Our boys so loved picking strawberries this past summer, that I determined we must go apple picking once fall arrived. Well, fall is certainly here, and her glory is starting to show. So, a few weeks ago, the boys and I headed out to a nearby farm with some friends to see how we fared at harvesting our own apples.
I was a teensy bit worried that apple picking wouldn’t turn out to be a good activity for little boys who are even more vertically challenged than I am. Luckily, the fruit was within their reach, and we picked about 13 kilos in less than an hour.
Um, yeah. 13 kilos…
All I can say is that it didn’t SEEM like a lot at the time. But we were (and kinda still are) up to our eyeballs in fragrant fruit.
So, if you find yourself fortunate enough to be wandering an apple orchard or unfortunately sitting on ten bushels of the suckers, here are some scrumptious ways to use those apples up.
Applesauce. Duh. There are a zillion variations (sugar, honey, no sugar, spiced, crockpot, stovetop). Just pick one, and go with it. It’s okay if you don’t have any special equipment (I don’t). We’ve whipped up four batches of silky puree; the kids love making and eating it.
Apple butter. Contains no butter – apple butter is really just applesauce cooked down further, usually with a little sweetener and spices. The crockpot method is the most fool-proof, but you can also make it on the stove. Some recipes contain a LOT of sugar; I’d recommend only adding a tiny bit of sweetener and then adjusting to taste.
Fruit leather. You’re basically drying out your applesauce in the oven when you make fruit leather. Try this easy peasy cinnamon variation.
Apple chips. Another simple, healthy, kid-friendly snack. Even the kitchen-challenged can make apple chips. I like the simplicity of this no-sugar-added recipe.
Dried apple bits. Make these at the same time as the apple chips, and use the bits in oatmeal or yogurt.
Apple S’mores. This was one of those happy accidents, born out of the desire to make a quick and easy apple dessert that went along with what I was already making for dinner on the grill (these juicy fajitas). You don’t really need a recipe, but here’s what to do:
Wash your apples, core them, and slice into 1/2″ thick rounds. If you don’t have an apple corer, use a knife to carefully cut out the core after slicing the apple. Grill about 5 minutes. Then flip, and grill the other side. When the apple slices are done, cool slightly while you roast the marshmallows. Carefully slide a gooey marshmallow onto an apple slice, and finish with a dollop of apple butter. Devour while warm.
Baked apples. I’ve made these in the crockpot and the oven. My kids loved the Skinnytaste version. For an extra special treat, serve a la mode.
Apple nachos. These are on my recipe list for the weekend. Apples? Peanut Butter? Nutella? Yes, please!
Apple crumble pizza. An indulgent-yet-healthy dessert. I served this at brunch with chai tea. Wowzers.
Apple butter donuts. Alas, I do not have a donut pan, so I made these as muffins. And instead of the glaze (though I’m sure it’s scrumptious), I filled the muffin cups with half of the batter, then added a tablespoon of apple butter before topping with the remaining batter.
Apple walnut lentil salad. Crisp, sour apples make excellent salad toppings, especially when paired with spinach. Add toasted walnuts, cooked brown lentils, and Parmesan cheese. We ate ours drizzled with a balsamic honey mustard dressing which is really just a hybrid of two of my all-time favorites.
BBQ chicken apple pizza. Everyone in the family LOVED this pizza variation. I used an ABin5 dough, slathered it with a thin layer of BBQ sauce, and added finely sliced apples followed by a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. I topped it off with BBQ rotisserie chicken and sliced onions. A new family favorite!
Apple pie grilled cheese. Change up your lunch routine with this funky sandwich. Doesn’t it look scrumptious? I can’t wait to try it!
Apple cheese cookies. I’ve made these several times now, and they make perfect road trip snacks. I’ve got a whole post on these babies coming soon!
Scrumptious apple pie. And last, but certainly not least, if you need a showstopping dessert for any occasion, I can highly recommend this recipe from Pioneer Woman. You’ll never go back to regular ol’ apple pie again! (p.s. – it’s pretty easy to make your own caramel sauce!)
So, instead of going bonkers for a few hours on Pinterest, I’d love to hear your favorite apple recipes. Leave a link in the comments, and I’ll gladly take a peek.