Most people would probably be rolling in the leaves this time of year.
Not our family.
We’re rolling in the apples.
Three weeks ago, we went to the apple orchard and picked 3 full bushels of apples (that’s 6 baskets). This weekend as we prepared to return for the later varieties, I figure we had already eaten more than half. I didn’t preserve a single one and only made one pot of applesauce.
We are a family of five.
The kids who have teeth are only 6 and 3 years old.
Methinks we eat a lot of apples!
This trip, we bought five bushels and really filled the garage…
Anybody want an apple?
10 Ways to Use Apples and Embrace Fall
Some of the best fall smells are associated with apples: the fresh apples filling the garage and Farmer’s Markets, the cinnamon-rich, homestyle smell of applesauce cooking on the stove, and of course the buttery-flaky baking smell of a from-scratch apple pie. A simple trip to the orchard is one of our family’s favorite autumn activities, hands down.
As I gaze proudly at the dozen or so assorted quarts and pints of canned applesauce on the counter and realize they cost less than $3 total, I pretty much think I’m rocking out the frugal food scene. (Even better yet are some readers who are foraging apples this fall – way to go, ladies!)
In-season apples feel like just about the most frugal snack, fruit, ingredient or food, period, that I can buy. While prices on everything we eat soar, I’m thrilled that I can still get a huge mess of apples for under $11/bushel. (Michigan’s a great place to live for real food…but we have snow to deal with half the year too, before you get super jealous.)
Apples are a great food to focus on for this Eat Well, Spend Less series, and if you don’t have inexpensive apples in your locale, try Stephanie Langford’s Real Food on a Real Budget for more comprehensive food purchasing strategies, on sale now for half off with the code MEALPLAN50.
Here are some of the ways we will deplete the boxes and bags of apples before they freeze:
1. Eat the apples
(in case you didn’t notice that one)
I think my husband would like me to try Kelly’s real food caramel apple topping this year, eh?
2. Share the apples
I took 25 washed apples to my son’s first grade class this morning for their community snack. One little boy in line when I delivered them said enthusiastically, “Yeah, apples!”
Ah, the power of real food.
3.Bake with the apples
- Apple Squares (pictured above)
- Apple Crisp (the free download from the upcoming desserts book!)
- Baked Apples (just core and sprinkle streusel type topping – also a grain-free version in the desserts book)
- Grain-free Apple Flax Muffins (top photo)
4. Sauce the apples
Whether you own a canner or not, making applesauce is mandatory if you have more than a dozen apples in the house. It takes no fancy equipment.
You can do it with skins or without, using perfect apples or mushy, iffy-looking ones, and preserve it in the freezer or canned. Or just eat it, of course. Applesauce will stay good in the fridge for weeks.
I made quite a bit this weekend, and my mother-in-law was surprised when I said, “Just apples and cinnamon,” after she complemented it. Her eyebrows raised into the “Wow there’s no sweetener in these?” position.
Just apples and cinnamon. (Lots of cinnamon.) Add a little water. Cook until mushy. If you leave the skins on, whiz it thoroughly with a stick blender.
5. Dry the apples
- Applesauce Fruit Rolls are explained both in Healthy Snacks to Go and how to preserve apples. You can make “fruit roll-up” substitutes even if you don’t have a dehydrator!
- Dried Apples (above) are quick and easy and last a really long time. I still have some in my vehicle as “emergency car snacks” from last year’s bounty. Here’s how to dehydrate apples. Check out this cool grain-free dried apple pie from Stephanie – on the someday list!
- Maple Apple Chips are on the “must try” list for me. My friend who is babysitting my dehydrator while I’m between houses tells me that very thinly sliced apples become chips after about 30 hours on 135F.
6. Freeze the apples
I don’t think I have room in the freezer this year, but I usually freeze at least one bag for later. Peel, slice and freeze in quart-sized bags to use in baked recipes like apple crisp or maybe this Apple Pie from Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.
7. Breakfast with the apples
Do you plan your breakfasts? With recipes like these, you might have to start. If you input online recipes into meal planning software like Plan to Eat, do make sure you attribute them. Thanks!
8. Throw the apples
Only the fallen apples when you’re waiting for the tractor to come pick you up, of course:
9. Mix the apples
…with yogurt, that is.
10. Ferment the apples
I’m not a very experienced fermenter, but it’s coming up on my “time to do it” list once we’re settled in our new house. Luckily, I’ll have all the wisdom of the GNOWFGLINS eCourse on fermented foods from which to draw: doesn’t this fermented apple chutney (pictured above) look amazing?
If I get my hands on my dehydrator while we still have apples waiting to be preserved, I might actually try the fermented fruit leather demonstrated in this month’s eCourse thank you video. Be brave, Katie!
Bonus: How do you Wash an Apple?
I tested 8 different kinds of produce wash on apples, including homemade, commercial and rubbing on the jeans. You’ll never guess what was the second most effective!
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
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