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14 Inventive Ways to Use Apples (Besides Eating Them!)

Updated: Feb. 01, 2023

Got a bounty of apples from your fall apple picking? Here’s how to put them to good use.

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Isolated red mcintosh apple on wooden surface with clear marble background

You can use an apple a day in more than one way

Apples are one of the most versatile fruits to cook and eat, but sometimes you buy just one too many. Don’t let that produce go to waste. There are so many other uses for apples that you’ve probably never heard of. Read on for some of the inventive ways to use apples—besides eating them!

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iStock/Shaun Lombard

Make an easy craft for kids

If you are ever babysitting or with your own kiddo and find that they are bored or whining, try making stamps with apples! All you have to do is get some paint or ink (preferably washable or water-based), cut the apple in half, dip the inside and press it on construction paper or cloth. You can experiment with all sorts of colors and create patterns, making this simple art activity a fun one.

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Ripen green tomatoes

How’s that? You just became the proud owner of a bunch of green tomatoes? No sweat. You can quickly ripen them up by placing them—along with an already-ripe apple—in a paper bag for a couple of days. For best results, maintain a ratio of about five or six tomatoes per apple. One strategy for how to ripen an avocado also involves apples.

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Give your core a workout

Put some extra punch in your crunch by placing an apple between your thighs and squeeze it while you do your crunches. Trying to hold the apple in place will make you work your hip flexors and adductors in addition to your abs.

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iStock/Sandra O'Claire

Fluff up hardened brown sugar

Brown sugar has the irritating habit of hardening up when exposed to humidity. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to make this a temporary condition. One of the best uses for apples is to soften brown sugar. Simply place an apple wedge in a self-sealing plastic bag with the chunk of hardened brown sugar. Tightly seal the bag and put it in a dry place for a day or two. Your sugar will once again be soft enough to use. On another note, find out why it’s believed that students should bring an apple for the teacher.

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Keep cakes fresh

Want a simple and effective way to extend the shelf life of your homemade or store-bought cakes? Store them with a half an apple. It helps the cake maintain its moisture considerably longer than merely popping it in the fridge. Seasoned bakers will also be surprised by these baking mistakes you’re probably making.

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iStock/Liv Friis-Larsen

Roast a juicy chicken

If your roasted chicken tends to emerge from the oven as dry as a snow boot on a summer’s day, don’t fret. The next time you roast a chicken, stuff an apple inside the bird before placing it in the roasting pan. When it’s done cooking, toss the fruit in the trash, and get ready to sit down to a delicious—and juicy—main course. Follow this menu to host the best Thanksgiving ever.

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Absorb salt in soups and stews

Salting to taste is one thing, but it is possible to overdo it. When you find yourself getting heavy-handed with the saltshaker, simply drop a few apple (or potato) wedges in your pot. After cooking for another 10 minutes or so, remove the wedges—along with the excess salt. Save your salt for any of these clever salt uses.

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Clean your oily hair

If you ever find that your hair seems to be more oily than usual, put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a pint of water, and rinse it through your hair after shampooing and conditioning in the shower or bath to help remove soap residue that can contribute to your oily hair. If you’ve over-styled, over-treated, or over-colored your hair, opt for one of the best hair masks for your hair type.

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Give yourself a mini facial

Apples are great when it comes to reducing inflammation and the appearance of fine wrinkles. All you have to do: Peel an apple and grate the core and then apply it to your skin. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and rinse it off with warm water. Apples aren’t the only fruit that has more than one use.

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Make a cozy candlestick

A great way to get crafty during your next fall season gathering is to create candle holders out of apples. You’ll need to de-core the apple, carve out the center and smooth the bottom, so it stands up straight. Add in a tea light candle, and you have yourself an adorable rustic candle holder.

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Make potpourri

One of the most creative uses for apples is potpourri. Skip the pricy stuff and DIY. Set your oven to 250 degrees, thinly slice the apples, and bake in a single layer for about an hour and a half. After they dry, mix them with spices like cinnamon or cloves. Stick them in a jar and voila!

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apple centerpiece

Create a decorative centerpiece

The apple of your eye might be a creative centerpiece using apples. Fill a vase with green, Granny Smith apples, or bright, Red Delicious apples, to create an eye-catching centerpiece for any fall occasion. You could even use sticks to create what looks like an apple bouquet for the table. This seasonal centerpiece is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table setting.

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applesauce ornaments

Make a simple DIY Christmas gift

It’s almost never too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Take a DIY approach and make ornaments out of applesauce and glue. You’ll need applesauce, cinnamon, craft glue, cookie cutters, and decorating materials. Mix them all together and bake them for an easy, fun craft.

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green paper leaf
Maya Kruchankova/Shutterstock

Create edible place cardholders

Fresh apples make great place cardholders. Cut a leaf shape out of green construction paper and write down the name of your dinner guest. Place it near the apple stem for a quick and easy hostess DIY project.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest