As the winter wears on, the apples I buy at my local grocery store get further and further away from the date they were picked. When apples sit around in cold storage for a while, they start to break down and go from crisp to soft, a characteristic otherwise known as mealy.

Biting into a mealy apple is so disappointing. You don't have to get rid of soft apples, though. There are plenty of delicious ways to use them up. I took the apples pictured above, which are a little past their prime, and made them into sautéed apples. I cut the apples into wedges, cooked them up in a pan in some butter and then added some cornstarch dissolved into water, cinnamon and brown sugar to the apples shortly before they were cooked through.

I like to serve sautéed apples with pot pie or ham. They're also wonderful on top of oatmeal or as a topping for pancakes, waffles, French toast or crepes.

Here are several other ways to use up mealy apples so you aren't throwing away perfectly edible food.

applesauce Applesauce is an easy way to use up as many soft as apples as you have on hand. (Photo: margouillat photo/Shutterstock)

1. Apple sauce: This recipe uses the slow cooker for an easy applesauce. How easy? You don't even need to peel or core the apples before tossing them in.

2. Carrot Apple Ginger Soup: This vegan soup cooks all the ingredients together with some vegetable broth and then purees them to a smooth, creamy soup that's beautiful and nutritious.

walnut apple stuffing This fun spin on a savory main dish will make good use of apples that are past their prime. (All photos: Jaymi Heimbuch

3. Baked Apples with Walnut Herb Stuffing: Soft apples will work with any type of baked apples. This recipe turns apples into a dinner dish by stuffing them with bread, nuts, carrots, celery, onion and more.

4. Apple & Sweet Pepper Relish: Serve this sweet and savory cooked relish on top of burgers, brats or pork. The relish lasts for two weeks in the refrigerator, so you can try it on several dishes.

green juice Vibrant, delicious and good for you! (Photos: Kimi Harris)

5. Green juice: Apples can add a little sweetness to a healthy juice that also has vegetables like spinach or kale in it.

6. Apple Chips: Apple chips are apple slices that have had all the water removed from them. Since mealy apples have already started to lose their water, they're perfect candidates for this snack. They're baked at a low temperature for 3 hours to get nice and crispy.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

7 ways to make mealy apples appetizing
When apples go soft, it's time to get creative.