Be they from the market or orchard, I’ll tell you what to do
As soon as the air in Manhattan changes from warm and foul-smelling to cool and crisp, I get the urge to eat apples. I’ll buy them by the armful at the Greenmarket and take any chance I can get for a day trip to an apple orchard—those also tend to have the best sugar-rolled cider doughnuts. As is often the case with me and seasonal produce, I tend to black out and find myself back in my kitchen with pounds of fruit. There’s no room in my kitchen to store all these apples, let alone in my belly.
There are, however, a few dishes I whip out of my back pocket to use up those apples. I then cram the baked goods into my freezer to parcel out as housewarming gifts and last-minute brunch additions. Instead of planning to have an apple and peanut butter 5 times a day for the foreseeable future, try these.
DIY applesauce not only makes your kitchen smell like fall, it tastes about a billion times better than store-bought stuff. It’s the perfect solution to the apples that aren’t pretty enough for snacking: the bruised, mushy, brown ones you might just toss if you didn’t feel so bad. If you wind up with too much applesauce to finish within a week, see the next suggestion.
Baked Goods (cake and crisp and pie and cobbler and muffins and bread)
Sweet and tender apples are cake’s ideal playmate. Goes double for crisp or crumble—brown sugar-butter-oat toppings seem to have been invented with apples in mind. Need I even mention the wonder that is apple pie? PS, if you’re not putting cheddar cheese on apple pie you’re missing out. Tart apples like Granny Smith go especially well, but really, anything goes. Plus, if you’re in the market to use up excess applesauce, toss it into a quick bread or cake instead of oil for extra moisture and sweetness.
If you’re not eating baked apples for breakfast, I suggest you start now. Better yet, stuff those baked apples with oatmeal.
Apple butter is sort of like applesauce. It’s more work, but also tastes infinitely better on toast. The easiest way to make apple butter is to toss chopped apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a slow-cooker, flip on the switch for 5 hours, blend the product into a smooth spread, then cook it a bit more until thick and sweet. Store the spread in jars for a week or so, or in the freezer for months.
Turkey Apple Sausage
Diced apples turn ground turkey and seasoning into a breakfast sausage that’s begging to be dunked in maple syrup (don’t @ me).
To use up just a few apples, allow me to suggest the following: Stir diced apples into oatmeal, layer thinly sliced apples on grilled cheese sandwiches, core the apples and then fill the center with nut butter and raisins, lay thinly sliced apples on a frying pancake, and finally (my favorite), dunk the apples in caramel, then roll them in chopped toasted nuts.