Healthy stewed apples are so easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a healthy dessert or breakfast. Cooking fruit brings out the natural sweetness, so there's no need for added sugar. Stewed apples are also good for your digestion.
Why are stewed apples healthy?
Of course, apples are naturally good for our health, whether raw or cooked. They are rich in fibre, and contain a particular type of soluble fibre called pectin which helps to feed friendly gut bacteria. Apples are also a good source of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. (You can read more about the health benefits of apples here.)
Heat can lower the levels of some vitamins in cooked food. But if you leave the skins on the apples, you'll greatly improve the levels of fibre and antioxidants.
Healthy stewed apples are made without sugar. You'll find most varieties of dessert apples are naturally sweet enough, and a little cinnamon will help to sweeten them further.
Apples. I'd recommend using dessert rather than cooking apples for this recipe. Dessert apples will keep some of their texture, and they are also slightly sweeter. All varieties of dessert apple will work well, so use whatever you prefer. An apple with a little red on the skin looks good if you leaving the apples unpeeled, and is often a little sweeter.
Cinnamon. This is totally optional, but cinnamon is a perfect pairing with apple. It adds a lovely rich sweet flavour. Cinnamon also adds health benefits, and can help to stabilise blood sugar levels. You can use either cinnamon powder, or half a cinnamon stick. If you prefer you could also add other sweet spices such as ginger, cloves or allspice instead of cinnamon.
How to make perfect stewed apples
First prep the apples. I prefer not to peel the apples, as they retain more of their natural goodness, and the skin adds a little colour.
It's quicker and easier to cut the apple off the core than vice versa. Using a sharp knife, cut the apple through, just to the side of the core.
Then repeat on the other 3 sides. Cut the apple into even sized cubes so that it cooks through evenly.
Add the diced apple to a pan along with 2 tablespoons of water and the cinnamon if using. Cover the pan, then place on a low heat and bring up to a gentle simmer. Then cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the apples are tender but still retain some of their shape. Different varieties may need a slightly different length of cooking time. Keep an eye on them, and if necessary add a splash more water to ensure that the apples don't burn on the bottom of the pan.
Serving and storage
Healthy stewed apples make an ideal topping for many breakfast dishes. Waffles, pancakes and porridge all taste good with a dollop of cooked apple. Or serve the apple with yogurt and some low sugar granola for added crunch. Of course, all of these options are also delicious as dessert:)
You can store stewed apples in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. They also freeze well.
Frequently asked questions
Stewed apples are high in fibre and a good source of antioxidants. Apples are rich in a particular type of soluble fibre called pectin which is good for digestive health.
Yes. Eating or dessert apples are ideal as they are naturally sweeter, and will retain some texture. Cooking apples cook down to a mush, so are more suited to a smooth apple puree.
No. You'll retain more of the natural goodness if you leave the apples unpeeled. The peels will soften as they cook. Of course, if you are cooking for babies or very young children, you might prefer to remove them.
Stewed apples is an ideal recipe for using up an excess of apples. However, if you have a very large batch of apples that you want to cook, you might find it easier to use this slow cooker applesauce recipe.
Other stewed fruit recipes
Healthy Stewed Apple
- 4 dessert apples any variety
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional, or use another sweet spice
- 2 tablespoon water
- Cut the apples into even size cubes, approximately 1cm square. (If you prefer you can peel the apples first, but I prefer not to)
- Add the apples, spice and water to a lidded pan. Bring to a simmer over a low heat.
- Simmer the apples gently for around 20 minutes. If necessary, add a splash more water to ensure they don't burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Check the apples to see if they are cooked. They should be tender to the point of a knife but just holding their shape.