Health Benefits of Fall Favorites – Pumpkin & Apple



It seems most people have a favorite between these two fall produce staples.  Whichever you perfer, you have likely noticed that as the days grow shorter and cooler, apples and pumpkins are filling the bins at the grocery store and local farmers market.  Summer time in Washington means gorgeous gardens and TONS of berries. As fall approaches these jewel toned treasures disappear, I remind myself that each new season of produce brings with it new flavors and opportunities.  In fact, some of my favorite recipes actually include pumpkin and apple, so my taste buds get over their sadness quickly.


Most people opt for canned pumpkin, as it is fast and easy and is available year round. I completely agree that you can cook beautifully with canned pumpkin, but roasting a fresh pumpkin is also very easy. Besides, fresh roasted pumpkin changes the flavor of a recipe slightly.  Paula Deen’s tutorial below shows how to make homemade pumpkin puree. 

If you haven’t ever roasted a fresh pumpkin, I encourage you to try it at least once so you can test the difference in your favorite pumpkin recipe. Whether you choose canned pumpkin or roast your own, fall is a great excuse to get cooking with this beautiful orange treat.  


THIS pumpkin bread recipe from Erica over at Comfy Belly is my  all-time favorite gluten-free pumpkin recipe.  With the vitamin power of the pumpkin, protein from the almond flour, and added brain boosting benefits of walnuts if you toss those in, this is a satisfying fall recipe.  This Paleo pumpkin pie recipe from Elana’s Pantry is a close second favorite at my house. I love when I can find a dessert I can feel good about eating!  I am also a sucker for a batch of pumpkin pancakes, like this grain-free pumpkin pancake recipe from Detoxinista.


Not to be outdone, apples are complex fall treats.  They come in a variety of colors and textures from yellow, to green, to many shades of red.  Apples are loaded with fiber and antioxidants.  This tutorial from best has a history on many different varieties of apples, as well as great info on their flavor, best uses, and growing season. Going apple picking in the fall is always a highlight for our family.  We have apple trees in our yard, but our dog usually picks and eats any that are down low, so we often head out to a local no-spray farm to pick more.  We have a great tradition of bringing them home and peeling them together.  We roast the peels to make chips and then my husband cans apple sauce for the winter.


I am a believer of eating foods in their natural state as much as possible, and choosing whole natural foods as snacks over processed items.  Thus, my kids’ favorite apple treat is what we call apple nachos. I thinly slice an organic apple and arrange it on a plate. Then I place ¼ cup nut butter (I prefer almond butter) with 2 Tablespoons avocado oil into a dish and stir until well combined.  The nut butter is now thin enough to drizzle over the sliced apples. I will then drizzle a tiny bit of honey over the top of the apples and nut butter.  Sometimes I will make a homemade caramel topping from coconut milk and honey to drizzle on top instead.  My kids love these fall apple nachos loaded with brain healthy fats! My other favorite use of apple is as a replacement in some bread and muffin recipes. During the low-fat craze of the 90’s, many people began replacing oil with applesauce when baking.  I do not cook with canola or vegetable oil, but instead use brain healthy avocado oil, olive oil, and coconut oil.  I feel healthy fats are important for health, so I do not use apple sauce as a fat substitute in my recipes.  Instead, I replace the sweetener (sugar, honey or maple syrup) with applesauce in some bread and muffin recipes.  It takes some trial and error testing to know if a recipe will turn out the same or not. We call this “kitchen chemistry” in our house… as I am always experimenting in the kitchen.  Vitamix has a great tutorial  for using applesauce as a sugar substitute in baking.


I can already smell the pumpkin and cinnamon in my kitchen! Please jump on my social media and share your favorite of Apple or Pumpkin and any pics if you try one of my favorite recipes above.  

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