With tart apples, smooth apple butter, meaty turkey and grainy wheat bread, these sweet and savory apple orchard sandwiches are just what your lunchbox needs!Jump to Recipe
On the farm, our corn and soybeans are drying out and getting close to being harvest-ready. However, while we await for this rainy spell to pass, we’ve been trying to get all of our “fall bucket list” items checked off!
If you’ve been following along at Dance Around the Kitchen for awhile, you know that fall baking has been underway for quite a few weeks! You know….the pumpkins, apples, squash….I love it all! However, another item on my to-do list each fall is visit the pumpkin patch and/or an apple orchard.
This year, we decided to take the day off for McKinley’s 2nd birthday and celebrate at the apple orchard. Highlights of her birthday afternoon festivities included playing in the corn pool, going down the tile slide, riding the “choo choo” and trying all the apples!
If you’re ever in the area in September/October, I’d highly recommend making a visit to Center Grove Orchard. I’m always amazed at all the fun activities they come up with for the kiddos….and the adults. I couldn’t help but to hop on the big pillow trampolines myself! I guess I’m still a child at heart.
It was unusually hot for September in Iowa, but we made the most of it! Luckily, the orchard serves Apple Cider Slushies, and it was the perfect way to cool off after the afternoon in the sun.
Among many delicious baked goods, ciders and hot beverages, something I always see at the orchard are the big jars of apple butter! In fact, the last time I was at Center Grove Orchard, I had lunch there and ordered the most delicious sandwich that had turkey, apple slices and that delicious apple butter. I liked it SO much, that the same day I went to the store to get the ingredients to make it myself!
When I got to the store, I realized I hadn’t gotten any apple butter at the orchard and the only apple butter option was a huge jar (like the size of a big jar of applesauce). As much as I enjoy apple butter, I knew I wouldn’t go through it in just a couple months, so I decided to make my own. So, today, I’m sharing my Apple Orchard Sandwich and the small batch of apple butter!
What ingredients do I need to make the apple butter?
I’m going to call this a “semi-homemade” apple butter. To speed things up a bit, I’m starting with pre-made applesauce, so I don’t have to take the time to peel, core and cook down the apples. (Oh, and because McKinley will gladly polish off the rest of the jar of applesauce!)
- Unsweetened applesauce – Although you could certainly start with apples and cook them down, I’m making this as easy as possible by starting with a jar of applesauce. If you don’t have unsweetened, you can also use regular applesauce or cinnamon applesauce if you wish.
- Brown Sugar – You can really use either brown sugar or white sugar, but I love the extra bit of flavor the brown sugar gives. It also enhances the rich cinnamon-y color!
- Cinnamon & Vanilla – These are both primarily for flavor, but the cinnamon also gives it a nice color.
And if you don’t have time to make homemade apple butter, I totally understand. I really like Center Grove’s apple butter, but have to say that my favorite is Raven’s Original apple butter! (YUM!!)
What kind of bread, apples and turkey are best on Apple Orchard Sandwiches?
Let’s start with the bread. I guess I just love carbs, because I’m a firm believer that any good sandwich starts with a good bread! For this sandwich, I really like the nuttiness and texture a grainy bread gives. The one I used was nice and soft but was super seedy and oh so yummy!
Next up, the apples. As you can probably tell in the photo, I used Granny Smith apples. They’re tart and crisp and perfectly compliment the sweetness of the apple butter and saltiness of the turkey. However, feel free to try other tart apples, too!
And last, but certainly not least, the turkey! I like to pile the meat high on my sandwiches, so the protein will keep me satisfied and feeling full. Any deli-sliced turkey (or even leftover sliced Thanksgiving turkey!) would work perfectly!
Tips for keeping the bread from getting soggy in your lunchbox…
For these photos, I put the apple butter right on the bread. This is completely fine if you plan to have the sandwich soon after. However, if you’re going to make it and eat it hours later (like on your lunch break), I’d try to keep the apple butter away from the bread.
Here’s how I do it: Bread, half of the turkey, apple butter, apples, more turkey, and the last bread slice. The first layer of turkey keeps the apple butter from touching the bread, keeping the dreaded soggy bread away!
Apple Orchard Sandwiches
Small Batch Apple Butter
- 1 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 8 slices whole wheat bread
- 1 lb sliced turkey
- 1 large Granny Smith apple
- 1/2 c apple butter
Make the small batch apple butter:
- In a saucepan, combine the applesauce and brown sugar.
- Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and no longer has a lot of liquid-y moisture. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
- Pour into a small air-tight container or jar. Use immediately or refrigerate.
Building the sandwiches:
- Lay down one slice of the bread. Add about 1/4 lb turkey, about 2 tbsp apple butter and several thinly sliced apples.
- Top with the second slice of bread.
- Repeat until all four sandwiches have been made.