From USA Today:
It’s that time of year again—the temperature is dipping and your Instagram feed is filled with friends and loose acquaintances at the apple orchard, picturesquely picking Galas, Honey Crisps and Pink Ladies.
Sure, there are plenty of helpful accessories to pack for the actual orchard outing—a sturdy tote bag to haul your harvest, a collapsible wagon if your bags are more like bushels and even a cool fruit harvester tool to get the high branches. But we’re more interested in the things you’ll need when you get your harvest home.
Below, find seven of the top cooking tools and kitchen accessories to help you transform those heaps of apples into pies, crumbles, ciders and more.
1. OXO Apple Slicer
Do you really need another kitchen gadget that does one very specific task? If you’ve ever used OXO’s Good Grips apple slicer, the answer is yes. For the uninitiated, this circular, stainless steel tool with non-slip handles helps seamlessly core the apple while cutting the fruit into eight perfect slices. Perfect, too, for dipping in peanut butter or caramel, or for sprinkling with a little lemon juice and packing in school lunches.
2. Emile Henry Pie Dish
The Emile Henry ceramic pie dish is the best pie dish we’ve tested for its ability to turn out a perfectly flaky crust, withstand high temps and stand up to the dishwasher and microwave. The 9-by-2-inch ceramic dish comes in a rainbow of pretty hues, and all would look lovely holding a classic apple pie. (Though the red might look the most festive.)
3. Great Jones Hot Dish
Dark brown sugar, rolled oats and sweet-tart apples combine for a quintessential fall dessert: the apple crumble. Elevate your version by using the Great Jones Hot Dish. With a mod design perfect for oven-to-table serving, this 9-by-12-inch casserole dish will be your go-to for all your crumble needs, but also for your roasted chickens, lasagna and so much more.
4. Lodge Chef Collection Seasoned 12-inch Cast-iron Skillet
With their endless versatility and durability, cast-iron skillets are undeniably kitchen MVPs. But if you don’t already have one, consider apple season a prime time to make the investment.
This hefty pan can handle everything from sautéed cinnamon apples to a deliciously tender apple-laden Dutch baby from roughly now until the end of time. The Lodge Chef Collection Seasoned 12-inch Cast-iron Skillet is the best cast-iron skillet we’ve tested because of its solid non-stick properties, comfortable handle and affordability.
5. Beaba Babycook 4-in-1 Baby Food Maker
As Diane Keaton charmingly demonstrated in the ‘80s classic flick “Baby Boom,” homemade apple sauce is a simple delicacy. If you have an infant, the Beaba Babycook 4-in-1 (our pick for the best baby food maker) is an easy, all-in-one device for turning out smooth and healthy purees, including applesauce made from whatever apple varieties you find on the farm.
If you’re feeling spicy, add a sprinkle of cinnamon for older babies. And there’s nothing stopping you from whipping up fresh applesauce long after your babies have moved on to solid foods.
6. Ateco Donut Cutter
Perhaps it’s the fleeting, catch-them-once-a-year nature of apple cider doughnuts that make them special, or perhaps it’s because they’re utterly delicious. Either way, go the extra mile to make a batch this year—and if you’re really starting from scratch, consider juicing fresh apples for the cider in in a fancy apple press.
The Ateco stainless steel donut cutter makes slicing through the dough a breeze, and leaves you with a beautifully uniform batch fall favorite doughnuts.
7. Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan
Nothing says cozy Sundays quite like hot tea or freshly brewed coffee and made-from-scratch Bundt cake, and adding apples to the mix makes it a quintessentially fall affair. The best bundt cake pan we’ve tested is the 10-inch Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt pan for features like its sturdy, cast-aluminum build and non-stick, easy-to-release design. The pan’s beautiful, sculptural shape is an added bonus.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.