Super quick stewed apples two ways, a beautifully simple recipe to support gut health.
Stewed apples are quick, simple and highly therapeutic. They’re also a quintessentially New Zealand treat – our family had an orchard out in Oratia back in the day, so this bowl of comfort always provides some nostalgia.
🍏 Stewed apples have some wonderful health benefits, they’re packed with soluble and insoluble fibre to help regulate the bowels, they’re rich in polyphenols, promote the growth and diversity of friendly gut microflora, and lower both oxidative stress and inflammation in the digestive tract, making them an effective gut-healing food.
I’m going to share this recipe two ways – the first as your classic stewed apples, the second as an applesauce with added slippery elm powder for an even greater gut-soothing effect. Both are healthy, without added sugar.
Stewed apples are taken as a light breakfast in Ayurveda, often cooked with cloves or other aromatics, and are helpful to calm Vata dosha types.
They’re also widely used in Naturopathic Medicine as an effective intervention for gastrointestinal healing.
- Stewed apples are easy to cook, delicious and well tolerated
- Apples contain two types of fibre – their insoluble fibre content adds bulk to stools, while the soluble fibre (pectin) attracts water. Together, this helps alleviate constipation
- Pectin itself has some wonderful health benefits, ranging from cholesterol reduction to weight loss, cancer prevention and alleviating GERD 
- Apples contain polyphenols – bulky antioxidants that aren’t absorbed well via the intestinal lumen, yet act as a prebiotic for beneficial bacteria, promoting their growth and diversity
- These polyphenols also help lower gastrointestinal inflammation
- Quercetin, a type of polyphenol in apples, helps modulate the immune response and stabilise mast cells, lowering histamine levels
- Aromatic spices like clove and cinnamon are often added to stewed apples. Both exert antioxidant effects, while the cinnamon improves insulin resistance and blood glucose levels 
- Slippery elm powder, from the bark of the Ulmus rubra tree, contains mucilage – a jelly-like substance that coats the gastrointestinal tract, used to soothe the gut wall and ease conditions such as GERD, peptic ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, haemorrhoids, sore throats and bladder infections.
🍎What type of apples to use
Granny Smith are the best apples to stew – a crisp, tart, cooking apple. Being an older cultivar (1860’s) – they have a much greater polyphenol content , even more so if you go organic .
🥣Step by Step
1. Peel apples: start by peeling your apples. The polyphenol content is most concentrated in the skins, so leaving a few on is beneficial.
2. Core and slice: use a corer if you have one, or just slice the apples into thick chunks.
3. Steam: now, here’s my number one hack – I don’t stew apples, I steam them! Trust me – they turn out perfect every time this way. I’d say anywhere from 5-10 minutes in the steamer over a saucepan of boiling water is perfect – just cook to your liking.
4. Serve: to serve – top with yoghurt, blueberries, slivered almonds, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
💁🏽 The second way to prepare them is to make an applesauce – just use a stick blender to puree, then stir in ½ - 1 teaspoon of slippery elm powder into your individual serve before enjoying.
Slippery elm has a mild taste but gritty texture, stirring the powder into applesauce greatly improves the palatability – thank goodness!
Absolutely. They’ll keep for several months in an airtight container.
You can leave the skins on if that's to your liking, either will work just fine.
You can. However, cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Bramley have a little more acidity, they seem to keep both tangy flavour and a firmer texture once cooked.
Stewed apples are incredibly soothing to the digestive tract. The polyphenol content reduces inflammation while the pectin promotes healthy bowel movements.
🥧More gut-healing apple recipes
Stewed apples are the business thanks to their simplicity - but you can also enjoy the same gut-healing benefits with recipes like this apple and feijoa crumble, these delicious blueberry teff muffins, or this utterly perfect granny smith apple pie.
🌿Enjoyed this recipe? Leave a comment below, better yet - share a snap with me on instagram @ascensionkitchen. If you're after personalised health and nutrition advice, contact my clinic, I'd be happy to work with you.
Stewed apples recipe - two ways
- Saucepan with steamer attachment and lid
- Stick blender (if making applesauce)
- 10 Granny Smith apples
- ½ - 1 teaspoon slippery elm powder per serve optional, please see notes re safety
- coconut yoghurt
- cinnamon powder
- drizzle of pure maple syrup
- slivered almonds
- Peel the apples, core and slice into thick chunks.
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add apples to the steamer attachment, cover, cook for 5-10 minutes until softened.
- Remove from heat and serve as is, or, to make applesauce, use a stick blender to make a puree.
- If you'd like to add slippery elm powder for further gut-soothing effects, stir in ½ - 1 teaspoon to individual portions.
- Top with yoghurt, cinnamon, fruits and nuts as desired.
- If apples aren't tolerated, you can sub for pears
- If you can't find Granny Smith apples, Bramley will sub nicely
- Leave a little of the peel on the fruit for extra polyphenol content
- Choose organic apples as their polyphenol and antioxidant capacity is greater than conventional
- If using slippery elm powder, take at least two hours away from prescribed medications - it theoretically may impair their absorption. If in doubt, please consult with your healthcare provider first
- Freeze in an airtight container, will last for several months
- Recipe serves 4-6, 4 if enjoying for breakfast, 6 if enjoying a little as a treat after dinner
- Nutrition facts are an estimate only, based on one of six serves for plain stewed apples. It does not include the optional toppings (yoghurt/berries/nuts).
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