When did pumpkins become the go-to food to usher in the best time of the year — fall? Anyone with taste buds and a brain can see that apples are superior to pumpkins in every single way.
It took me a long time to warm up to pumpkin, mostly because my mom would serve us pumpkin soup in the fall. If you’re unfamiliar with the dish, it tastes like baby food and looks like baby food after the baby is done with it: It’s a sort of orangey-brown color that takes a billion hours to make and about four seconds to discover that it tastes like applesauce that’s gone off.
More: 20 Recipes that prove maple brown sugar beats pumpkin spice any day
I’ve come a long way since those early days of gagging down repulsive squash water, and pumpkin has won me over — as long as it is surrounded by sugar and carbs and never in liquid form.
But still, for my money, apples are where it’s at this fall and every fall. Why? Well…
1. Apple orchards > pumpkin patches
Let’s start with the places where each fall food originates: an apple orchard versus a pumpkin patch. An apple orchard is beautiful, what with the dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves and the crisp scent of fall air. A pumpkin patch is a flat, desolate place with thick, itchy, fuzzy vines connecting one rotting pumpkin to the next. Also, flies.
2. 2 Words: Caramel apples
Get the recipe: Black poison caramel apples
Apples are great raw, while pumpkins are patently disgusting the same way. Apples are even greater dipped in delicious caramel, while it would be absolutely impossible to dip a pumpkin into caramel, unless you had a sizable vat and ropy biceps.
3. Apples are a portable snack, and pumpkins are a burden you will immediately regret.
An apple is a light, portable snack that you will not sprain your wrist on when you lift it to your mouth. The same cannot be said of pumpkins, fall’s most narcissistic gourd.
4. Apples are also great cooked, while that’s only sometimes true with pumpkins.
Get the recipe: Bacon and goat cheese baked apples
Apples are delicious raw, it’s true, but they are also delicious baked into a nice pie, or in a warm bread, or mixed into oatmeal or as a muffin. Pumpkins, though? Also great in all of those things, but then someone tries to make it into a soup, and it’s all over.
5. Apple slices are great with cheese and wine. Pumpkin slices are great never.
Face it: You are never settling down in front of your favorite show on a cold autumn night with a glass of wine and pumpkin chunks. But you will do this with apples. And you will love it.
6. Everyone in your house will eat apple pie, as opposed to pumpkin pie, which only old people and babies like.
Get the recipe: Caramel apple pie
Apple pie appeals to young and old alike, what with its pretty lattice and flaky crust and dollop of yummy ice cream. Pumpkin pie is only suitable for people who don’t like to or cannot chew things.
7. Apples are better in booze too.
There is something so, so right about spiked apple cider. But pumpkin juice with vodka? This is where it just starts to feel like people are trying to force it. It’s like the bacon craze all over again.
8. Apple crisp is great. You could never make pumpkin crisp.
Get the Recipe: Mini gluten-free apple crisps
Because pumpkin does not crisp up well. Anything you put cooked pumpkin into basically just turns into a mushy lump. You can’t just sprinkle oats on stuff and call it a “crisp.” Lookin’ at you, Pinterest.
9. Warm mugs of apple-y goodness will not put you into a diabetic coma.
Ahh, a nice mug of apple cider. It does wonders for icy fingers, looks good with a chunky sweater and makes your tummy all warm. It also goes down your throat without leaving a thick film of algae-like pumpkin slime.
10. Apple seeds are totally no big deal.
Get the recipe: Homemade maple-toasted pumpkin seed butter
You know what isn’t a big deal? Happening across an apple seed in your apple. You just eat up until you reach the seedy core, and then you toss the whole thing. Before you can even use a pumpkin, you have to scoop out all of its gross guts and then pretend like you like toasted pumpkin seeds, and spend a great deal of time doing that. Or making nut butter.
11. No one Instagrams apple cider ad nauseum
Well, maybe they do, but only because it’s awesome, not because they are trying to be the world’s biggest cliché.