Michigan Apple Committee Official Blog

This month, “The Lemon Bowl” is filled with Michigan apples!


Slow-Cooker-Ginger-Spiced-Apple-Butter-The-Lemon-BowlLiz Della Croce, author of The Lemon Bowl, creates a healthy recipe with Michigan Apples.

Ginger spiced apple butter is made by slowly cooking apples until they caramelize and turn a beautiful, deep brown color. Naturally sweetened with no sugar added, spread on pancakes, stir into oatmeal or serve on toast.

If you followed me on any form of social media last year between the months of May and October you probably noticed that I am mildly obsessed with Michigan grown produce.

Between farmers markets, u-pick orchards and various farm stands, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were pretty much filled to the brim with gorgeous, vibrant Michigan grown fruits and vegetables. #SorryImNotSorry


Needless to say, when winter arrives and the ground freezes over, I go into a bit of fresh produce withdrawal. When Michigan Apples surprised me with a giant shipment of Jonagolds, I was beaming from ear to ear. Fresh, crispy, juicy and slightly tart, these apples brought me right back to our apple picking adventures last fall.Apple-Orchard-The-Lemon-Bowl

Since it would take us months to go through the amount of apples they sent us, I decided to whip up a 10 minute bath of Slow Cooker Sugar Free Apple Butter. Yes, SUGAR FREE! The fact is, when you are working with fresh produce you don’t have to add a lot to make it taste delicious. And although I admittedly don’t have a huge sweet tooth, my husband and son devoured this apple butter so I know it passes the sweet tooth test.

You can eat it plain like applesauce but it tastes great spread on pancakes, added to sweeten smoothies or dolloped on top of Greek yogurt. The options are endless.

Your fork is waiting.

Slow Cooker Ginger Spiced Apple Butter {No Sugar Added}

Author: Liz Della Croce | The Lemon Bowl
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ginger spiced apple butter is made by slowly cooking apples until they caramelize and turn a beautiful, deep brown color. Naturally sweetened with no sugar added, spread on pancakes, stir into oatmeal or serve on toast.

  • 8 large apples – thinly sliced (leave the skin!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on Low for 8 hours.
  2. Using a handheld immersion blender, gently puree the apples until you reach desired apple butter consistency.
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: ¼ cup
  • Calories: 44
  • Fat: .3 g
  • Saturated fat: .1 g
  • Unsaturated fat: .2 g
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 11.3 g
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 0
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Protein: .2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0


Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog.  Since 2010, Liz has been creating delicious recipes using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality. Liz has appeared live on the TODAY Show and tapes regular cooking segments for her local NBC affiliate station. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband and two sons.

Megan’s Making Broccoli Apple Salad!


Guest post from Megan of “What Megan’s Making

_MG_6885I have got a treat for you today! This broccoli and apple salad is both healthy and delicious.  When the wonderful people at Michigan Apples asked me to make a healthy apple recipe, this broccoli salad immediately came to mind. I made this salad a few weeks ago, thinking it would be a good thing to keep on hand for a few days to encourage me to eat my vegetables. I love nice crunchy salads that are chock full of delicious add-ins, and this salad is no exception. I couldn’t stop eating it!  I actually didn’t think Mike liked broccoli salad so I was planning on this being all for me. Imagine my disappointment once I realized he loved it as well.  

I’ve never put apples in my broccoli salad before, but you can bet I will from now on. They were the perfect addition.  Crunchy and sweet, they contrasted nicely with the crispy broccoli and tangy dressing.  Plus, they added a nice boost of nutrients and I was able to eat my fruits as well as my vegetables. :) I also threw in some sliced almonds and dried cranberries, but you can play around with this recipe and add in whatever you want. I used plain whole milk yogurt in the dressing, which kept the dressing nice and light, but if you want your dressing a little thicker you may want to try plain Greek yogurt instead. Any way you make it, this broccoli apple salad recipe is a keeper!


Broccoli Apple Salad
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 medium red apple (suggested: Michigan Jonagold), cut into thin slices
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 large red onion, diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine the broccoli, apple, cranberries, onion and almonds in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

*Note: You may not need all of the dressing. Start with about 3/4 of the dressing, taste, and go from there.

*Recipe adapted from Taste Love and Nourish


A Pennsylvania native, Megan, her husband Mike and their son live in the Grand Rapids area. She blogs about cooking and baking at www.WhatMegansMaking.com and isn’t shy about her love for Michigan apples!


Megan’s Making a Festive Holiday Salad


Hello, I’m Megan from What Megan’s Making and I’m so glad to be sharing a holiday apple recipe with you! I love cooking and baking with apples around the holidays, and it’s usually something decadent and sugary! This time, however, I thought I’d do something a little different and give you an apple recipe for something fresh and healthy.

I made this apple, goat cheese and walnut salad for Thanksgiving, and it was such a big hit that I think I’ll make it again for Christmas! With the apples, dried cherries, and cranberry vinaigrette, it’s very seasonably appropriate, and yet it tastes nice and light. The salad is full of flavor, and it’s certainly a nice change from some of the more unhealthy things we like to eat this time of year.  I like to serve the dressing on the side, and feel free to change up some of the ingredients to suit your tastes. I love dried cherries, but dried cranberries would be great as well, and blue cheese makes a great substitute for the goat cheese.  Enjoy!

Apple, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette


8 cups torn mixed salad greens

2 medium red apples diced

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

¼ cup sliced green onions


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp cranberry juice concentrate

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Dash of salt and pepper

In a salad bowl, toss together the salad ingredients.  To make the dressing, place the ingredients in a container that seals well, and shake to combine. Serve the dressing alongside the salad.

*Note:  I’d rather have too much dressing than not enough, so I usually double the dressing recipe when making this salad.

A Pennsylvania native, Megan lives with her husband Mike in the Grand Rapids area. She blogs about cooking and baking at www.WhatMegansMaking.com and isn’t shy about her love for Michigan apples!

What is Megan Making with Michigan Apples?


A Grand Rapids Food Blogger Shares Her Love for Michigan Apples

This time of year, there’s nothing better than the aroma of cinnamon and apples coming from your oven.  Whether it’s apple pie, apple cake, apple muffins, or applesauce, there’s just something about cooking with apples that makes it feel like Fall. Of course, here in Michigan, we are blessed with fresh apples and it doesn’t seem like the Fall season has officially started until we make that first trip to the apple orchard.

Megan's applesauce

Megan's slow cooker applesauce

I moved to Michigan four years ago, and the abundance of fresh-picked apples collided with my love of baking. Each year I plan a trip to go apple picking with friends and then spend the majority of the next few weeks making every apple recipe under the sun.   My favorites are the recipes that showcase the bright, clear flavor of the apples, the ones where the apples are the true star.  I’ve actually got a whole recipe category on my site dedicated to apple recipes! One of the most popular is slow cooker applesauce – an easy applesauce recipe where the crockpot does all the work.  I love to change up the types of apples I use, which causes every batch to taste just a little bit different.

However, I discovered one of my favorite things about the Michigan apple community on the Michigan Apples website. Of course they’ve got some great information on the apple crop in Michigan, and wonderful recipe ideas, but my favorite part is the section about the apple growers. It gives me such a sense of community to read about these local families who grow the apples that we love so much.  The owners of a local orchard even shared some of their favorite recipes with me, and that personal connection makes the end result taste that much better.

A Pennsylvania native, Megan lives with her husband Mike in the Grand Rapids area. She blogs about cooking and baking at www.WhatMegansMaking.com and isn’t shy about her love for Michigan apples!

Meet the Michigan Apple Interns


Michelle (left) and Ashlee (right)

The Michigan Apple Committee had two new interns start with our organization this fall.  Ashlee & Michelle both attend Michigan State University and before they start blogging we thought it would be great to get to know them.  Here are their interviews with each other…

Describe yourself in three words.

  • Ashlee- Friendly, Personable, driven
  • Michelle- Motivated, happy and easy-going

What is the best thing about the autumn season?

  • Ashlee-I love Halloween because I have fun crafting my costume, getting dressed up and spending time with my friends.
  • Michelle-I love when the leaves change, the weather starts to cool down and it is time for apple season

read more »

Fall’s Changes – Part 2


Written by Jim Parker
Michigan Apple Fan and Cider Enthusiast

Previously I wrote here on the Michigan Apple website that the fall season brings many changes into our daily lives. Some are a repeat of previous year’s changes. I also stated that now there are some new ones taking place, and from a personal standpoint, these new changes make me happy that we are witnessing them. Most certainly we are in awe of the glorious beauty of the changing leaves and we appreciate dawn being a little earlier. With that opportunity to enjoy the earlier daylight and while traveling the many side roads that take us on our annual trips to our favorite cider mills and apple orchards (and you love animals like I do) you may be lucky enough to witness the beauty of nature with the animal’s scurrying around getting ready for fall and winter themselves. As for those apples and that sweet cider I don’t think you can beat the taste of a crisp Michigan apple washed down by the nectar from them Michigan apple cider. One of the reasons I think it’s easier to do all of this is because the kids and grandkids are now back in school and even though we’re still busy, I feel our daily pace seems to be a little less hectic. That affords us the extra energy to really enjoy the time when we are with the kids. But there is another change that is happening more and more right now and it makes me once again feel delighted that we are witnessing it.

read more »

Adventures of a First Runner Up – by Jessica Zelenock


JessieHello Everyone…this is Jessica Zelenock, 1st Runner-up to the Michigan Apple Queen.

read more »

Michigan Apple Queen Attends the National Cherry Festival


img_0350.JPGLast weekend was the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. read more »

Tulip Time and Frankenmuth Parades


frankenmouth_mackinaw_island_152Parade season has begun and Jessica and I have been busy traveling around the state.

In May we attended the Tulip Time parade in Holland. Being a Hope College student, it was especially fun to have a parade on my home turf. Throughout the parade I heard shouts from my classmates, professors and friends. Despite the windy weather, the float held up well through the parade and we took home the award for the best designed float. read more »

Michigan Film Office seeks agricultural properties


Michiganders know that there is some of the most beautiful landscape in the country located right here in their own backyards. read more »