Born in central Asia, bred around the globe, and beloved by the Western diet, apples are one of the world’s ubiquitous crops. They’re grown in all 50 states, where the average American eats roughly 10 pounds of the fruit each year. And it’s a good thing, too. Boasting everything from quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid (antioxidants) to fiber and immune-boosting vitamin C, apples have been touted to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.
Bountiful health benefits aside, the fruits are just darned delicious and nostalgic. Few flavors summon visions of fall quite like apples baked in pies, fried in fritters, or squeezed into cider.
While apples are available in the U.S. all year round, many varieties reach peak ripeness in the early fall, from late August through October. In the test kitchen, we take advantage of the seasonal bounty with an array of applications that make the most of this beloved fruit.
Here are a few of our favorites:
A simple, cinnamon-oatmeal streusel topping transforms fresh apples (we recommend Braeburns) into a warm, mouthwatering seasonal dessert…or breakfast.
Roasted apples bring a touch of sweetness to Brussels sprouts and bacon in this flavorful fall side dish.
A comforting fall cake made with apples, pecans, and a warming blend of seven spices, all topped off with a sweet rum glaze.
Everyone and their grandma has an apple pie recipe, but this one’s mine: A classic, golden, flaky double crust envelops a sweet, velvety filling balanced with unique spices like peppery grains of paradise.
Sweet Fuji apples balance out tart cranberries in this old-fashioned drinking vinegar. Add Prosecco for a low-ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktail that’s perfect for holiday entertaining.
We dare you to come up with a better use for leftover apple pie.