With back to school in full swing, it makes sense that September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month. The goal of this initiative is to encourage Americans to increase fruit & vegetable consumption to improve their health. It can be challenging to get as much as we need during hectic school weeks on the go.
There are many reasons to eat more fruits & veggies. They can be fun to eat, are low in calories and may help to reduce disease risk. They are chock-full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. And they can make really convenient, quick snacks. While fresh fruits and veggies are certainly the best option, these foods offer a nutritious option in all their different forms – canned, frozen, dried or juiced.
I first started making jam when I was an undergrad at Cornell University. I was interested in the local food movement and enjoyed weekly trips to the farmer’s market to bring home whatever foods were currently in season. I taught myself how to preserve so I could turn these seasonal foods into nutritious products that I could enjoy, with minimal preparation, throughout the whole year.
One of my favorite fall activities while living on the East Coast was apple picking. There’s nothing better than an apple picked fresh from the tree and I’d load up with as much as I could carry. Inevitably I’d have way more apples than I’d be able to eat and so I’d turn them into apple sauce. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I began making his favorite – apple butter. This smooth, spiced spread immediately brings me back to crisp fall days in an orchard and is a great way to enjoy local produce throughout the fall and winter.
If you are trying to increase the amount of fruit you are eating in celebration of More Matters Month or just looking for healthy quick snacks and meals during this busy time of year, consider my lower sugar jam as an option. Whether it’s swirled into your morning oatmeal, paired with almond butter and cracker for your kiddo’s lunch or slow-cooked with pork (see my recipe below), jam can help you sneak an extra serving of fruit into your day.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter Pork Chops
- 4 bone-in pork chops
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium apples, cored and sliced
- 1 cup Blue Owl Preserves Apple Butter
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1-1/2 T course ground mustard
- 1 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple butter, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Arrange the apples and onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place your pork chops on top and pour in the apple butter mixture.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve with sautéed greens and mashed sweet potatoes, or a side salad and pasta.
Did you try this recipe? Send us a pic on Instagram @blueowlpreserves!