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25 Tasty Recipes For Nebraska Apple Season

When the first hint of fall is noticed in Nebraska, we get excited about a couple things: Football season, pumpkin spiced everything, and apples. If you’re here for the apples — and for the great recipes to use apples — you’ve come to the right places. For the other two things, move along.

While you’ll find plenty of fresh apples at farmers markets in August through October, it’s more fun to pick your own apples at a nearby orchard. If you don’t want to just make apple pie or applesauce with all of those apples, I’ve rounded up a great selection of recipes for you.

But first, let’s figure out when you’re going to pick your apples in Nebraska and what kind you want to get for each of these recipes.

When is apple-picking season in Nebraska?

A lot of the harvest season is dependent on the summer weather, but typically, Nebraska apple harvest season usually starts in late August and early September. This harvest group is referred to as the summer apples, and varieties include Honeycrisp, Paula Red, Gala, Jonagold, and Zestar. 

Kim at an apple orchard

There will be a lot more varieties that are ready for harvest later in September and October. These include Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan, Pinova, Shizuka, and Red Delicious in September.

In October, you may find Braeburn, Blushing Gold, Empire, Enterprise, Winesap, Cameo, Granny Smith, Fuji, Idared, Pink Ladies, and Sun Crisp for harvesting.

I follow a few orchards on Facebook just so I know when harvest season for begins. A few orchards you might want to follow depending on where you are located: Arbor Day Farm, Kimmel Orchard, or Union Orchard in Nebraska City; Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard in Gretna; and Super Bee Orchard in Ft. Calhoun.

If you love Honeycrisp apples, that window for picking is very narrow. If you want fresh Honeycrisp, I recommend following a few orchards too!

Which apples are harvested in Nebraska?

Nebraska, particularly eastern Nebraska, is a fertile area for apple trees to grow. I’m guilty of not really paying much attention to the types until recently. We were in Nebraska City at Arbor Day Farm, and took a tour where we could pick heirloom apples, and it opened my eyes to just how many types of apples could exist.

A barrel of red apples at Vala's Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard in Nebraska

So, which ones can be found in Nebraska? Here are just a few that you’ll likely find at orchards:

  • Blushing Gold
  • Braeburn
  • Cameo
  • Empire
  • Enterprise
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Idared
  • Jonagold
  • Jonathan
  • Paula Red
  • Pink Ladies
  • Pinova
  • Red Delicious
  • Shizuka
  • Sun Crisp
  • Winesap
  • Zestar

If you want to take a deep-dive into each apple on this list and what makes them unique, check out Kimmel Orchard’s guide to their orchard fruit.

Want to know when it’s time to harvest apples in other U.S. states? Check out this harvest calendar.

Which kind of apples are best for recipes?

The best type of apples depend on how you’re preparing them.

Baking: Blushing Gold, Enterprise, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Idared

For apple sauce: Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Fuji

General cooking: Suncrisp, Zestar

Snacks: Fuji, Honeycrisp

Fresh Apple Recipes

A round-up of great recipes that call for fresh apples - a perfect list for all the apples harvested this fall!

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