What to make with alllll the apples you've just picked
From homemade fruit leather to fall-ready salad dressings, you'll want to hit the orchard if you haven't yet
Maybe you've got an apple tree in your yard, or you've gone apple picking and now can't see your kitchen counter for the fruit — that's me. Every fall around this time I feel an obsessive need to get my hands on as many apples as possible, because apple picking is one of the rites of fall, my kids love apples, they're healthy, and they taste exceptionally good in season. Oh, and of course, PIES.
Once I get the apples home, however, my ambition quickly fizzles; I'm easily overwhelmed with what to do with them all. So this year, I've put together a list of all the ways you and I can use all our apples, and get through the season together in the most delicious way.
When you have a big batch of apples, the best thing to do is make a big batch of recipes that actually preserve these delicious apples...
For instance, you can make a big batch of applesauce and freeze it. Leave the skin on — they'll add colour and nutrients as they do in this Rose Pink Applesauce. A simmered apple puree is also a genius stand-in for part of the fat in your cake or muffin recipes. Try this Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese & Honey Frosting and you'll see what I mean.
Jar up a big batch of apple butter or chutney to serve with the meat at all your fall feasts. Don't do meat? Use apple butter on toast, pancakes, or spread thinly inside cheese quesadillas. Look up a recipe online, preferably one with apple cider for an extra layer of flavour. Intimidated by canning? Portion it out your batch and freeze it just like applesauce.
Chop up raw apples and freeze them for future pancakes, smoothies, muffins and cakes. You'll probably want to remove the skin for everything except apples intended for smoothies; and keep that skin to add to said smoothies as a fibre boost. Since raw cut apples oxidize quickly, submerge them for five minutes in a lemon juice bath after chopping them and before freezing them. To do this mix ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled, with 4 cups of water to make an acidic, anti-browning solution. Once the slices have taken a dip, layer them on a baking tray in a single layer and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Then freeze them overnight before popping them into air-tight freezer containers or bags and freezing those until you need them.
Dehydrate apples in your oven for healthy dried apple rings, an ideal snack for kids' lunches and on-the-go activities. They're also an essential ingredient in this Apple Rocky Road. Or, leave the core and seeds intact for a more rustic look, and string those rings together for a crafty and festive fall wreath. Just be sure to follow the lemon-bath method from above to preserve the apples' colour as they dry.
Cook the fruit down and puree apples before drying that out to make apple fruit leather. You'll find lots of recipes online to help you do this. Look for one loaded with warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to build flavour and really throw to fall. Bonus: homemade fruit leather freezes well, so make it a production.
And aside from preserving your apples, you should whip up some recipes that let you enjoying your apples ASAP.
Throw together a triple batch of pie or crisp filling. Use apples in a casserole like a baked Apple Noodle Kugel. Turn your applesauce into a dressing, and similar to applesauce, make a mostarda, perfect for pairing with roasts.
All of these recipes follow, and I'm even throwing one in for your pup!
Jessica Brooks is a digital producer and pro-trained cook and baker. Follow her food stories on Instagram @brooks_cooks.