Preserving the Bounty, or, What to do With Half a Bushel of Seconds Apples!

Seconds Apples from the Farmer's Market #fresh #local #cheapI had a totally different post topic scheduled for today, but something much more urgent has come up:


Lots of them.

Specifically, half a bushel of seconds apples that I scored at the farmers’ market for only $6.50. It wasn’t necessarily in my budget for the week, but I knew it would save me money in the long run if I grabbed it, so grab it I did!

Now. What to do with all those apples?

Here’s my plan (which you may find useful if you also find yourself with a plethora of apples):

1. Crockpot Applesauce

I don’t really have a recipe; I just dump my chopped apples into the crock pot and let ‘er rip! I also usually add a couple cinnamon sticks for delicious flavor that the whole family enjoys. When the apples are very soft, I use my stick blender to make a very smooth applesauce because nobody around here likes it chunky. If you like it chunky, though, just stir your sauce vigorously with a spoon or use a potato masher. For more specific instructions, see The Humbled Homemaker’s Crockpot Applesauce.

2. Apple Butter

Right now, my 5qt crock pot is full to the brim (literally) with chopped apples. Once they’re done turning into applesauce, I’ll turn at least part of them into apple butter by adding some sugar, ginger, and salt, and letting them cook a few more hours. If I can scrounge up enough jars, I’ll be processing the apple butter for long-term storage.

3. Fruit Leather

Homemade fruit leather (aka fruit roll-up) is such a breeze with a dehydrator and a fruit leather tray. All you have to do is dump the applesauce on the tray and dehydrate until its a little sticky but dried through. Need more specific instructions? Try Fix Me a Snack’s totally awesome Polka Dot Fruit Roll-Up. Just omit the fruit sauces for plain ole apple fruit leather.

4. Dried Apples

Dried apples are so easy, once again, if you have a dehydrator. If you don’t, it’s still a little tricky, but definitely possible: see my Apple Chips recipe. With my dehydrator, all I do is core the apples, then slice them thinly, place them on the dehydrator tray and set it going. The amount of drying time required varies with the thickness and moisture level of the apples, but I think it’s generally about 6-8 hours. I also like to sprinkle mine with cinnamon; smells and tastes divine! These can be eaten as is or chopped up into baked goods, granola or oatmeal. Or you can put them on a salad a la Panera (see the same apple chips post for recipe). Once again, if you need a little more direction, you can check out Barefeet in the Kitchen’s Dehydrating Apples.

5. Baked Goods

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of coming across chunks of cooked apples in my baked goods. {shudders at the thought} However, my DH loves all things apple, including apple pie, apple crisp, upside down apple cake… you get the idea. So I’ll probably do him a favor or two and make him at least one batch of apple crisp, probably with this Healthified Apple Crisp by The Cheapskate Cook.

6. There’s Always the Pancake Option

If I still have apples left after all that, I’ll probably just grate them up and throw them into things like pancake and muffin batter. That kind of cooked apple I can  handle.

What would (or do) you do with a half bushel of apples?


  1. Love all these ideas! Do you ever substitute apple sauce for some/all of the sugar in a recipe? I’ve tried it a few times and have been very happy with how things taste! Plus, makes things a bit healthier :)

  2. So many fabulous ideas! Now I’m wishing I had a bushel of apples. Love my stick blender for applesauce too!
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes recently posted..Chewy Caramel Stuffed Sugar Cookies

  3. Thanks for the ideas…fruit leather is on my to do list!

  4. When we move, I’ll actually be able to USE my Excalibur. :-)

    I always buy a bushel of apples in the fall and keep them in my second refrigerator all winter long. Then I have them for any time I want to make baked goods or applesauce….and the Humbled Homemaker applesauce is great! I made some this week.
    Stacy Makes Cents recently posted..What I’m Reading – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

  5. Thanks for directing attention to my apple crisp recipe. I can hardly believe I’ve only used it once this year! I’m slightly jealous of your stick blender and dehydrator. What brands do you have or recommend?
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) recently posted..Cheapskate Cook Goals 2011: Update #3

    • I made it the other night; it was delicious! My stick blender is a Cuisinart, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with it. I don’t have experience with other brands, so I don’t know. And my dehydrator is one that I just picked up at a consignment sale because it was cheap. It’s called a “Snackmaster Jr”, lol. It does the job, but it’s definitely a bare-bones dehydrator without any fancy doo-dads (well, except maybe the fruit leather tray).

  6. How’d you score so many apples for so cheap? Did you go at the end of the day? Or was there a special section? Or was it just luck?
    Amy @ A Little Nosh recently posted..Great Wolf Lodge Trip (and Menu Plan Monday)

    • This particular orchard at the farmers’ market has great quality control. As they fill up their baskets to sell, they sort out any fruit that appears blemished in any way. Once they have enough of the blemished fruit, they sell it at half price. I got seconds peaches from them all summer long, and some of them only had one tiny bruise, or they were rock hard and just needed extra time to soften up. This half-bushel of apples definitely had plenty of bruised apples, but 95% of them were completely use-able, even eaten as a snack. They just weren’t “perfect”.

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