To the orchard — and beyond.

According to legend, Sir Isaac Newton experienced his famous flash of insight under an apple tree. But an issue he never resolved and a timely one today is nearly as profound as gravity itself. With the change of seasons and thousands of families headed to local orchards, the question is, what do you do with all those apples?

Apples, after all, are everywhere and universally loved. There are more than 7,000 different kinds of apples worldwide, and in America apples grow in all 50 states. Antioxidants. Fiber. Vitamin C. There are plenty of reasons to love apples and find new ways to enjoy this delicious, versatile hallmark of autumn.

Easy as pie, yet so much more.

“New” is the important part. The bushel basket that looks so modest in the great outdoors can suddenly seem to double in size when it’s in the kitchen. Pies, torts and strudels are traditional go-to recipes, but that’s just the start. Apples and cider can play an important role in savory dishes too, even main course entrées.  

Savor the possibilities.

When you get to the orchard, the first step is to ask is which varieties are ready for harvest and what they’re best suited for. The recipe shown here, Harvest Cider Glazed Chicken with Sautéed Apples, calls for a higher moisture apple with a crisp, firm texture. Examples include McIntosh, Royal Gala, Cortland or Empire, but check with the grower to see if the orchard has any heirloom or local favorites from your region. And back at home, try a melon baller to remove the seeds and save as much of your apples as possible.

Quality from quantity.

Some orchards offer discounted prices on fallen apples, and gathering apples on the ground is a perfect activity for younger children who might not be tall enough to reach higher tree branches. And if those apples have cosmetic blemishes or small bruises, no problem. They’re ideal for apple butter, which you can freeze and serve anytime as easy sides.

Apple lovers, your time is now. Pull on that plaid shirt and grab a basket. If a single apple can redefine science, what can an entire bushel do? Find out this fall.