigan Honeycrisp and Jonagold for their crisp bite and distinctive flavor, while Fuji and Gala are usually enjoyed fresh. Either way, you can’t go wrong by taking a bite into a Michigan apple this fall!

 So where will you take your first sip or bite this fall? Check out our roundup of all things apple.

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The Orchards – where U-Pick!

Westview Orchards and Adventure Farm is a 188-acre award- winning family farm and orchard. Located 45 minutes north of Detroit, the orchard features a Farm Market open 8-6 daily, June through December 24th, with homegrown fruits and fall vegetables, fresh bakery items, honey, apple cider, and more. The famous U-Pick open with cherries in late June through mid-July, peaches in early August through Labor Day, apples in late August through end of October, and pumpkins in late September through end of October. Make sure you don’t leave without picking up one of Westview’s signature “flips” or pies!

Take a fall trip to see the colors and make a stop at Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard. Miller’s U-Pick includes apples, pumpkins, raspberries and strawberries. The pies, breads, jams and jellies are made fresh from scratch with all home grown ingredients. Miller’s Big Red invites you and your family to let them show you what fall is all about in the orchard.

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Davey Robinson

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Davey Robinson

Crane Orchards and Corn Maze Today, aside from producing almost all of the fruit that the Pie Pantry needs for its fruit desserts and apple cider, Crane Orchards is one of the finest u-pick orchards in Michigan. With over 15 different varieties of apples, peaches and sweet cherries for the discriminating u-picker to choose from, the scenery is breath taking. When your basket is full, get lost in a 15-acre family-friendly Corn Maze! Hayrides are offered to visitors in the fall after a long day of u-picking and maze navigating.

At Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill in Armada, enjoy apple and pumpkin picking, train or hay rides, Barnyard Funland and animal farm, and cider & donuts on your visit to the country. You can even pick your own strawberries, asparagus, raspberries, pears and tomatoes. Blake’s also features dwarf fruit trees and thousands of Christmas trees mid November thru December 23rd!

Nestled in rolling hills dotted with farms, Alber’s Orchard and Cider Mill near Manchester has been in business since 1890. View an old fashioned cider press, enjoy the freshest ice cold cider around.

The Cider Mills

The Historic Dexter Cider Mill near Ann Arbor is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in Michigan. Today, the cider mill keeps its more than 120-year old cider making tradition by using an oak rack press and blending three to five different locally grown apple varieties in every pressing.

The Franklin Cider Mill opened in 1832 and has been serving hungry, and thirsty, customers since. The mill happy sells many fresh products, including fresh-pressed cider, hot donuts, freshly baked pies and caramel and candy apples made at the mill. Franklin also offers some of the tastiest smoked been and cheese varieties around!

YatesMill

Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills has been water-powered since 1863, and presses 300 gallons of fresh blended apple cider per hour. Visitors can also indulge in fresh donuts, apple pies, fudge, apple crisp, jams, and more.  including freshly pressed cider, hot donuts, freshly baked pies and caramel and candy apples made on at the mill. Franklin also offers smoked beef and many varieties of cheese.

Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill specializes in fresh apple cider, donuts and caramel apples. The mill also has a winery available for wine tasting.

During a visit to Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s, visit the bakery and enjoy fresh baked pies, breads, cookies and pastries. Before you leave, check out the gift shop and sample some wines in the tasting room. Finally, take a leisurely stroll through 1.5 mile scenic groomed nature trail.

Vander Mill is a cider mill and winery that serves the greater West Michigan area. The winery specializes in hard Ciders and apple wines, and is an active participant in  local farmers markets offering fresh cider, hot cider, fresh donuts, fresh baked pies, homemade fudge, homemade cinnamon roasted almonds, and Michigan preserves, salsas and sauces.

These are just a few of the many orchards and cider mills in Michigan. Do you have a favorite to add to the list? 

Michigan Apple Fun Facts

Think Michigan apples and cider are merely tasty fall treats? Think again! See what these fantastic fruits mean to the state’s economy…and your health!

 There are more than 9.2 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 36,500 acres on 850 family-run farms in Michigan.

Michigan apples are available August through June each year, thanks to atmosphere-controlled storage.

In 2013, Michigan harvested an estimated 30 million bushels (1.26 billion pounds) of apples.

The Michigan Honeycrisp’s popularity makes it hard for apples growers to keep up with demand.

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Michigan slices more apples than any other state for use in pies and fresh cut slices and also processes apples into applesauce, fresh and shelf-stable apple cider and apple juice.

There are five regions in the state of Michigan related to apple orchard tours. These regions are: northwest, southeast, central west, central east and southwest.

Michigan apples offer a variety of benefits that contribute to a healthy diet. These benefits include reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke, cancer and heart disease.

On average, Michigan apples only contain 80 calories.

Learn more about Michigan apples in the video below.

Now that you know Michigan apples are both delicious and a huge part of the state’s agriculture, where will you go first?

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town: Unique Upper Peninsula Day Trips

Fresh air, fresh water and fresh memories are what Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is all about. If you’re a native Yooper, you know all of the beauty and uniqueness the U.P. has to offer. If you’ve ever been curious what north-of-the-mitten is all about, here’s a roundup of some in-state adventure every Michigander should have on their bucket list.

Are you hungry? Either way, you will be after hearing about - the food.

The U.P. boasts some of the best culinary hidden gems that Michigan has to offer, and we wanted to have a taste for ourselves. Here are just a few of the many unique eateries you can find in the Upper Peninsula:

The Ambassador
On January 1, 1965, the Ambassador Restaurant opened under new ownership. The new owners, the Rossi family, had transformed the space from a tap bar into a restaurant that specialized in pizza and sandwiches. In 1978, the Ambassador was expanded into the space next door, and the second dining room was added. To explain the history of the Ambassador and the unique murals that line the interior walls, the owners conducted research and wrote a poem detailing the story. The poem, entitled “Come Fill a Bumper,” has since been printed on the cover of the Ambassador menu.

The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub 
Library and Brew PubThe Library is not your ordinary restaurant. They don’t worship the frozen or torture it in frying oil until it’s crispy. They cherish fresh ingredients and never take them for granted. The Library’s goal is simply for you to “Taste Something Great” in every entrée, every salad, every appetizer. This U.P. experience mixes traditional foods with unique flair and twists. The award-winning microbrew is the favorite of many, and premier drinks, wines and beverages bring it all together with a smile.

Kaleva Café
In 1891, Daniel T. Pearce opened a small saloon. The latest offered a warm retreat for hard working miners to gather over a welcomed spot of ale and to exchange tales. Eventually the business exchanged hands, becoming known as John’s Saloon. The new owner proudly promised his guest the “best brands of wine and liquor always on hand”. In 1918, Henry Moilanen took over at 234 Quincy with the idea of opening a restaurant. However, he needed a name. A contest was held and the name “Kaleva” was chosen, a direct take-off from the “Kalevala” national Finnish epic poem. In May 2006, Frank and Sandra Beauchamp reopened the Kaleva Cafe after an extensive renovation. They strive to carry on the Kaleva tradition of good home-cooked food in a friendly atmosphere.

Jampot Bakery
The Jampot bakery is a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine rite, under the jurisdiction of The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago, and belonging to the Ukrainian Metropoly in the United States of America, which is in union with the Pope of Rome, supreme pastor of the universal Church. They embrace traditions of the Christian East while making delicious confections, cakes and preserves year round. In our skete at Jacob’s Falls, on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, we devote ourselves to a common life of prayer and work for the praise, love, and service of God and for the upbuilding of His Kingdom through the Arts.

The Mariner North
MarinerThe Mariner North holds a very large place as the hospitality center in the history of Copper Harbor. First established in the1920′s, it was called the Pontiac and was a thriving Inn / Restaurant / Bar as Copper Harbor launched its tourism era into a summer resort community with the shuttle service on the Copper Queen to Isle Royale National Park and the establishment of Fort Wilkins State Park. Over 40 years later, it changed hands and became known as the Keweenaw Inn North. The fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the draw of Lake Superior made Copper Harbor a natural escape from the city confines. In 1977 The Keweenaw Inn again changed hands and renamed it “The Mariner North”. The early days of The Mariner involved the development of the snowmobile program to assist Copper Harbor in its goal as a year round tourism destination area.

Harbor Haus Restaurant
Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question at the Harbor Haus is “Can we have a table with a view?” Fortunately, that’s an easy request to fill as it’s situated right on the shore of Lake Superior. Through the large picture windows, each guest has a beautiful harbor view expanding onto the big lake. While dining, it’s not uncommon to see ore freighters in transit or small marine traffic and kayakers taking in the beautiful surroundings. All of this is framed by a patio adorned with flowers and trees, providing a German/Austrian flavor. The Harbor Haus offers a vast dining menu featuring fresh local fish, seafood, steaks and many more items, as well as Ahi flown in from Hawaii the day after it was “swimming.” Local berries and vegetables are utilized in the dishes when available.

Jamesen’s Fish Market
At Jamsen’s Fish Market and Bakery, freshly baked goods are highlighted through the use of local ingredients when possible.  The market offers fresh and smoked Lake Superior Trout and Whitefish.  Stop in for a great cup of coffee, as well!

Laurium Manor Inn
Laurium Manor Inn has been restored into an historic mansion hotel that has been welcoming guests since 1989. This mansion has 10 guestroom with private baths in its 13,000 square feet on four floors. A parlor, library, den, dining room, and third floor ballroom are all open for our guests to use and enjoy. Victorian Hall was purchased and restored into a bead & breakfast in 1993. Within its 7,000 square feet is eight guestrooms, each with its own private bathroom. The first floor library, music parlor and dining room are always open for visiting guests.

Paul’s Superior View Restaurant
Paul’s Superior View is committed to providing the best dining experience around. Paul’s menu features an eclectic mix of traditional favorites that is sure to satisfy any craving. Stop in & check out their nightly features, including: Friday Fish Fry & Saturday Angus Prime Rib. Pair your dinner with one of the daily drink specials in Porky’s Pub.

Joey’s Seafood & Grill
Joey’s is famous throughout the Copper Country and the Midwest, as well as the rest of the world, for their seafood… but the spectacular seafood is just the beginning! The menu includes steaks, chicken, Baby Back ribs, steak burgers, pasta, tacos and quesadillas. Joey’s is a must for all seafood lovers visiting the U.P.

Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant
The Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant has become a Houghton staple. The famous Finnish French Toast is known throughout the state and Midwest as a taste explosion for the mouth. Get it with fresh fruit and you’ll melt in your chair. Enjoy Suomi’s small town ambiance and see for yourself why Suomi has been doing breakfast successfully for many, many years.

Roy’s Pasties & Bakery
RoysRoy’s moved to their current location on Houghton’s waterfront in October of 2013 and never looked back.  They’d love for youto stop by, have a cup of coffee and a Danish, maybe some soup or a sandwich, enjoy the free Wi-Fi and be their guest!

Of course, filling your stomach isn’t the only thing to do in the U.P. When you’re looking to have an adventure in Michigan’s north, consider these thrilling and unique trips and tours.

Quincy Mine Tour
rideintomineThe Quincy Mine Tour offers three unique tours for all visitors: Surface Tour only, Surface Tour with Tram Ride, and Full Tour.All tours include a visit to our museum, a video-tour of the No. 2 Shaft-Rock House and a guided tour of the enormous and complex Nordberg steam-powered hoist engine and the building it is in. On the Full Tour, you will take a ride on the cog-rail tram car down the hill to the mine entrance and then ride by tractor-pulled wagon into the mine, seven levels underground. For a family friendly adventure, check out the Quincy Mine.

Adventure Mining Company Copper Mine Tour
While visiting the Copper Country, you’re invited to experience the best in underground mine tours: a tour through the historic Adventure Copper Mine. Walk through part or all of the tunnels on the first level or try your hand at rappelling with a rope and harness to the second level of the mine…the choice is yours! Whatever your vacation plans in the U.P. may be, be sure they include a stop by the Adventure Mining Company to boldly go where no underground mine tour has gone before!

Sea Kayaking  and Mountain Biking with the Keweenaw Adventure Company
Originally founded in 1843 during the great copper boom of the 1800’s, Copper Harbor has long held a maritime significance as the largest natural harbor in the northern Keweenaw Peninsula where ships have taken refuge from Lake Superior’s furious storms. Today the same crystal clear waters allow paddlers to see to depths of nearly 20 feet below, including sights of rocky shoals, reefs and even the remnants of several shipwrecks.  The Keweenaw is home to some of the oldest exposed rock in the world and was originally formed by ancient volcanoes.

KeweenawCoInitially receiving an IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) “Epic Ride” recognition in 2009, the Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trails were designated as an IMBA  ( “Bronze Level” Ride Center in October of 2011.  This designation was trumped in 2012 with that of an IMBA “Silver Level” Ride Center, which currently ranks these trails among the top five in the world!   Points were scored on a variety and quality of gateway, cross-country, flow and gravity trails, in addition to being considered as a mountain bike friendly community, complete with a bike shop and a brew pub!

Copper Harbor Lighthouse Boat Tour
Whether traveler or Keweenaw resident, don’t miss a tour of the Copper Harbor Lighthouse.  This single tour encompasses a total lighthouse experience, including a ride in a boat similar to an early 20th century lighthouse launch.  Because lighthouses are built in treacherous waters, it took a versatile boat to ferry supplies to lightkeepers and their families.  The time-proven “double-ender” hull design and dimensions of the launch are identical to the early wooden boats of the United States Lighthouse Service which tended to the needs of the lightkeepers of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  You will arrive at Hayes Point just as the lightkeepers did over 150 years before you.

Porcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds
Surrounded by the silhouettes of the ancient Porcupine Mountains, the Lake of the Clouds is a blue gem amid the thick forests. The Lake of the Clouds is perhaps the most photographed feature in the Porcupine Mountains region. No matter what the season, it is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. The Lake of the Clouds Scenic Area is located in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum 
MineralsLet’s be crystal-clear: the Seaman Mineral Museum is handsome, classy, and suitable—a fortune that houses a fortune. A hundred people gathered on a hot afternoon, across from the ATDC, and attested to a milestone more than a century in the making: a permanent home for the official Mineral Museum of Michigan. Appropriately, for a museum noted for its copper collection, the structure sits on an old mine shaft and the parking lot sits over a stope.

Do you know of any other unique eats or attractions in the Upper Peninsula? Tell us!