It’s apple season! Whether you have your own tree, go apple picking every year, or just get great deals at the grocery store, there are so many great ways to use apples. And yes, it goes way beyond the classic apple pie. First things first, do you know how to prepare your apples before use? Yes, even pick-your-own farms can use pesticides, so be sure to wash them properly first. Then once they’re ready to go, start dreaming of all the delicious apple treats and dishes you’re going to try. To give you a head start, here 12 different ways to use apples.
1. Make a drink.
With the right equipment, you can definitely turn your apples into juice or cider. If you’re looking for an even easier way (no special equipment required), try this recipe from Instagrammer lasucavegana. It’s a recipe that’s been in her family for year, and it involves heading up water, cut up apples, and cinnamon. For the full recipe, check it out here. You can also experiment yourself by adding fresh slices to your favorite morning tea or infused water. It’s a good way to add sweeter in a natural way.
2. Add ’em to your main dish.
Apples are such a versatile fruit that you can add them to just about anything, and it totally works. This is also the case with main dishes. From casseroles to pot roasts, apples can add just the right amount of sweetness, complimenting your favorite recipe — such as this idea from a Quebec blogger who combines apples and onions with a pork roast.
3. Try them in your favorite appetizer, too.
Here’s another must-try idea that mixes apples with a protein — meatballs! This Instagrammer, Muffin and Bird, shares her tips for making delicious apple chicken meatballs. At first it might sound like three things that don’t belong together, but the combination really does work. What other appetizers could you try adding apples to?
4. Whip up lots and lots of applesauce.
Applesauce is an awesome go-to when you have a LOT of apples to use. Better yet, if you can make a lot and put it through a canning process, you’ll have yummy applesauce for months and months. One of the best things about applesauce is that you don’t need perfect apples, either. Bruises, cuts, imperfections? All are OK, because you’re going to boil it all down anyway. This no-peel method from The Irish Kitchen is one of the tastiest versions we’ve tried.
5. Make healthy, amazing salads.
You can find salad recipes that feature a lot of healthy, fiber-rich apples in it with a quick Google search. Or make up your own: Do you have a favorite salad recipe already? Lettuce, fruit, and pasta salads are all good candidates to add apples to. Start by mixing in a few slices or bits, and then if you like it, add more and more.
6. Try different apple desserts.
Apple pie is a classic, but it’s definitely not the only apple dessert you can make. There are more great recipes for cakes, danishes, and other desserts, too. Here’s a lightened up apple tarte tatin recipe to give a try. You can also just do a simple baked apple treat with a cinnamon-and-sugar mixture.
7. Dry your fruit into apple rings and chips.
Whether you call them rings or chips, dried apples are such a good way to preserve your harvest. If you have a food dehydrator, it’ll make the process go a lot faster. But even if you don’t, you can still make dried apples in the oven on a low heat. (Bonus: Your house is going to smell fantastic.) You can dry the apples all alone or add a cinnamon mixture for some added flavor.
8. Make amazing breakfasts like oatmeal and muffins.
If you already have a good oatmeal or muffin recipe, then dice up your favorite apple and add it in along with the other ingredients. It add a sweetness without a lot of sugar.
9. Mix up some apple pancakes or waffles.
Here’s another one you can easily do by adding apples to one of your favorite recipes. There’s no need to find a special waffle or pancake recipe–though you can definitely get some good ones with a quick search on Pinterest. If you have a recipe you already use or know (or even if it’s a mix from the store), add some apples. Just mince them up so they blend into the batter, and then you’ll be good to go.
10. Eat them raw — in so many ways.
Apples and peanut butter? Yum. Apples and Nutella? Yes, please. Apples and hummus? Surprisingly yummy. There are lots of ways to each fresh apples; you can even look up different apple or fruit dips for dunking.
11. Experiment with the perfect caramel apple.
Everyone should make homemade caramel apples at least once. Yes, it might take some extra patience or can be a bit messy, but they’re so worth it. Get your kids involved in this one, and ask them to help invent different types of caramel apples. Maybe one person wants their apple covered with chocolate chips, while someone else prefers the traditional chopped nuts. Use this as an excuse to experiment. It also make a great activity for a party. If you have a caramel apple station, everyone can make their own!
12. Make apple butter.
Apple butter like a cross between applesauce and jam. It’s one of the best treats in fall: Spreading out a fresh batch of apple butter on your bagel, toast, or pancake on a crisp, cool morning. Some people even swear warming it up is the way to go. Find a recipe by searching on Pinterest or even on Instagram, using the hashtag #applebutter.
Stacy Tornio is the author of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book and the mom of two adventurous kids. Together, they like planning vacations centered around the national parks.