Each year, my seasons are dominated more by which fruit and veg are available than the months! Late autumn signals crispy, crunchy apples and pears, feijoas and persimmons for me.
I went to write about all the lovely autumn fare, and then realised that apples demanded an article almost to themselves – they are just so versatile.
So, what can we do with apples? Some very traditional things that bring back childhood memories and some things that are pretty surprising.
- Apple pancakes. A lovely twist on regular pancakes with that lovely sweet/tart flavour shining through.
- If you’re starting the day with a smoothie, why not add some apple? A lovely way to boost fibre.
- Bircher muesli. Adding grated apple to a soaked muesli or on top of the oatmeal gives a subtle sweetness.
- Apple fritters. A decadent breakfast alternative. You’ll be wishing you hadn’t cooked so many!
- French fries. OK, so it’s a big cheat, but cutting apple as fries is a lovely way to serve them on the plate.
- Green apple slaw. Apples give coleslaw a tasty boost.
- Celery/apple salad. My mother always used to make this to serve with cold lunches. Diced apple and celery mixed with mayo, nuts and raisins. It’s the only time I’ve seen my eldest chow celery with gusto!
- Apple and black bean salsa. Probably not a traditional Mexican dish, but it sure tastes good.
- Apple pie and apple crumble. Nothing beats a warming dessert straight from the oven on a cold, dark evening. Grain free? No problem, there are so many delicious alternatives.
- Baked apples. My mother used to do these a lot. Quick and simple to prepare, and they just go in the oven alongside the dinner. Stuff with dried fruit for additional sweetness or sprinkle with spices for a flavour boost.
- Apple roses. Having a dinner party or just wanting to impress. Create an apple rose and no one will be able to resist.
- Apples are a clever addition to soups, offering an unusual depth of flavour. Marry them with all those traditional autumn veg, such as pumpkin, parsnip and carrot.
- Nut butter ‘sandwiches’. Just spread apple slices with your favourite nut butter and add dried fruit if you wish for a simple, filling snack. Or pair with a slice of cheese.
- Dried apple, fruit leather or apple chips. Apples make a great snack, and changing them up adds a new dimension.
- Apple turnovers, apple cake, apple strudel and cheesecake. There are so many ways to use apples in baking.
- Or if you’re looking for a more savoury offering, try some apple muffins or a spicy apple loaf.
- Apple jelly. Serve in a scooped-out apple and it’s perfect for a party.
- Apple sauce is so versatile. My boys live on yoghurt and porridge, but it’s perfect to use as a sweetener in many recipes, or served alongside roast pork.
- Apple butter. Yes, it’s a thing! Cook apple sauce long and slow until the sugars in the apple caramelise and voila, you have a dark, deep flavoured sauce.
- Indian relish. Like mango, apple can make a lovely, fresh accompaniment to a curry when mixed with spices.
- Apple chutney. My nine-year-old loves making this, and we always have a jar in the fridge to serve with cold meats or salads.
- Apple cider vinegar. Lauded for its health benefits, ACV can be used in so many recipes or used as a natural health boost.
And there’s more!
- Put too much salt in the soup? Add apple wedges to absorb the salt then take them out before serving.
- Have something that needs ripening? Put with apples to speed up the process.
- Wanting the cakes to stay fresh? Add half an apple to the cake tin to maintain moisture levels.
- When roasting a chicken, swap the lemon for an apple to stuff the cavity. Try it and see how moist it keeps the chicken!
Judith Yeabsley is a mum of two boys who is passionate about healthy food for kids. She runs a food art website, theartofnutrition.com, focusing on presenting fruit and veges creatively. She also works to change the food environment in schools, community groups and lunchboxes. For information on this and great recipes, see theartofnutrition.co.nz.
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