A Simple Snack with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins

An easy snack made with apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon

 

Now for something completely different…

In the late 80’s Bobby and I spent a week with some friends on a houseboat on Lake Powell, a lake on the Colorado River in the southwestern U.S. During this trip we were introduced to this wonderful little snack of apples, walnuts, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. Thank you Donna! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve made this snack over the years. I always had a bag of it in my backpack at the start of a backpacking trip.  We’ve taken it camping, on road trips, and on numerous hikes. Because it only takes 5 minutes to throw together, it’s perfect for your lunch bag or an afternoon snack. Aside for the fact that it is just downright delicious, it also keeps for a couple of days with or without refrigeration, making it a snack that you can take just about anywhere and never get tired of eating.


Bluff at Lake Powell

 

Before giving your the “complicated recipe” (NOT!) for this snack, I can’t resist telling you the story about the tomatoes we took on this trip to Lake Powell.  It was one of those summers when my tomato plants were quite prolific.  Come August and time to leave for the trip, I had plants full of tomatoes at every stage of ripeness.  I had to figure out some way to not waste all of those tomatoes.  Yes, I did give many away, but there were SO many!  So I went to one of Catfish caught at Lake Powell on a tomatothe local fruit markets and got an apple box with the shipping dividers. I preceded to pick the tomatoes and pack them in the apple crate putting the green ones on the bottom and moving up to having the ripest ones on the top.  This worked perfect.  We were eating tomatoes all week long for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This was wonderful up until about the 6th day when we still had several left and all of us were beginning to get a little tired of tomatoes.  So what do you do with the rest of the tomatoes?  Go fishing!  Use tomato for fish bait. Believe it or not, it worked! I caught this beautiful little catfish on a tomato plus a few bluegill! And Yes, we did have fish for supper, smothered in tomato sauce. :)

 

Ingredients for an apple, walnuts, and raisin snack

 

An easy snack made with apples, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon

 

Kitchen Notes

The apples – This works best with really crisp apples. My favorites are Fuji, Cameos, and Pink Ladies, but you can pretty much use whichever type of apple you like.

The cinnamon – The boring cinnamon that you find at a local grocery store works fine, but if you really want to jazz it up some look for a Chinese cinnamon or better yet a Vietnamese Cinnamon. I’ve been using the Vietnamese Cinnamon from Season with Spice lately and it really has taken this simple snack and moved it up a notch or two.

Why do the apples not turn brown? – When an apple is cut, the oxidation process on the exposed surfaces is driven by an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). The activity of PPO can be reduce with lemon juice or other acidic additives that lower the pH, but it can also be prevented by lowering the exposure to oxygen by immersing the apple slices in water.  What I think happens here is, that since cinnamon is an antioxidant (a substance that prevents oxidation by neutralizing free radicals), it inhibits the oxidation process that turns apples brown by somehow neutralizing the PPO and/or by preventing oxygen from reaching the surface of the apple.  That’s my educated guess.

The walnuts – You could use a different nut if you’d like. I have tried it with pecans, but if you don’t eat it right away, the pecans do soften up a bit from the moisture in the apples. Walnuts work best.

The spice – As much as I love cardamom, I didn’t like it with this snack.  A touch of nutmeg was o.k., but to be truthful, the simplicity of the cinnamon with the apples and walnuts was the best.

 

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50 Responses to “A Simple Snack with Apples, Walnuts and Raisins”

  1. Javelin Warrior October 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Tomatoes for fishing? I’ve never heard of this before but what a creative way to use them up! And I love the sound of this snack – especially that it keeps for a number of days. And it’s perfect because no real cooking is involved and I could make it in a hotel room :)

    • mj October 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      Talk about being creative! The surprising part was catching a fish with tomatoes. :) Yep – a snack that one could make anywhere is they have the ingredients. So glad you enjoyed it Mark! thanks!

  2. Amber @ The Cook's Sister June 7, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I love how the simplest dishes are sometimes the best tasting! :) I also often pack fruit and nuts as a snack. I love the cinnamon on the apples! I’m digging anything with cinnamon lately — especially teas!

  3. Soni June 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Ooh love it! So simple yet so delicious with the cinnamon!Now its going to become a favorite snack in my house :) On another note Tomato for a bait sounds brilliant :)

  4. Lizzy (Good Things) June 3, 2013 at 2:47 am #

    Oh, now that’s my kinda snack, but I hadn’t thought of the cinnamon! Great idea… hey, have you tried eating fresh, soft ricotta with slices of apple?

  5. Charles June 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    LOL, I can’t believe you managed to catch fish using tomato as bait?! I never would have considered it even possible – nice one! Beautiful looking little snack MJ – so perfect in its simplicity. Apple and cinnamon were born to go together, and the nuts and raisins would give a lovely bit of bulk. Great for nibbling away on during a walk!

  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    What a great story about the fish bait! I had no idea that fish would go for tomato…really? How surprising and kinda cool at the same time. Gosh, sometimes I wish I lived in a part of the world where freshies were so abundant, I’d run out of ideas on what to do with them… what a concept!

    LOVE this recipe MJ. To me, simplicity is where it’s at and I’ve long known that things do not need to be complicated to taste delicious :). My sons surprised me a bowl of warm cinnamon butter apples for breakfast on my birthday… your lovely snack idea reminds me of their gesture and brings a big smile!

  7. Raymund June 2, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    Nice and healthy, not to mention easy as well

  8. Zsuzsa June 1, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Peach Lady, what a bait! Who would have thought? Can’t take this with you, but have you ever had walnuts with a little sprinkle of honey? I used to make that for myself as a kid. My husband made it for himself last night. [I had no cookies for him. :-)] Apples and cinnamon with walnuts – We will try that too.

  9. Rita Bose May 31, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Quick and delicious snack! Will definitely try this healthy and tempting dish! :)

  10. Tes May 31, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    oh what a humble and healthy snack. I really love this idea…and with cinnamon, oh yum :)

  11. Adora's Box May 31, 2013 at 3:54 am #

    Hi MJ. Love the snack, like apple pie without the “complicated recipe”, fat and calories. The gal in the pic looks younger now. Must eat lots of apple snack, also tomatoes.

  12. Sanjeeta kk May 31, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    Food creates nostalgia…and am sure every time you make this salad you might be remembering your trip and friends MJ. I love few ingredient recipes and this one is sure a treasure to cherish. Hugs.

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook May 30, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Simple, yet delicious and healthy snack! Wow what a great catch! I used to go fishing with my dad. I can’t believe you used a tomato! :D

  14. Giulietta | Alterkitchen May 30, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    Easy and delicious snack! And great trip, I’d say :)

  15. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 30, 2013 at 2:51 am #

    This sounds pretty good. I’ve been blitzing apple, dates, coconut flakes and almonds and sprinkling it over yoghurt but your spiced fruit sounds yummy!

  16. Carolyn Jung May 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    That’s genius that the cinnamon not only makes them taste like dessert, but keeps them fresh looking, too. It’s definitely a perfect snack — one you don’t have to feel guilty about, either.

  17. Liz May 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Mmmmm…what a perfect snack. The variation in textures is what I love most. And neat how the apples don’t oxidize!

  18. Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    That’s a very healthy and yummy snack great for when you’re a bit peckish but not too heavy :)

  19. CJ at Food Stories May 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    What a great looking snack you got there ;-)

  20. Kate@Diethood May 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Tomatoes as fish bait?! I have got to tell my uncle about this one!! :)

    I am in LOVE with this apple snack! It’s easy, delicious, and healthy! This is so brilliant!

  21. Helene D'souza May 29, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    lol I expected that you would say “I made some jam!” but certainly not that you caught a fish with your tomato! Awesome MJ lol
    Love the first picture its as if from another world.
    I would enjoy a bowl of your apple walnut raisin snack now, especially with cinnamon. I had heard before too that cinnamon is an antioxidant and I remember my grandmother mentioning something similar about the apples getting not brown and cinnamon connection.

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Thanks Helene! Oh how I wish I would have written everything down that my grandmother taught me. I would be pretty smart if I had. :) After seeing the pictures of where you live, I bet you do find my desert pictures quite different. Many people say that everything is so brown out here, but once you live here a while, you start seeing lots of color. I just love it!

  22. Sissi May 29, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    MJ, you almost made me swap strawberries for apples! It’s such a wonderful and simple snack idea. I could take it also to work for my teatime snack or dessert.
    Using tomatoes as baits sounds excellent too! You never know what fish might like… I remember when I used to go fishing with my father as a child, we talked to other fishing amateurs and they often had amazing bait products.

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks Sissi! I’m amazing with what people here fish with. I’ve seen people use corn and marshmallows! :) who knows.

  23. The Wimpy Vegetarian May 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    What a great idea for a snack MJ! Unfortunately neither my husband, the carbovore you met on his Starbuck’s post, nor can eat nuts. Maybe roasted pinenuts since we can eat them? Or pepitas?? What do you think?

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Bummer on not being able to eat some nuts. I would think pine nuts or pepitas either one would work here. The pine nuts would probably hold up to the moisture in the apples better if you plan to save the snack for another day, but either should work. enjoy!

  24. Minnie@thelady8home May 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Fishing with tomatoes?? Who would have thought!!! I think crating the tomatoes was a brilliant idea, and can even work at home if they ever are so plentiful. Lovely snack and so easy too.

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks Minnie! Actually, I have used that method of storing tomatoes at home as well. It works great!

  25. Debra May 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    This may be my lunch tomorrow and thanks for the fishing tip. :)

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      You are most welcome Debra. :)

  26. Tessa May 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Great snack idea! And tomatoes as bait… Next time we go out fishing, I will be sure to bring a few and try it!

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks Tessa! Let me know if it works. :)

  27. Nancy/SpicieFoodie May 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    What a yummy and nutritious snack. I love the photo of you and your bluegill — it was one of the first fishes I ever caught.:) Next time we go fishing I’ll have to remember to bring tomatoes. Thanks for sharing MJ:)

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks Nancy! Bluegill (we called them bream in Louisiana), was the first fish I ever caught as well. Let me know if you catch something on a tomato. I’ve always wondered if it was a fluke. :)

  28. Ramona May 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Tomatoes as bait… very impressive. Love that picture of you MJ… you look so joyful. Wish you were my neighbor back in the day … I would have enjoyed using up your tomatoes too. :):) Apples, walnuts and raisins with cinnamon…Lovely!! You can’t beat a simple, healthy and satisfying snack like this too.

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks Ramona! Hey, I was surprised and overjoyed to have caught a fish, much less caught one on tomato. Makes a great story. :)

  29. Laura @ Family Spice May 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Simple, delicious and healthy!! I have lived in Tucson for four years (Go Wildcats!) but never made it to Lake Powell. I hear it is gorgeous!

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks Laura! Yes, Lake Powell is absolutely beautiful and way to big to see it all in a week. I’d love to go back but the levels are so low now, I’m not sure if the experience would be the same.

  30. john@kitchenriffs May 28, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Really fun story about using tomatoes for bait! And so clever to figure out how to take all of those tomatoes with you. I certainly know what it means to be overwhelmed with fresh tomatoes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way – I love feasting on fresh, ripe tomatoes. Great snack, too. I wonder what it is about cinnamon that inhibits the apples from browning? Cool thing to know, though. Super post – thanks.

    • mj May 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      Thanks John! There is nothing like a homegrown tomato!!! After your comment and one from Vicki I did a little research on cinnamon and added some info to the post. So thanks for getting me thinking! :) Apparently, cinnamon using its antioxidant properties to prevent the apples from browning. Good know!

  31. Vicki Bensinger May 28, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    This sounds like a great snack especially while hiking in the mountains where we will be soon.

    Do you add any lemon juice or anything to keep the apples from turning? Although I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I think a lot of the apples are GMO since the ones I’ve purchased at the grocery store don’t turn. I’m sure that won’t be the case with Whole Foods apples. I’ll have to check.

    Nice recipe, and great snack. I’ll definitely pack a zip lock baggie of these on our next hike.

    • mj May 28, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Thanks Vicki! NO – there is no lemon juice. There must be something in the cinnamon that keeps the apples from turning because after 2 days, they look like they do in the pictures. I only buy local organics so I don’t believe the the apples I buy are GMO. I was making this long before GMO was big (or public) so I going to attribute the absence of brown apples to the cinnamon. :)

  32. wok with ray May 28, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Wow, tomato as a bait? Very smart MJ! Well, I guess we can’t have enough tomatoes. Fish cooked in tomato sauce is just wonderful. I hope you and Bobby had a great Memorial Day weekend! :)

  33. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 28, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    I love quick and delicious snacks…this one is perfect, MJ. Fish in tomato sauce..that sounds delish!

  34. Katerina May 28, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    I am going to tell this tomato trick to my son and husband who go fishing during the weekends. It may work for them too. The snack looks absolutely perfect and so quick and easy!

    • mj May 28, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks Katrina! Let me know if it works for your son and husband. That way I’ll know if it was just a fluke. :)

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