The apples we know and love today are the stuff of sweet, flavorful pies, tangy and tart sauces, and "fresh off the tree" ciders. But apples weren't always such a delicacy. In fact, some of the earliest specimens were small, irregularly shaped, bitter to the palate, and more medicinal than enjoyable. Aren't we lucky the apple has come so far—today it is America's second most favorite fruit (after the banana)! In fact, especially during the fall season, it can be sooooo tempting to load up on all the delicious apple varieties that are flooding farmers markets and grocery bins. But if you (like me) find you've brought home just a few too many, here are some creative ways to use up your extras!

1. End your headache (almost before it starts)

Hearkening back to the apple's medicinal roots, research has noted the green apple's power to ease migraine headaches and joint pain.

  • What you need: One fresh green apple and a knife.
  • What to do: Just slice and sniff as needed—it really is that easy!

2. Ease allergies and improve breathing

If your headache and joint pain has a potential allergic origin, apples can come in handy in two ways, because they also contain a compound shown to ease allergic reactions and boost lung function.

  • What you need: 5 green apples
  • What to do: Eat one each day

3. Dry and store them as snacks for later

Before we had manufacturers to dry and package our leftover fruit for us, our foremothers (and perhaps occasionally forefathers) dried and stored the fruit by hand. You can do the same with your leftover apples—and avoid paying high store prices (or eating extra sweeteners or flavor enhancers you don't want) for dried apples snacks.

  • What you need: Your leftover apples and a knife.
  • What to do: Wash and slice the apples thinly (remove the skins if desired). Preheat your oven to 150 degrees, and arrange the apples on trays (you can sprinkle some spices if desired). It can take 10+ hours for them to fully dehydrate and you will need to turn them every couple of hours (a food dehydrator can speed this up). Once they are dehydrated, allow them to cool and then store them in airtight Ziploc bags in your pantry for later.

4. Speed up the ripening of other fruits

It’s hard to make a tasty fruit salad if your apples ripen faster than everything else! But now you can use the apples' ripening power to speed along your other fruits.

  • What you need: An apple and unripe fruits.
  • What to do: Add an apple in alongside slower-ripening fruits. The ethylene gas in the apples will encourage your other fruits to ripen faster.

Note: If you halve a fresh apple and pop it in with fresh baked goods, the apple can help keep your fresh breads, pies, cookies and muffins moist and tasty for longer.

5. Save an over-salted sauce

I have been known to over-salt things from time to time (okay, often). But now I know what to do the next time I make this oops—apples to the rescue!

  • What you need: Apples and a knife.
  • What to do: Slice up half an apple and add the slices to the salty sauce or soup. The apples will absorb the extra salt and save your recipe. (Be sure to remove the slices before you serve!)

6. Revitalize hardened sugar

I like to keep my baking supplies in my freezer. However, this inevitably results in frozen and even calcified sugar over time. Apples can help.

  • What you need: Apples and a knife.
  • What to do: Slice up an apple and add a slice or two to the bag of sugar (brown, light, dark or white). Seal up the bag and leave it overnight (not in the freezer—the pantry is best). In a day or so your sugar should be soft and grainy again.

7. Beautify your skin

Apples are great toners—for insides and outsides alike. And they cost pennies to the dollar what high priced skin toners would run you in salons and spas!

  • What you need: An apple and some honey.
  • What to do: Remove the skin and core of the apple, then pop it into a food processor to mince it. Add 2 Tbsp honey and stir until the mixture is combined well. Smooth it over your face and neck (avoiding eyes). Leave on 15 minutes, then wash with warm water and moisturize as usual.

8. Get extra creative in the kitchen

Did you know apples taste great in PB&J sandwiches (just sub for the "J")? They are also sublimely tasty as a surprise addition in an "adult grilled cheese" sandwich.

  • What you need: Apples and a slicer.
  • What to do: Slip a few apple slices into a peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwich—voila! You have a gourmet version good enough to serve company for lunch.

9. Make bobbing tealight candle holders

Halloween is coming up…and what is creepier (and cooler) than bobbing apple candles glowing eerily in your backyard? (Oh, and these are also quite fun for non-Halloween holidays and parties.)

  • What you need: Small apples, a corer, a parer, tealights, a lighter, a bucket and water.
  • What to do: Core each apple and then pare away the opening until it is just snug enough to slip in a tealight candle. Place several tealight apples into a water feature or bucket of water and light 'em up so they can bob the night away.

10. Create your own natural potpourri

Most commercial potpourri is filled with artificial scents (read: chemicals) that can cause headaches and even skin irritation if you are very sensitive. Make your own and you will never have this problem (plus you won't be out of pocket for pricey store-bought potpourri).

  • What you need: Dried apples (see #3 here), cinnamon sticks, cloves, other spices as desired, acorns, pine cones, other neat natural add-ins.
  • What to do: Put the smaller spices (not the sticks) into a plastic bag and break them up with a hammer to release the oils. Add the sticks and the smaller crushed spices in with the dried apples and add-ins, and add in a drop or so of essential oil if desired. Store for 1-2 weeks covered to let everything "cook." Open and use.