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Apples Are Autumn’s Bargain: Here’s How to Use Them

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but just eating fruit in hand isn’t really a viable solution when you’ve given in to the seductive fall apple displays at farmer’s markets or overbought at the u-pick farm.

At least they’re a cheap vice: at this time of year, abundant local varieties often cost less than $1 per pound. They’re versatile, too. You can use them in recipes either sweet or savory, and many of the preparations can be frozen, dried or canned for the long haul.

Frugal Foodie just opened her last can of applesauce made from last year’s haul — a mammoth weight of aptly named “Fortune” apples (as in, “I saved a” rather than “that cost a “) that yielded a dozen jars of sauce. Now she’s looking to repeat the process with this year’s harvest.

Except maybe with a little more versatility. We asked chefs, foodies and other experts to share their favorite cheap apple recipes. Here are their tasty and creative takes:

Avocado, Jicama and Apple Salad

“The red onion and hot peppers give this sweet, refreshing salad a dose of unexpected vigor,” say Robin Donovan and Juliana Gallin, authors of The Lazy Gourmet. In a large serving bowl, whisk together two tablespoons each of lime juice, honey and olive oil, a half-teaspoon each of kosher salt, black pepper and cumin. Add two chopped avocadoes, a cup and a half chopped jicama, one large chopped apple, a quarter-cup diced red onion, and one or two seeded, diced chiles. Stir gently to coat with the dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Simple Applesauce

Frugal Foodie makes a fast, low-sugar applesauce. Quarter as many apples as desired. Boil a large pan of water and add the quartered apples in batches. Cook for one minute, and then process through a food mill to separate the pulp from the skin and seeds. Heat the pulp in a saucepan with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sugar to taste. (With a sweeter apple, you may not need much, so take it easy.) Add a splash of lemon juice if needed.

Apple-Rosemary Turnovers

“They freeze uncooked beautifully,” says Katerina Wright of “Daily Unadventures in Cooking” of her turnovers. Make them in bulk, and then cook frozen.

Dried Apples

Dry out a large quantity of apples, and you’ll have a good supply for topping yogurt and oatmeal, adding to trail mix and enjoying solo as a snack, says Lina Zussino of GroceryAlerts.ca. (MrFood.com also has a recipe for Ham and Dumplings that calls for them.) To make, peel and core apples and then slice into rings about 
1/4-inch thick. Place onto wooden skewers that you have soaked in water overnight. Combine four cups water and juice from one lemon into a shallow bowl. Place the apple-loaded skewers into the water, submerging for 15 minutes. Drain the water and dry the apple ring skewers with a paper towel. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Arrange the apple rings from the skewer on a baking sheet, making sure they do not touch or overlap. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven and allow the apple rings to dry in the oven, with the oven door closed, for three hours.

Apple Rum

A spokeswoman for BlackBeard Spiced Rum advises soaking two or three peeled, cored apples in a liter of rum to match its vanilla and caramel notes. “Think caramel coated apples, but in a glass,” she says. Stab one of the apples with a few whole cloves. Place them all in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and soak in a cool, dark place for at least 10 days. Then discard the apple with the cloves. For an “Apple Hook Infusion,” shake up two ounces of the rum with an ounce of apple juice, half an ounce of lime juice and half and ounce of simple syrup.

Apple Chiffon Mousse

Frugal Foodie already uses her homemade applesauce in pancakes and breads. This year, she’s psyched to try this frozen mousse recipe from MrFood.com, which also features homemade (or store-bought) sauce.

Turkey with Apple Gravy

The apples become part of the gravy in this recipe from dietician Jackie Newgent, author of Big Green Cookbook. “It’s perfect for a casual Thanksgiving dinner for four — ready in minutes, not hours,” she says. Stir three tablespoons olive oil with a teaspoon minced rosemary, salt and pepper to taste until combined. Add a one-pound turkey breast and a large, diced apple and toss to coat. Roast at 400°F until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey registers 170°F and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
(Newgent cuts the turkey into four “mini roasts” and cooks the whole thing in the toaster oven, which roasts it in roughly 16 minutes.) Let turkey stand for 5 minutes to allow to finish cooking. Meanwhile, transfer the apples and any pan juices into a bowl. Add two teaspoons apple cider vinegar and mash with a potato masher until a thick applesauce-like consistency. Serve turkey topped with the apple gravy.

Spiced Pear Applesauce

Bored with plain apples-only applesauce? Sarah Caron of “Sarah’s Cucina Bella” came up with this hybrid sauce to rescue a few nearly gone pears.

Trio of Veggie-Apple Soups

“Apples are wonderful in almost any vegetable soup,” says Wright. “They especially pair wonderfully with squashes and root vegetables.” She’s made versions with carrot, parsnip, and even celery.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.