When you think of fall, you might think of pumpkins, gourds, and cinnamon spice. But one fall-star player is often overlooked—apples. An incredibly versatile fruit, apples can be used beyond the kitchen. If you need some inspiration for this September-through-November staple, we've whipped up a list of unique ways to use apples all around your home this autumn.
1. Prepare a delicious after-school snack that can last all season.
Ditch the high-fructose snacks and give your kids a healthy treat for their school lunch or after-school snack. Bake sliced apples for a little—or long—time to satisfy that post-learning crunch craving.
Using a sharp knife, slice several cored apples into 1/8-inch slices. You can leave the apples plain, or coat them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for taste. Arrange your slices on a tray(s) lined with parchment paper and pop them into the oven. Bake for one hour at 200°F for chewy, soft slices. If you'd like your slices crispier, you can leave them in for another hour (or longer, depending on your oven). Flip occasionally to avoid burning.
Those with a dehydrator can dehydrate at 125°F/52°C for four to six hours for softer slices and eight to 10 hours for crispy slices.
Store your cooled baked slices in an airtight container away from direct sunlight for up to five days or your dehydrated slices for up to six months.
Wondering what other fruits and veggies are in season this fall? Check out seasonal foods in November and how to use them.
2. Make a fragrant potpourri.
There's nothing quite like the inviting smell of apples and cinnamon on a crisp fall day. Whether you're entertaining friends or relaxing at home, a quick DIY air freshener will make any space feel more welcoming.
Combine apple slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and honey in a pot on the stove or in a slow cooker. Top with just enough water to cover your ingredients, and let the mixture simmer on low heat. Stir occasionally to release that wonderful smell into the air.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can reuse it a couple of times. Store the cooled mixture in a jar in your fridge and reheat whenever you'd like to bring the autumnal essence into your home.
3. Use them for crafts.
Get the kids together for some fall crafts they'll be proud to show off.
String some dried apples and citrus onto a string of twine to make a beautiful fruit garland. You can also add nuts, nut shells, or cinnamon sticks to give it some flair. Hang your garland on your mantle or windows to add a pop of fall magic.
If you have fresh apples that need to be used, cut them in half and use them as stamps. Dip the fruit side of your apple into paint and stamp it onto a piece of paper, a canvas bag, or cardstock. Use a variety of sizes and whichever fall colors you'd like, and create an adorable fall-themed project that will keep your kids busy during a chilly afternoon.
Looking for other family-friendly activities? Check out our ultimate fall bucket list for fun season-right excursions.
4. Turn them into fall decor.
You don't need to overspend at decorative home stores to make your house fall-ready. Combine apples with things around your home to create eye-catching, unique fall decor without breaking the bank.
Trace the outline of a votive candle onto the top of your apple and carve out the hole. Place the candle into the hole, and voila—you have a lovely fall accent that smells wonderful and gives your home a cozy vibe. Red apple candles will last for about a week, and green apple candles can last up to 12 days at room temperature.
Or, using three or four apples, create an Instagram-worthy centerpiece fit for any gathering. Place the apples on a small tray (wood looks best, but any smaller tray will do), spacing them out evenly. To complete the look, add some pinecones, leaves, cinnamon sticks, or twine—the possibilities are endless!
5. Give yourself a spa day.
We've all seen the classic cucumber slices over the eyes trick to help create a tranquil spa experience. Cucumbers have high water content and can leave the skin around your eyes feeling refreshed and hydrated. However, you can substitute apples for cucumbers in a pinch and get a similar result! Apples are high in Vitamin E, which can help your skin stay hydrated and soft.
You can also make a relaxing face wash with your leftover apples. Core and peel an apple and blend it with a 1/2 cup of oats and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply the mixture to your face, and rinse with warm water after 10 to 15 minutes.
What Else Can You Do with Apples?
Apples are incredibly versatile, but they're not the only signature fall ingredient with many uses. For more creative ways to use everyday ingredients around the home, check out our article, "Cinnamon: What to do with this Season’s Favorite Spice," and see how you can use cinnamon for more than just cooking.