In Season: Apple-picking season begins in late August or early September and lasts through November. Because apples keep well in cold storage, they are available year-round.
What to Look For: There are thousands of apple varieties, with a range of colors including red, russet, yellow, and green. Textures and flavors vary from tart and crisp to soft and sweet. In general, choose apples that are heavy for their size and feel firm when pressed gently. Avoid bruised fruit.
How to Store: For the longest shelf life, store apples in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Use within three weeks.
A sophisticated twist on apple pie, this tart is filled with tart apples and dried apricots and figs spiked with cognac and vanilla bean atop a rich custard base. The whole thing is enclosed in a pate brisee crust and topped with crunchy, buttery almond praline and vanilla ice cream.
This moist quick bread studded with apples tastes similar to a spice cake. Oatmeal-walnut crumble and caramel sauce make it worthy of a dinner party, but the bread is also excellent on its own for breakfast, snacks, or desserts.
Sweet, tart, and tangy apple chutney is flavored with cider vinegar, golden raisins, ginger, dry mustard, and pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately with pan-seared pork chops, or make the chutney a few days ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to let the flavors develop.
Marshmallows and Mexican chocolate become gooey and luscious when baked in halved apples. (Mexican chocolate is a solid disk of bittersweet chocolate flavored with cinnamon. It's commonly labeled "hot chocolate" or "drink mix" and is available at most major supermarkets.)