Fall is coming and that means apples on apples on apples. But you don’t have to spend all weekend at the orchard to enjoy fall’s favorite fruit (definitely put it on the family bucket list though!). Plenty of apple varieties are readily available at your local supermarket. In fact, there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States alone, so you’ve got options.
Whatever variety you decide to pick up, make the most of this seasonal ingredient with these tips for cleaning, storing and using fresh apples.
General Apple Tips
- Bye, Bye Brown: To keep apples from browning, simply dip your apple slices in lemon, orange or lime juice.
- Wax Job: Typically farms will wax apples to protect them from rot, diseases and bruising. The waxed apples will be labeled as such at the store. They’ve been waxing apples to protect them since the 1920s, and most wax is certified by the USDA as safe to eat. If you’d prefer not to eat or clean off the wax, look for organic apples without the wax coating, or peel off the skin. (And if you think the organic apples still look and feel like they have wax on them, that’s because they do! Apples naturally produce a wax coating; farms apply more to prolong shelf life.)
- Wax On, Wax Off: To clean the wax off an apple, gently scrub it with white vinegar or a fruit/vegetable spray. Then rinse well with water and dry.
- The Dark Side: Apples like cold, dark places. The best place to store apples is in a dark bin in your fridge. Be sure to remove any damaged apples, because it’s true what they say – one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.
- Damage Control: Don’t toss those damaged apples! You can juice bruised apples or use them to make applesauce. Or slice and sauté them with a little brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and they take on a caramel color that completely hides the bruising.
- Chill Out: To freeze apples, dip your apple slices into citrus juice, lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze until hard. Remove the frozen slices from the baking sheet and store in a freezer bag.
Fresh Apple Recipes
Just the smell of fresh apples at the store gets me excited for fall, and it only gets better from there. Simmer apples and cinnamon on the stove, and your entire home smells like the season. Here are nine apple recipes that taste (and smell!) just like fall.
- Apple Pancakes: Add shredded apple to pancakes, or top your favorite pancakes with sweet sautéed apples instead of syrup.
- Apple Pie Apples: Bake apple pies inside actual apples for a fun dessert that’s healthier than your average slice.
- Apple Chips: Thinly (and carefully!) slice apples with a mandolin or knife and bake until crunchy for a healthy alternative to potato chips.
- Apple Salad: Slice apples and add them to your favorite salads. And not just green salads! Diced apples add delicious crunch to chicken salad too.
- Homemade Applesauce: Steam apples and blend into applesauce.
- Apple Slaw: Toss shredded apples with grated carrots and a light dressing for a crunchy, colorful and simple fall slaw.
- Apple "Donuts": Core apples and slice crosswise into circles, then top with peanut butter and other fixings like oatmeal, granola or chocolate chips. These apple “donuts” make a perfect after-school snack.
- Apple Cheddar Bites: This recipe for apple cheddar “pitza” is so easy, even the kids can help make it.
- Apple Soup: Roast apples with onions, squash and other seasonal veggies, then blend it all into a creamy soup that tastes extra good on chilly fall nights.
Here’s to a fall filled with fruit that tastes good and is good for you. Happy apple season!