5 Alternative Apple Recipes That Take Advantage of the Harvest

Apple season is approaching, and for many that means that apple pies, crisps, and cobblers will soon be making their way into kitchens. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh apple pie to get you in the mood for fall, but just in case you’re looking for a different way to use apples this season, check out these 5 recipes that turn the crisp and crunchy fruit into a new spread or quickbread.

Source: iStock

1. Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce is a classic snack or side dish that will never become outdated. This recipe from Ina Garten is easy and requires only 20 minutes of prep time, and your goods will last for days.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large navel oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 to 8 apples)
  • 3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap (about 6 to 8 apples)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl. Peel, quarter, and core the apples (reserving the peel of two of the red apples) and toss them in the juice. Pour the apples, reserved apple peel, and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot. Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and allspice and cover the pot. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until all the apples are soft. Remove and discard the red apple peel. Mix with a whisk until smooth, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: iStock

2. Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Next up is homemade apple butter, served right out of your slow cooker with this recipe from Brown Eyed BakerSpread this topping on bread or combine it with cheese and crackers to make your fall snacks all the more sophisticated.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions: Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.

Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to two months.

Source: iStock

3. Homemade Apple Cider

Or you can always drink your fruit nutrients by stopping by your local farmers market and then whipping up this homemade apple cider from Food.com with your bounty. Apples, sugar, cinnamon, and allspice are all you need for this seasonal treat.

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 apples
  • ½ to 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons allspice

Directions: Quarter your apples without peeling or removing seeds. In a large stock pot, add your apples and fill with water –just enough to cover the apples. Add your sugar. Wrap your cinnamon and allspice in a doubled-up cheese cloth and tie, and add this to the apples and water.

Boil on high for 1 hour, uncovered, checking on it frequently. Turn down heat and let simmer for 2 hours, covered. Take off the heat after 2 hours of simmering and let cool. Remove spices and mash up the apples to a pulp-like consistency. Once cool, pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained away, put the remainder of the pulp into a doubled-up cheese cloth and squeeze over the bowl until no more juice comes out.

You can store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week, or you can freeze it for later use if you like.

Source: iStock

4. Apple Bread

A healthier alternative to the always-adored apple crisp and apple cobbler is apple bread, a simple quickbread that doesn’t call for any yeast. While many people think pumpkin bread come fall, you should step out the box and go for fresh apples rather than canned pumpkin byusing this recipe from Taste of Home.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped peeled apples
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk eggs, oil and vanilla until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (batter will be thick). Fold in apples and walnuts.

Transfer to two greased 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Source: Thinkstock

5. Baked Apples with Oatmeal Filling

This fall, you also have the option of baking a low-calorie dessert that involves enlisting baked apples as a vehicle for hot whole-grain oats. Check out this recipe from Joy Bauer and see what we’re talking about. This healthy dessert comes together in less than 45 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples
  • 1 cups oats, rolled
  • ½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Core and slightly hollow out the apples with a spoon, leaving the bottom of the apples intact to create a well for the filling. Place the apples in a pie pan. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, applesauce, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and optional lemon zest. Fill and top each apple with the oat mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the sides of the apples are soft and easily pierced with a knife.

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