As my friends and family know, I love random facts and trivia. I sometimes torture humor them on holidays with trivia about that specific holiday. For example, where are the most Thanksgiving turkeys raised? Answer: North Carolina.  

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So, with the start of fall this week, how about some apple facts? Did you know…

  • 40 varieties of apples are available in New England
  • Macintosh apples are the most commonly grown variety in the US
  • China produces more apples than the US (the US comes in #2)
  • An apple a day really does keep the doctor away (they are high in fiber, fat-free, a great source of vitamins A & C and have many cancer-fighting antioxidants)

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Last weekend, my friends and I hiked Mt. Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH then went apple picking. I’m not really a hiker but like to hike every now and then. It’s a great way to get out of the city and get some fresh air – nevermind that it’s great exercise. The entire hike took us about four hours roundtrip and the first half was a steep uphill climb. Mt. Monadnock is actually the #2 most hiked mountain in the world – after Mt. Fuji in Japan. I know, here we go with the facts again but how cool is that?! Hiking was a lot of fun but my legs were pretty sore for a few days afterwards – a good sore, of course.

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On the way back to Boston, we stopped to pick apples at Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard in Greenville, NH. (We had a fall-filled day as you can tell.) Apple picking is a great fall activity in New England…it’s fun, easy and usually means candy apples or cider is involved.  This was our first visit to the particular orchard and it was fairly small but very cute.

Despite the size, we still took a (2 minute) tractor ride to the apple trees. We learned that apple season wasn’t going very well so only Macintosh apples were available at the time. I was happy because I love Macs but it was a little disappointing not have other options. Hopefully the rest of their season gets better. While the variety was limited, the apples that were available were beautiful. Large and crunchy!

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Once we filled our bags, we headed back to the country store. A few of us had our eyes on the caramel apples so we had a little snack. After the exercise we did earlier, there was no guilt in enjoying the gooey treat. Check out the chocolate drizzle…

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Once I had my fill of caramel apple goodness, I had to decide what to do with 10 lbs. of apples. Eating them would take me about a month so I decided to make Cooking Light’s Maple Walnut Apple Crisp. Sounds great, right? Well, it was pretty awesome and easy to make, too. My basis for choosing a recipe was to create something reasonably healthy that used up a lot of apples. This recipe used nine apples and is only about 200 calories per serving. Plus, there’s at least a serving of fruit in each scoop, too.

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The flavor of this apple crisp is very classic and it smells great while in the oven. While it uses less butter and sugar than traditional apple crisp, the flavor doesn’t suffer. The texture, soft apples with sweet and crunchy topping, was perfect – especially because of the walnuts.

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What’s your favorite apple treat?