10 Great Ways To Use Apples This Fall

Fall’s favorite fruit can make more than pies and crisps. Try some of these ideas to showcase apples in ways your family will love.

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Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: New York Apple Country at NYAppleCountry.com

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: U.S. Apple Association at USApple.org

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: New York Apple Country at NYAppleCountry.com

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Orchard-Fresh Snack

When autumn arrives, apples are the undisputed star. Nothing quite compares with a trip to a local orchard or farmers’ market where you can find fresh-picked fruit that’s juicy, crunchy and just plain wonderful. Like many seasonal favorites, apples typically fill a few tried-and-true roles in the kitchen. Of course, they’re terrific for eating out of hand, packing a powerful nutritious punch of fiber and Vitamin C. But apples can headline in a variety of uses that demand minimum prep or skill. Ready to take your apple eating to the next level? Check out some of our favorite ways to enjoy orchard-fresh apples.

Apple Peel Tea

Make an old-fashioned cuppa by steeping apple peels in boiling water. For one cup of tea, add a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and, if you want a little zing, the zest of one lemon to 8 ounces of boiling water. Steep 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or your favorite sweetener. This is a delicious cup of tea that’s rich in nutrients, thanks to the peel’s Vitamins A, K and C (peels contain half an apple’s Vitamin C content), folate and quercetin (helpful in lung and brain function). Vary the spices to shift the flavor to hit other notes, like exotic five-spice, allspice or pumpkin pie spice.

Apple Slaw

Give classic cabbage slaw a sweet twist by swapping out some of the cabbage for thinly sliced apples for an apple slaw recipe. A mix of red and green apples cut into matchstick-size pieces creates a colorful dish. Add green and red cabbage, roasted pistachio nuts and shredded carrots to complete the pretty side salad. Use a traditional coleslaw dressing, or whisk together an apple cider vinaigrette. Remember to toss apple pieces with diluted lemon juice to prevent oxidation or browning.

Apple Peels

Don’t toss those apple peels, unless you’re adding them to your compost pile, which is a great idea in fall when dried leaves overwhelm compost with brown matter. Apple peels are versatile in the kitchen, filling roles from salad topper, to pot cleaner (they work wonders on stained aluminum cookware, thanks to the acid they contain), to pancake and waffle ingredient (chop and mix into batter with a little cinnamon—yum!). Or turn apple peels into a can’t-resist snack by tossing with melted butter, cinnamon-sugar mix and a pinch of salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Pie

Of course, apple pie is the go-to dessert everyone knows and loves. Whether you’re serving deep dish, double crust, lattice-top or Dutch crumb, it’s tough to beat this American classic. This year, up your pie game by trying some new twists on a family favorite. Marry apple with other tasty ingredients to deliver a whole new crowd pleaser. Good apple combinations include cranberry, raisin, raspberry, dates and pear. Toss nuts into the filling, or switch up spices, swapping cinnamon for Chinese five-spice. Trade pastry for a ginger snap or cinnamon graham cracker crust. You can freeze unbaked apple pies for a quick dessert that’s equally cozy and impressive. Or save your freezer space by making home-canned apple pie filling. It comes together in a snap with a boiling water bath and turns out wonderful fresh-tasting pies for the holidays and beyond.

Homemade Applesauce

A family favorite, applesauce blends well with many mealtime menus, standing in as side dish or dessert. Best of all, applesauce is easy to make. Simply peel, core and cook apples until they fall apart easily with a spoon. Add seasoning (think cinnamon and maple or agave syrup) while cooking or after. Applesauce without seasoning varies in color, based on the type of apple you use. In some cases, cooking the apples with peels on results in a pink sauce. To remove peels, just run the cooked apples through a food mill or strainer. Make applesauce as chunky or smooth as you like. For long-term storage, freeze or can it using a boiling water bath.

Apple Cider

It’s surprisingly easy to make your own apple cider—no apple press required. Just quarter apples, add water, sweetener (if using) and seasoning, and cook for an hour or more. Run the apples through a food mill or food strainer to remove any solids, then strain it again through cheesecloth or paint strainer bag to yield a clear liquid. Enjoy apple cider cold or hot. Once you master cider-making, use your brew to whip up apple cider donuts, a classic fall treat. Homemade apple cider keeps about a week in the fridge; freeze or water bath can it for longer storage.

Spinach Salad With Apples

Apples make a tasty, crunchy addition to salads of mixed greens. They blend beautifully with a basic spinach salad, like this one that includes red cabbage, carrot, chickpeas, cheddar cheese and pistachios. Another yummy salad blend is apple, chopped kale, quinoa and walnut. Choose any apple variety to top salads. To prep apples, chop them, coat with a little lemon juice (to prevent browning) and add to salads. Whip up an apple-y dressing using apple cider vinegar. Blend it with Dijon mustard, seasoning and honey for a tasty sweet and sour bite.

Dried Apple Rings

Try your hand at drying apples, either in the oven or using a dehydrator. Drying is a great way to preserve apples long-term. When apples are fully, properly dry, they’ll last up to six months in a cool, dark place. Or you can also freeze them for longer storage. Dried apples make a tasty snack and are a great addition to homemade granola or trail mix. Grab chopped dried apples for an oatmeal topper or a delicious addition to oatmeal cookies.

Caramel Apple Cookies

A yummy blend of oatmeal, chopped caramels, walnuts and chopped apples make this cookie a winner. The richest version features true caramel candies, but you can substitute caramel-flavored chips in a pinch. They don’t deliver the same gooey sweetness as the candy, but the flavor comes close. Because of the apple, these cookies are moist. Store in layers separated by parchment sheets. Refrigerate if you plan on storing them beyond a few days—if they last that long. For a variation, try different nuts, including black walnut, hickory or pecans.

Apple Dumpling

Whip up a batch of apple dumplings for a crowd-pleasing dessert. Pastry-wrapped apples nestled into a sweet caramel sauce aren’t difficult to make. They hold their own when served as dessert at an elegant dinner or cozy family supper. The secret to success is to use a pastry that contains butter and egg yolk. That blend is pliable enough to make wrapping apples a breeze. (Pastry with shortening is too short and tends to break.) Serve warm apple dumplings solo, or pair with ice cream, milk or cream. If you don’t want to gobble all the pastry calories, try your hand at making baked apples (baked whole apples with skins on). They’re decadent enough for even the sweetest tooth in your gang.

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