Here’s some shocking news: Apples are good for us! The plump little fruits are chock-full of Vitamin C and fiber and have been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, certain cancers, and asthma—so we can understand why a person wouldn’t want to chuck ’em Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Boyer, J., Liu, R.H. Department of Food Science and Institute of Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Nutrition Journal, 2004 May 12;3:5.. But it’s easy to go hog wild at a farmer’s market and end up with more raw apples than a belly can handle in one sitting (or even several). So we’ve rounded up 55 creative ways to maximize apples’ benefits and keep them from going to waste.
Sometimes all we need to make apples appetizing again (even after we’ve consumed half the bushel) is to change their form: Chop ’em, bake ’em, sprinkle sugar over ’em—suddenly the stomach is crying out for more. The following is a list of healthy recipes that’ll use up those apples in no time (and they sure beat store-bought apple pie).
2. Stew ’em. Pair the stewed apples from this recipe with whole-grain waffles or toast, some plain yogurt (the apples will provide enough sweetness!), or oatmeal for a snazzy, vitamin-packed addition to breakfast.
4. Make apple butter. After simmering and pureeing those apples, you’ll be able spread them over whole-grain toasts and bagels for many breakfasts to come (a great alternative to butter or margarine).
5. Make apple sauce. The childhood classic is fairly easy to make healthy (as long as you don’t dump a ton of sugar in there), and can use up a whole bunch of apples in one go. Bonus: Use the sauce to make an apple sauce cake.
6. Add them to sandwiches. PB&A is the new PB&J. Apples also go great with turkey, Swiss, and mustard on whole grain bread.
7. Make a gratin. The round fruit will be barely recognizable after mixing it with eggs (for a healthy dash of protein) and popping it in the broiler.
8. Add them to pancakes. This recipe had us at “pancakes.” The apples give the ’cakes a texture similar to potato latkes, and add sweetness without all those refined sugars.
9. Stuff them with curry. Transport a curry to new heights by loading it into a warm, cored-out apple. Chock-full of veggies, this curry only adds to the apple’s health benefits.
10. Add them to chicken. It might not look very appetizing, but this recipe tastes good and gives the body a dose of protein and antioxidants, to boot.
11. Add them to soups. Mix some vitamin A with apples’ vitamin C in this Carrot-Apple-Ginger soup.
12. Make a compote. With no added sugar and a cornucopia of antioxidants, this fruit compote is a healthy, delectable way to use up those apples and spruce up a breakfast, snack, or dessert.
13. Pickle them. Just in time for cold season, this spicy recipe uses up apples and goes to war on behalf of the immune system.
14. Turn them into relish. Relish this relish recipe! Up the health factor by using less sugar than the recipe calls for.
15. Add ’em to salads. Apples brighten up any salad and add some juicy crunch to those greens. For a salad that’ll keep you full, check out this apple, pecan, and bleu cheese salad recipe.
16. Turn them into a marinade. Make a marinade for meat dishes with a healthy dose of apples, garlic, and spices.
17. Grill them. These flavorful apple rings make for an awesome side of vitamin C and deliciousness.
18. Make a chutney. Chock full of apples, onions, garlic, and spices, this chutney is basically a delectable mashup of superfoods.
19. Make a salsa. For a preservative-free version of the store-bought stuff, make this spicy apple salsa.
20. Add ’em to coleslaw. Finally, a mayo-free coleslaw that looks just as delicious as the original version!
21. Mush ’em into jam. Jam recipes usually call for a lot of sugar, but what sets this homemade jam apart from the store-bought stuff is that it’s made with fresh fruit and contains no preservatives.
22. Bake ’em into chips. For a healthier alternative to the potato variety, try out this recipe for homemade apple chips.
23. Whip up a tartine. A tart-what? We’re not sure either, but it seems to be a healthier version of dessert pizza—whole-wheat flour, apples, and some natural sweeteners produce a meal fit for any time of day.
24. Scramble ’em with sausage. This sausage and apple sauté is full of protein, herbs, apples, and some healthy fats from olive oil. Replace the sausage in this recipe with turkey sausage for a leaner meat alternative.
25. Serve a healthier dessert. Slice some apples in half, scoop out the center, and fill it with raisins, honey, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Bake and top with Greek yogurt—you might not miss the pie and ice cream (but no guarantees).
26. Mix them with chickpeas. For a low-fat, vegetarian protein dish, check out this recipe for apples and chickpeas—the perfect dinner for a brisk fall day.
27. Put ‘em in a frittata. This frittata is so low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat it’s almost hard to believe. (It calls for egg substitute, but we’re happy to use the real things.)
28. Stuff ’em into a squash. This dish calls on the health properties of apples, pecans, squash, and lean turkey sausage—with beautiful results.
29. Add ’em to granola. All that’s needed to make this apple granola is a blender, a roasting pan, and an oven. Cut down on the sugar to make it even healthier.
30. Cook ’em with sprouts. Brussels sprouts are all the rage this time of year, and when paired with apples and butter they’re pretty much an unbeatably delicious side dish.
31. Bake some bread. The description of this apple-cinnamon bread had us drooling. Swap in whole-wheat flour to make it even more nutritious.
32. Put ‘em in a pie. Okay, so it’s predictable, but it’s also classic: Apple pie is probably one of the greatest comfort foods out there. Make it healthier by cooking the filling in the apple—it’ll cut back on excess crust (and look really cool!).
34. Make some alcoholic popsicles. Don’t mind if we do! Cherries, apples, and limes add a shot of color and antioxidants to this frozen whiskey treat.
36. Give the dog a treat. Make Fido’s day with these homemade, preservative-free dog treats.
37. Add them to smoothies. Perhaps one of the quickest ways to get rid of leftover apples is to drink them for breakfast every day until they’re gone. Keep the classic b-fast beverage interesting by trying out these varied apple smoothie recipes.
38. Make apple juice. The homemade, unfiltered, unsweetened variety retains all the good stuff and adds nothing bad.
39. Make cider. This might be surprising, but it’s not that hard to make apple cider at home. The homemade stuff is full of vitamin C and doesn’t use any preservatives or added sugar.
40. Make hard cider. This one’s a little more complicated, but for those dedicated to getting their gluten-free drink on, we’re sure the reward is worth the investment.
41. Infuse some vodka. It sounds fancy-pantsy, but it’s really easy-peasy. Just chop up some apples, pour vodka over them, and let the mixture sit around for a few days or a couple weeks. Voila!
42. Hold candles. Fill a boring Saturday and pretty up a home with these homemade apple candle holders.
44. Suck up extra salt. If you’ve sweated over a soup or sauce only to discover you added too much salt, don’t fret! Just toss a few apple slices into the pot, stir, and remove before serving—they’ll absorb the extra salt and guests will be none the wiser.
45. Soften brown sugar. Who hasn’t opened up a bag of brown sugar only to find that it’s calcified into a couple of grainy bricks? No worries: Just pop an apple slice into a sealed bag, place the bag in the brown sugar, and in a few days those grains will sift right through your fingers.
46. Ripen other fruits. The ethylene gas emitted by apples can help avocados, bananas, and other fruits ripen more quickly, so plop an apple in the fruit basket next to these other fruits next time you don’t feel like waiting five days to make guacamole.
47. Keep baked goods moist. Plop a cake or other baked goods into an airtight container with half an apple. They’ll stay fresh longer thanks to the apple’s moisture.
48. Amp up a workout. While doing crunches, squeeze an apple between the thighs for an added muscular challenge.
49. Drink out of them. These simple apple cups are easy to make, easy on Mother Earth (since they eliminate the use of disposable cups or the washing of reusable ones), and easy to munch down on if you’re in need of a snack after that drink.
50. Nip a headache in the bud. Studies have found that smelling a green apple can reduce the intensity of a migraine and help it end sooner.
51. Give yourself a facial. Apply apples’ health powers to your face with an apple and honey face mask.
52. Make stamps. Add a homemade touch to holiday cards with these easy-to-make apple stamps.
53. Shrink some heads. Halloween may be over, but you can still get your gruesome on with these crafty shrunken heads.
54. Make a bird feeder. Make a Mother-Earth-friendly birdfeeder from completely biodegradable (and bird-safe) materials. Or, if not feeling particularly crafty, just toss the fruits out into the yard and let the animals do the work themselves. Bird populations are dwindling these days, so they can use all the help they get.
55. Share them! If there are still some apples left over, we have to wonder how many you bought (we’re imagining several truck’s full). But seriously: sharing is caring. And eating with other people is often more fun (and better for our health) than eating alone.