Did you know that despite the fact that apple pie is classic Americana, the origins of apple pie are not American at all. In fact, neither is the origin of apples.

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The only apples native to America are actually the notoriously sour crab-apples, which were obviously unsuitable for pie-making purposes. They were, however, quite useful for hard cider making, which is why the famous Johnny Appleseed took so much interest in planting them. He didn't really want to nourish us, just to get us all drunk!

Sweet apples are actually native to Asia, and made their way to us gradually via European settlers. Actually, no typical apple pie ingredients are native to America; sugar comes from Indonesia, India, and China; wheat originated in the middle east; cinnamon hails from Sri Lanka; and dairy-producing animals had to be brought over by Columbus!

Americans weren't the first to put apples into pie either; the first known apple pie recipe was actually printed in 1381 England by famous novelist Geoffrey Chaucer, though it was much different from the apple pie we now know.

The Dutch variation added apple pie's signature lattice pattern to the mix, and the French, Italian, and Germans all had versions of apple pie far before the USA did!

It wasn't until the late 1600s, when European honeybees were brought over to ensure pollination, that imported apples became a permanent fixture on American soil. Since sugar was also becoming cheaper, both foods were exciting novelties to the American people, and the dish took off!

By the Civil War, there were reports of soldiers scavenging for apples and commandeering bins of flour to make their beloved apple pie. A 1902 newspaper article names apple pie as an "American symbol for prosperity," while another suggests that "no pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.”

Some evidence also suggests that presenting apple pie as an American classic was a marketing ploy on the part of apple growers. The advice to eat "an apple a day" may have come about that way as well.

Wherever it came from, the phrase "as American as apple pie" appeared in print throughout the 20th century. Yet it didn't truly take off until World War II, when American soldiers proudly declared that they were fighting "for mom and apple pie."

pie

Whether Americans have any particular claim over apple pie or not, we certainly do like it. 19 percent of us name apple as our favorite type of pie, and we buy $700 million apple pies per year in stores—and that's not even counting home-baked pies or pies sold by restaurants and independent bakers!

Americans are even so enamored of apple pie that they'll eat it even absent apples! In the depression era, Ritz Crackers suggested that its customers could make a "mock apple pie" by substituting the filling for crackers soaked in cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla.

Apple pie's cultural importance is also attested to by the fact that the dessert inspired the name of a whole city (Pie Town, New Mexico) as well as the successful American Pie movie franchise and the hit Don Mclean song of the same name.

We also celebrate National Apple Pie Day on May 13—not be confused with National Pie Day which, is January 23, or the upcoming Pi day, which is actually the holiday that inspired my current pie mania.

Maybe there's something to be said for apple pie representing America's diverse patchwork culture, or, more cynically, our habit of cherry-picking the things we like from other cultures and then trying to take the credit. However, one way in which apple pie is undeniably American is that it's tremendously unhealthy!

While even the excess butter, sugar, and flour in homemade apple pies aren't the best for you, retailers have made it even worse by adding in worrisome processed ingredients and greatly increasing the ease with which apple pie can be obtained.

It's one thing to enjoy an occasional homemade apple pie every holiday or so, and quite another to pick one up every time you pass through the McDonald's drive through window!

Luckily, there are ways to add some crunch and sweetness to your apple of the day without turning it into a diet disaster. Our Appleberry Crumble, Classic Apple Pie, and Strawberry Apple Pie are just the thing! If you're still hungry, you can also check out our recipe for caramel apple pie.

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Appleberry Crumble

appleberry crumble

Why just have an apple pie when you can have BERRIES! Estimated nutritional value of 191 calories, 2.4g fat, 3 mg cholesterol,, 42.1g carbohydrate, 7.2g fiber, 1.7g protein, and 25.9g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 red apples (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (raspberries, blackberries)
  • 2 tsp natvia sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-2 mini toast (crumbled on top)
  • Optional tablespoon of cream

Directions
Mix all ingredients together and stew in a pot until soft and tender. Put in bowl. Sprinkle crumbled mini toast on top. Add cream if desired.

Recipe provided by

Classic Apple Pie

classic-apple-pie

Say hi to your new favorite pie! Estimated nutritional value of 355 calories, 4.9g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 81.9g carbohydrate, 13.8g fiber, 4.g protein, and 46.6g sugar.

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook time
30 minutes
Yield
1 or more servings

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tsp xylitol

Crumb/Pastry Lid Ingredients

  • 5 or less crushed grissini sticks with mixed spice of your choice.

Directions
Sprinkle crumb mix over apples—blitz the bread sticks for a finer texture. Add a little water at a time to form a stiff paste. Roll out and pop on top of apples. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and xylitol. Bake at 200 for 30 mins. If desired, top with 1 tbsp of yogurt.

Recipe provided by

Strawberry Apple Pie

strawberry apple pie

Strawberry pies forever! Estimated nutritional value (with melba toast) of 164 calories, .8g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 40.6g carbohydrate, 6.6g fiber, 2g protein, and 24.7g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
%yield%

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 4 small strawberries
  • 2 pieces of melba toast or 2 grissini sticks

Directions
Thinly slice 1 apple and four small strawberries. Sprinkle on crumbs of grissini sticks or Melba toasts—perhaps you'd like to try our cinnamon variety? If desired, add spices of choice and/or Stevia. Bake and enjoy!

Recipe provided by

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