So You Went Apple Picking: 5 Things to Make that Aren't Pie

Apple picking is my absolute favorite fall activity (besides sipping my first PSL of the season, of course). Hailing from Long Island, I make a point of visiting Harbes Orchard in Riverhead every September during their apple festival, which is a jam-packed weekend complete with live entertainment, hayrides, and homemade hard cider (for those of age!). Closer to campus, you can also check out orchards in Westchester, such as Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem. If you can make the time, it is rewarding to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and emerge refreshed (with arms full of fresh produce). But what about all of the apples? You lugged them all the way back to campus, so don’t let them go to waste. Here are five ways to make use of your delicious, hand-picked apples — and impress your friends!

  1. 1. Make apple turnovers (and freeze the leftovers!).

    Apple turnovers are great because they incorporate all of the deliciousness of apple pie without the messiness and waste. Apple turnovers made with frozen pre-made puff pastry are even better. Before you head to the orchard, remove the puff pastry from the freezer and set it on the counter to thaw. After your apple picking excursion, whip up a simple filling of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, cornstarch (or a little bit of flour), and water. Fill the puff pastry and bon appetit, you have an incredible dessert! If you can’t eat them all, don’t worry — simply wrap unbaked turnovers in parchment paper, place in a Ziploc bag, and store in the freezer.

  2. 2. Freeze apple slices and add them to a smoothie mix.

    Did I mention that your freezer is your best friend? Apple slices can easily be frozen and blended with other delicious ingredients for instant smoothies. Try combining apple slices, a banana, and kiwi for a refreshing tropical drink. You can also blend up apple slices, peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon for a smoothie reminiscent of everyone’s favorite after-school snack. Tip: using frozen apples means you will not need ice!

  3. 3. Make applesauce (hear me out!).

    Apparently, some people view applesauce as a snack for the elderly; having grown up on applesauce, I am offended. Applesauce is smooth, mild, and the perfect complement to most meals. With fresh apples and a little bit of cinnamon, you can make a homemade variety that is healthy, flavorful, and reminds you of childhood (my childhood, if not your own). To make applesauce more exciting, you can mix it into oatmeal, put it on top of vanilla yogurt, or add it to muffins for extra flavor and moisture.

  4. 4. Use the cores to make apple cider vinegar.

    Apple cider vinegar has become popular with the juice cleanse crowd, but it is also great in salad dressings, as a gargle for sore throats, or in a marinade. Therefore, once you’ve peeled and cored your apples for turnovers or smoothies, why not use the cores instead of throwing them away? The steeping process for the vinegar is around two weeks, but requires surprisingly little maintenance. Imagine the bragging rights you will have earned holding your mason jar of homemade vinegar.

  5. 5. Make homemade Fruit Roll-Ups!

    Ever since I saw a video on this from Tasty, I have become obsessed with the concept of homemade fruit rolls; they’re fun to eat and lack the sugar and high fructose corn syrup of the processed version. With just a few apples and some honey, you can whip up a snack that tastes like childhood, but better. Will your suitemates be ready to commit murder after you have hogged the oven for six hours? Perhaps, but you’ll have delicious candy and they won’t.

For me, baking apple treats goes hand-in-hand with apple picking. While I love biting into a fresh apple on its own, nothing is more rewarding than turning the fruits of my labor — pun intended — into a delicious snack or dessert. (OK, a few things in this world might be more rewarding, but you catch my drift.) These five recipes all contain simple ingredients and can be made in a suite or shared kitchen. Not to mention, stress-baking is the perfect hobby to adopt as we approach midterm season.