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Apple Picking Guide

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree—especially when you pick it. Enjoy these in-season treats!


One sunny October afternoon a few years ago, my roommates and I headed out into the brisk fall air to have our hand at a classic autumnal activity: apple picking. At an apple orchard in rural Missouri, we each paid five dollars for large plastic bags and subsequently all the apples we could cram into said bags. After an afternoon of climbing trees and plucking perfectly ripe little beauties, the five of us headed home with what felt like close to 200 apples. 
What we had on our hands was an ample apple harvest, either a prelude for imminent waste, or a chance to combine two economic recession resolutions—buying in bulk and in-sourcing—into one golden-apple solution. We exercised buying in bulk by picking out own, which gave us more apples for less money. In-sourcing is the economist’s technical term for do-it-yourself, and we were about to DIY our way out of our apple abundance. To handle the numerous apples you’re sure to enjoy this autumn, VN’s compiled these handy resources for keeping your apple harvest, whether from the orchard or the supermarket, bearing fruit all fall. 

Refreshing and Raw
Eating apples fresh is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy them, and also ensuree that you’re getting all their plentiful nutrients—such as fiber and vitamin C—and apples boast an uncanny ability to build your immune system and combat upcoming winter colds. Apples in salads add a surprising sweetness and crunch—try an Apple and Raisin Salad, Apple Fennel Salad, or apple, sunflower seed, and coconut salad. Apple salads with hearty grains are another way to get the fall effect, such as Couscous Salad, Barley Fruit Salad, or a delicious winter rice salad. And then of course, there’s the old apples and peanut butter stand-by routine, which has the added bonus of extra protein.

Baked to Perfection
Using apples in baked goods makes for sweet, amazing desserts or breakfast breads that scream autumn. Hearty and sweet strudel, Apple Dumplings, and Apple Cobbler are all sure crowd-pleasers on either a chilly afternoon or a special occasion. Spice breads, Cocoa Apple Cakes, or apple cupcakes are melt-in-your-mouth ways to put the apples to good use. For a sweet way to start the day, go for apple pancakes, apple crepes, apple and cranberry oatmeal, or Mini-Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake. Apples also make amazing muffins—such as zucchini-carrot-apple muffins, Apple Crunch Muffins, or Apple and Walnut Muffins. And you can simply bake apples into Crispy Apple Skins or dishes such as baked apples that go great with dairy-free vanilla ice cream.

Saved for Later
Aside from canning, there are other alternatives to making your apple bounty last longer. Mulled Cran-Apple Cider is a fall treat that cannot be beat and a veg-alternative to eggnog at upcoming holiday parties. Apple butter is perfect for spreading on breads and biscuits. Apple sauce is another super simple way to put a lot of apples to good use. And of course, you can always make crisp, refreshing apple juice

Enjoy the apple and autumn season! 

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