If you haven’t already gone apple picking, and you live anywhere on the East Coast, it’s probably on your agenda. A day of running around in the fresh air alone makes the trip worth the effort, but the apple cider and fresh doughnuts don’t hurt either.
The best part of apple picking is ending up with so many varieties of apples. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and McIntosh make up more than half of the apples grown in the U.S. The staples are good when you’re in a pinch, but it’s so much more exciting to try out all of the other varieties available. Large, firm crisp varieties, like Fuji, Granny Smith and Northern Spy, do well baked or cooked. Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies are sweet-tart choices and perfect for an on-the-go snack.
So after a day of fun at the apple orchard, I’m standing in front of 25 pounds of apples with no plans — except for the handful of apples that will be going into “Mom’s Muck,” as my sister and I used to lovingly call our mother’s homemade applesauce. Until I figure out what to do with the rest, I’m loving the fact that apples keep for weeks in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator or in a cool, dark basement. And now onto the much-needed 25 ways to use apples.
- When there’s only one slice of Apple Pie left, go with Apple of My Pie, or try Kelsey Nixon’s 21 and under version, Apple Pie Shake (pictured above).
- Butternut Squash and Apple Soup has deep, earthy flavors of squash, brightened up with the crisp, sweet flavor of apples.
- Single-serving Deep-Dish Tarte Tatin is an easy dinner party dessert. Have everything put together and pop the tarts in the oven when you start the main course. Don’t forget to let them rest before serving, or you may lose the shape of the tarts while plating.
- Play it safe and sweet with Kelsey’s classic Mile-High Apple Pie, or spice it up with Four and Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie.
- Bobby Flay captures the essence of autumn in one dish: Caramel Apple Cheesecake.
- Get your comfort food fix without the comfort food calories when you whip up Ellie Krieger’s Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Celery Root-Apple Puree and Cider Gravy.
- Giada De Laurentiis’ Apple and Thyme Martini is just what you need to kick back and relax after a day of apple picking.
- Mom’s Muck (applesauce) is really simple and way better than the store-bought kind. Peel and core about 8 apples, then cut them into 1-inch dice. Add the cut-up apples to a large pot with the juice from half a lemon, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup water, and a cinnamon stick and some cloves tied up in cheesecloth. Let this cook down until the applesauce reaches desired consistency, about an hour. (I like a slightly chunky muck, but feel free to run yours through a food mill once the apples are cooked.) You can also use this as the filling for an apple pie, but I normally just eat it by the spoonful.
- Bobby adds cranberries to his Apple Pie Oatmeal with Bruleed Crust for the perfect sweet-tart combo to start the day.
- The classic pairing of apples with pork is a crowd-pleaser. Try out Grilled Pork Chop with Apple and Peach Mostarda and Puree for something new, or stick to the classics like Pork Chops with Toasted Spice Rub and Apple Dressing. If you’re looking for a quick dinner fix, try out Pork Chops with Warm Fennel-Apple Slaw.
- Sausage Apple Pancakes with Walnut Butter combine your favorite breakfast flavors in one place.
- Ellie Krieger lightens up her Apple Brown Betty with whole-wheat bread in the crumble.
- Have you ever made your own butter? It’s easier than you’re imagining — no butter churns required. Bobby whips up his own butter with some heavy cream and a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment in his recipe for Belgian Waffles with Homemade Cinnamon-Sugar Butter and Sauteed Cider Apples.
- Prawns in Apple Basil Curry sounds like an odd flavor combo, but the apples play off the hot chile flakes.
- A simple 10-Minute Apple Sauce can be eaten on its own, served with pork, or used in recipes like Apple Muffins as a substitute for some or all of the oil or butter.
- Barbecue season may be over, but potato salad reigns year-round. Irish Potato Salad with Apples is a slight variation on the classic.
- Spiked Apple Cider is topped off with Cava and garnished with matchstick-size pieces of apple for a delicate refreshment.
- Quick prep time means dinner on the table in less than an hour with Sunny Anderson’s Apple Cider Chicken.
- Add apples to salads for a surprising sweet-tart crunch that will perk up your weekday lunches: Crunchy Fennel and Green Apple Salad and Spinach with Green Apple Salad.
- Make your own Coconut Yogurt with Fresh Figs and Apples by blending the meat of coconuts with coconut water. Acidophilus probiotic powder, the same kind of live and active cultures found in store-bought milk-based yogurts, is optional, but a few extra probiotics never hurt anyone.
- Pavlova is a meringue cake-like dessert; make your own with Lorraine Pascale’s Spiced Blackberry, Quince and Apple Pavlova. Quince is an ancient fruit and part of the rose (think apples, pears, plums and cherries) family. It’s often very difficult to find, so you can substitute with pears.
- Apple Butter is perfect topping morning toast or swirled into oatmeal, but also try it with Oatmeal Waffles with Allspice Apple Butter or Apple Butter Glazed Ham.
- Chilly, rainy day blues be gone! Creamy Apple and Celery Root Soup with a Grilled Cheddar, Bacon and Apple Honey Mustard Sandwich will warm you up from the inside out.
- Serve Chicken Breasts with Apple-Curry Sauce with wild rice and steamed broccoli for a filling meal that clocks in at less than 500 calories.
- Mini German Pancakes with Apple-Calvados Caramel Sauce will rock your brunch. Calvados is a French brandy, available in most liquor stores.
More 25 Ways: