How do you like them apples? This is a phrase my dad used to say when dishing out a punishment or while watching me live out a natural consequence. Today I say…I like them MANY ways!

When apples are in abundance during this beautiful time of year, I love trying out new ways to enjoy them along with the traditional ways my mom would use.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to prepare apples. I’ve included simple jobs that allow kids to be included in the process. Now before you roll your eyes at allowing your kids to help (or maybe I’m the only one who does that?), let me tell you, it has been my experience that what they learn in this process and the opportunity you have to share or build some memories far outweighs the extra time and (let’s be honest here) huge mess they add to the process!

Let’s start with the process of slicing, peeling, and coring. This is where I tend to become overwhelmed as I stare at the loads of apples in front of me. With trial and error, the most enjoyable way we’ve found to do this–and the perfect way for kids to help because it’s messy anyways–is the apple, peeler, corer, slicer all in one. You know the one I’m talking about don’t you?

Grab a big bowl of water with a teaspoon of salt and sugar mixed in. (This helps to keep them from browning before you get to the next steps.)

As you set up your peeling station, teach the kids to use the peeler and let them turn the crank to their heart’s content, which for our kids might be only two apples or it might be 20! Just toss the apples into the water as you run them through that magic little gadget! (If you don’t have one, go old school it’s ok!) This process is really fun to involve the whole family.

Then here are some fun ways to use your apples:

  1. Apple Sauce: Throw the slices in a crock pot with a bit of water and set on low until they are tender and soft. You can add sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, or absolutely nothing to them! You can leave them a bit chunky or you can run it all through a blender to get that baby-fine applesauce texture. If using for baby food, simply freeze in ice cube trays or put in small jars. You can also can this sauce. Our kids ate it so fast that wasn’t necessary!
  2. Apple Chips: Layer apple slices on a pan lined with parchment and bake on your oven’s lowest temp for as long as necessary to make them as crisp as you want. (You can sprinkle your apples with cinnamon sugar or other spices before baking.) When they are done, cool completely and place in an airtight container. These are so good on a road trip and kids love them even more when they know they’ve made them!
  3. Apple Crisp: There are a zillion recipes for this so I won’t bore you with another, but you know you love it!
  4. On your Salad! Oh this is so good. Take your best, most vibrant greens, chunk up some apples, and pour on homemade dressing. (I sense the need for another post for that!) Add your favorite cheese (blue is so good!), grilled or leftover chicken, and a few slivers of almonds and–voilà!
  5. Fruit Salsa: I love this salsa on those home-baked tortilla chips with a bit of cinnamon sugar! (Google the recipe.)

Make sure you use those apples!