Healthy Uses for Old and Bruised Apples

We’ve all heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It sticks around because apples are really that good for us—serving up a healthy dose of fiber, Vitamin C, strengthening immunity, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and even stroke.

However, there’s nothing more disappointing than an old or bruised apple. But before you chuck out the whole bushel, try to cut down on waste by using them in the following 10 healthy and innovative ways…

Make Apple Butter

If you like a little smear on your morning toast or bagel, but are trying to cut the sugar and calories found in margarine, butter, or jams—try mashing your old apples into a healthy apple butter recipe.  The great thing about all-natural apple butter is that it’s simmered and pureed from 100-percent apples, no sugar or chemical additives.

Homemade Potpourri

If you love the smell of freshly baked apple…well, any time of day. Infuse your home with a homemade apple potpourri. A basket of dried apples, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and pine boughs offers the ideal and natural scent of a brisk fall day—minus the harmful chemicals found in most store –bought potpourri recipes.

Baked Apple Goodness

When I crave a sweet after dinner dessert, but don’t want to eat something high in sugar and Trans fats, I scour my crisper for old apples to bake. They caramelize sweet in the oven, especially if you sprinkle them cinnamon, vanilla, or a handful of raw nuts and raisins. You don’t even have to add brown sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Freshen Your Face

If your visage is looking a little lackluster, try making a homemade facial using mashed apples. Apples are extremely high in vitamin C, a very popular and potent antioxidant used in high-priced skin treatments and cosmetics. Try applying a DIY apple and honey face mask for skin freshening and anti-bacterial benefits.

Sweet Yet Healthy Breakfast

An apple a day might really keep the doctor away if you eat it first thing in the morning. I like to slice and cook apples right into my quick oats with a little cinnamon. They also make a great almond butter, and apple breakfast sandwich. You can even eat your desert for breakfast when you core an apple, sprinkle cinnamon, quick oats, and raisins into the center and bake it in the oven.  Serve on top of plain Greek yogurt for added protein. You can also use apples to make your own healthier apple muffins.

Fashion a Bird Feeder

Why not donate the apple back to the earth where it came (well, where the original tree grew) by making an animal-safe, totally biodegradable bird feeder (or putting apples in the bird feeder itself)?  Simply core an old apple and sprinkle a little bit of bird feed inside…trust me, the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels will do the rest.

Bake Apple Chips

If you crave a satisfying crunch when you watch your favorite television show, you can do far better than bagged chips, crackers, or pretzels. In fact, old apples can be cored sliced and baked in the oven, for a crunchy yet sweet, and healthier alternative to potato and corn chips.

Use as a Soup Base

Believe it or not apples make a great soup base. Just find a healthy recipe for apple-squash-nutmeg or apple-carrot-ginger soup and you’ll be converted to coring and slicing apples every time you make an autumn-worthy soup or stew.

Make an Apple Smoothie

Before you reach for that banana, try an apple in your morning or afternoon smoothie. Try blending together a sliced and cored apple, shredded carrot, fresh ginger, a handful of greens for an invigorating, energy-blasting, vitamin-infused morning beverage.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.