It is exciting every year when the apple orchards start to blossom! Those beautiful blooms hold the promise of so much delicious fruity flavor. With so many amazing options in the orchard, what types of apples are the best? Find out more about this universally loved fruit with this informative guide to apples. Learn about their origins, tastes, textures, and best baking qualities. Find your favorite type of apple with this helpful guide!
Different Kinds of Apples
There are thousands of varieties of apples! From apple pie to apple crisp, this beloved fruit is delicious and versatile. They are great on their own or baked into desserts. My favorite is a sliced apple with creamy peanut butter! Surprisingly, there are many differences in the type of apples. They vary by size, shape, color, sweetness, texture, and flavor.
Apples, along with pears, are in the pome fruit family. They are sold in grocery stores year-round. Towards the end of the summer months, they are most ripe and harvested. Check out this comprehensive guide to apples, the different types of apples, and when and where to buy them!
The name “Ambrosia” is derived from Greek mythology, where “ambrosia” was the food or nectar of the gods, known for its divine and delightful taste. The name was chosen for this apple variety due to its exceptional flavor. Ambrosia apples are generally medium to large in size and have a red blush over a creamy-yellow background. The flesh is juicy and tender, with a pleasant balance of sweetness and tartness. They are often enjoyed fresh as a snack but can also be used in various recipes, such as salads, baking, and cooking.
Belle de Boskoop
Belle de Boskoop apples are typically medium to large in size and have a somewhat irregular shape. They have a greenish-yellow background color with prominent russeting, which gives them a rough and bronze-like appearance. The skin may also have patches of red or orange blush. What sets Belle de Boskoop apples apart is their distinctive flavor profile. They are known for their tangy and slightly tart taste, making them particularly popular for culinary uses. When cooked, they hold their shape well and develop a rich, aromatic flavor, making them ideal for pies, tarts, applesauce, and other baked goods.
Braeburn apples are medium-sized fruit with an orangey-red hue. They are beloved by bakers for their texture and flavor. They are nice and firm with a great crunch and Braeburn tastes perfectly warm, sweet, and mildly tart. All of this adds up to a crunchy apple that is great when enjoyed cooked or raw!
Cameo apples are a variety of apple known for their attractive appearance and crisp, sweet flavor profile. They were developed in Washington state, USA, and are a cross between the Red and Golden Delicious apple varieties. Cameo apples have a distinctive red-orange blush over a creamy background and are often enjoyed fresh as a snack or in salads due to their juicy and refreshing texture.
Cortland apples grow in lovely shapes of pale pinkish-red to mottled pink with yellow-green. These pretty yet small apples are a succulent blend of sweet and tangy flavors. Cortland apples are known for being very firm yet very juicy so you might get a little sticking when working with these apples! The juicy flavor of Cortland apples is great for baked goods, like cobblers and pies.
If you like a little sour with your sweet then Crispin apples are a great choice! These medium to large apples have a greenish-yellow skin and a tender yet firm flesh. Crispin apples are well known for their mild yet tantalizing flavor. They are sweet and tart in equal measure with some mild notes of pear. Crispins are perfect for fresh salads or baked pies.
This apple gets its name from the Empire State, where it originates from. That might make you think that empire apples are big apples, but they are actually small to medium, rounded, and red to yellow in color. Behind their reddish skin, empire apples have white and firm flesh. Their flavor is quite sweet with a nice apple crunch. They are great for use in sauces, roasted apple dishes, or when enjoyed raw.
EverCrisp apples are a relatively new apple variety that resulted from crossing the Honeycrisp and Fuji apple varieties. They were developed to combine the best traits of both parent apples, aiming for a crisp and sweet fruit with a longer storage life. EverCrisp apples typically have a firm, crunchy texture and a balanced flavor that includes sweetness and subtle tartness, making them popular for eating fresh as well as using in various culinary applications.
Fujis are red to yellow apples known for their large size. Fijis are a lovely cross between red delicious and Janet apples which explains their large size and flavor. Fujis are wonderfully sweet and firm, making them just right for eating raw in apple cheddar salads, medleys, or on their own.
Gala apples are a very popular variety for enjoying raw or cooked. They are medium with speckled orange-to-red color. They are beloved for their smooth sweet flavor. Gala apples have rich notes of woody vanilla flavor that make them stand out. Gala apples are great for cobblers, compotes, or just enjoying raw!
Golden delicious is one apple that truly earns its name! These medium golden-colored apples are super tasty! They have bright greenish-yellow skin and creamy flesh. These apples are juicy, crunchy, and balanced in flavor. Golden delicious apples have flavor notes of honey, spice, and bright tartness. They are wonderful when enjoyed raw or in applesauce and apple butter. Check out this Sheet Pan Apple Pie, which uses Golden Delicious apples.
When it comes to baking the first apple to come to mind is usually Granny Smith! These tart green apples have the perfect water content and texture to hold up to virtually all cooking methods. They are also nice and tart so they can balance sugary flavors, making them great for compotes, pies, cobblers, baked apples, and candied apples. Check out these apple sandwiches!
Gravenstein apples are known for their unique and distinctive flavor, which is sweet-tart with hints of citrus and a slightly spicy aroma. They are often enjoyed fresh, but their excellent juiciness and flavor also make them a popular choice for applesauce, pies, and cider production. However, Gravenstein apples have a relatively short shelf life and are best enjoyed when they are in season during late summer to early fall.
Holstein apples are a medium to large apple variety, typically measuring around 7 to 8 centimeters in diameter. They have a mostly round to ovate shape, slightly slanting to one side. The apples have flat shoulders, a russet around the stem cavity, and a short, stubby, woody green-brown stem.
Honeycrisp apples have become one of the most prized fruits in the orchard. As their name implies, Honeycrisp apples are nectarous in flavor and firm in texture. Honeycrisps tend to be small but loaded with juicy flavor. They are ideal for snacking on raw or for use in baked dishes as well. For a family favorite snack, make these Apple Sandwiches! These are my very favorite type of apple. I eat one every single day!
These crunchy, crisp apples are a must-try for any apple lover. Jazz apples are medium-sized with red to yellow-orange skin and a firm texture. Jazz apples have a wonderful balance of crisp sweet and tart flavors, but they are more mildly flavored than some other apples. This mild flavor makes them perfect for enjoying raw in slaws, salads, sandwiches, and more!
Jonagold apples are known for their large size, a beautiful red blush over a yellow-green background, and a slightly ribbed appearance. These apples have a sweet-tart flavor profile with a crisp and juicy texture, making them excellent for both eating fresh and using in various culinary applications. They are often enjoyed as a snack, used in salads, and are a favorite for baking, making applesauce, and even cider production.
Jonamac apples are a hybrid of the popular varieties Macintosh and Jonathan apples. This makes for a round, small to medium-sized apple with mostly red skin. Inside Jonamacs are bright white, firm, and juicy! They are sweet with a hint of tartness and perfect for crunching on raw or cooking down into sweet and tangy applesauce.
Jonathan apples are a classic culinary apple with a lot to offer! Jonathans are medium-sized with red to red-green skin. Their flesh is firm and juicy with tons of tangy flavor. Their sharp flavor makes them a favorite for both enjoying raw and cooked. Try Jonanathans in a fruit salad or a nice apple crisp.
Liberty apples have a bright red color with occasional green patches, and they have a crisp and juicy texture. They offer a well-balanced flavor profile with a combination of sweetness and tartness, making them suitable for eating fresh, as well as for making applesauce, baking, and other culinary uses. Liberty apples are typically in season during the late summer and early fall months.
McIntosh apples have a bright red or crimson color with green patches and somewhat waxy skin. They are known for their aromatic and slightly tart flavor, coupled with juicy and tender flesh. McIntosh apples are versatile and enjoyed in various ways, such as eating fresh, making applesauce, baking into pies, and using in salads. They are typically in season from late summer through the fall, making them a favorite during the autumn months.
Macoun apples are medium to large in size and have a deep red or purplish color with occasional green highlights. Macoun apples are known for their sweet and juicy flesh, which has a pleasing balance of sweetness and tartness. They are often described as having a distinctive aroma and are favored for eating fresh, making applesauce, and using in pies and other baked goods. These are a delicious type of apple if you can find them!
Melrose apples are medium to large in size and have a bright red color with green patches or stripes. The skin is often described as being tough but crisp, and the flesh is juicy and creamy-white. Melrose apples are enjoyed for eating fresh, but they also hold up well when used in cooking and baking, making them suitable for pies, applesauce, and other culinary creations.
Mutsu apples are large in size with a greenish-yellow color that can have a slight blush of red on the side exposed to the sun. The flesh is crisp and juicy, offering a sweet and slightly tart flavor. They are versatile apples, enjoyed as a fresh snack and used in various culinary applications, including baking, cooking, and making applesauce.
Newton Pippin apples are medium to large in size and have a greenish-yellow color, sometimes with a slight blush of red. They are known for their crisp and firm texture, which makes them an excellent choice for long-term storage. The flavor is a well-balanced combination of sweet and tart.
Opal apples are known for their distinctive appearance, with a beautiful yellow-orange skin that often features red blush or striping. One of their most unique characteristics is that they do not brown quickly when cut, making them an attractive option for fresh fruit salads and snacking. The flesh of Opal apples is crisp, juicy, and has a sweet and slightly tangy flavor profile.
Pacific Rose apples are known for their stunning appearance, with a pink to red blush over a yellow or green background. They have a distinctively crisp and juicy texture, making them a delightful choice for fresh eating. The flavor of Pacific Rose apples is sweet, with subtle hints of tartness, creating a well-balanced taste. Due to their exceptional taste and appearance, Pacific Rose apples are often considered a gourmet apple and are enjoyed as a premium choice among apple enthusiasts.
Pazazz apples are known for their exceptional flavor, which combines the sweetness and juiciness of Honeycrisp with a slightly tangy and zesty twist. They have a vibrant red color with occasional yellow patches, and their skin has a crisp and crunchy texture. These apples are often described as having a “zesty zing” that sets them apart from other apple varieties.
Pink lady apples always turn heads! They are a gorgeous shade of pink with speckles of yellow and green, but the outside is just one lovely aspect of this apple. The inside of a pink lady apple is a tantalizing shade of pale pink. Pink ladies have a deliciously sweet and sour flavor with a juicy finish. These apples are great for enjoying fresh on snack boards, cheese plates, and salads. In addition, this is a popular type of apple!
Pink Pearl apples have a greenish-yellow skin with pink or reddish patches. However, their most distinctive feature is their beautiful pink or rosy-red flesh, which can vary in intensity depending on the apple’s maturity and growing conditions. The flesh of Pink Pearl apples is crisp and juicy, and they offer a mildly tart and floral flavor, making them a pleasant surprise for those expecting a typical apple taste.
Pippin apples come in various sizes, shapes, and appearances, ranging from small to large with round, ovate, or conical shapes. Different apple varieties are grouped under the name “Pippins,” and while some fruits have a consistent look, others might have a slightly asymmetrical or irregular appearance. The apple’s skin can be thin or thick and generally has a tight texture.
Queen apples display a vibrant red skin with small creamy speckles and have a fine-grained, crisp, and highly juicy texture. While the flavor leans toward sweetness, it remains moderate, accompanied by delicate hints of banana and pears, and emits a light, fruity aroma.
Rajka apples are an excellent contemporary apple variety hailing from the Czech Republic. As with many recent breeds, it boasts a well-formed, substantial size, and is visually appealing. The skin features a striking combination of deep red over a golden yellow base. The flesh is a creamy yellow, exhibiting an open texture and a satisfying crispness that snaps delightfully with each bite. Its flavor is sweet yet balanced with a pleasant acidity, drawing a close comparison to the Elstar apple variety.
Red delicious apples are a lunchbox classic! These large sweetly flavored and vibrantly colored apples are a favorite apple for little tummies! Red Delicious has the iconic oblong apple shape and shiny red color that turns heads. Inside they are off-white, firm, and oh-so-sweet! These colorful apples are best when enjoyed raw in salads, medleys, or dipped in peanut butter. These are one of the most popular types of apples.
Rome apples are medium to large in size and have a deep red color, sometimes with green patches or streaks. They have a thick and tough skin, which makes them excellent for storage and baking. The flesh of Rome apples is creamy-white, dense, and moderately juicy, with a slightly sweet and mildly tart flavor. Due to their firm texture and ability to hold their shape during baking, Rome apples are often used for making pies, cobblers, and other cooked apple dishes.
Rose apples are small to medium-sized fruits with a bell-shaped or pear-like appearance. They come in different colors, including green, yellow, or pink, depending on the variety. The skin is thin and edible, while the flesh is crisp and juicy, offering a mild and refreshing taste with floral notes reminiscent of rose water, which gives them their name.
If you love cider then winesap apples are for you! Winesap are small and red to yellow-green in color. They do not grow very big but their tangy and tart flavor makes them the perfect choice for making apple cider! This is the most common use for Winesap apples, but these small fruits are also lovely in baked desserts, compotes, and sauces.
Choosing the best apples from the grocery store involves using your senses to assess their quality. Here are some tips to help you pick the tastiest and freshest apples.
- Inspect the Appearance: Look for apples that have vibrant colors without dull or faded spots. Avoid apples with bruises, cuts, or blemishes on the skin. The skin should be smooth and free from wrinkles.
- Feel the Texture: Gently hold the apple in your hand and feel its texture. It should be firm and not too soft. Avoid apples that feel mushy or have soft spots.
- Check the Weight: Heavier apples are generally juicier and have a better texture. Pick up different apples and compare their weight to find the ones that feel heavier for their size.
- Smell the Aroma: Give the stem end a gentle sniff. A fresh and flavorful apple will have a pleasant, fruity aroma. If it lacks fragrance or has a sour smell, it might not be at its best.
- Consider Variety and Use: Different apple varieties have distinct flavors and textures. Choose the variety that suits your taste preference and intended use (e.g., snacking, baking, making applesauce).
- Avoid Overripeness: Be cautious of apples that are too ripe. They may be mushy or have a mealy texture. Look for apples that are firm but not overly hard.
- Store Conditions: Check the display area. If the apples are stored properly (refrigerated or in a cool environment), they are more likely to be fresh and of better quality.
- Buy in Season: Apples are often at their best when they are in season. Check local harvest times for the freshest and most flavorful options.
Remember that personal preference plays a role in choosing apples, so do not be afraid to try different varieties to discover your favorites.
How to Store
Proper storage helps keep apples fresh and flavorful for a more extended period. Here’s how to store apples:
- Refrigeration: Apples should be stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where the temperature is typically around 32 to 40°F (0 to 4°C). This slows down the ripening process and helps maintain their crispness and flavor.
- Separation: Keep apples separate from other fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Apples release ethylene gas, which can cause other produce to ripen or spoil faster.
- Ventilation: If you have a large quantity of apples, consider placing them in a ventilated container or perforated plastic bag to maintain proper airflow and prevent moisture buildup.
- Inspect Regularly: Check your stored apples regularly and remove any that show signs of spoilage or damage to prevent them from affecting the others.
- Avoid Freezing: Apples can freeze and develop a mealy texture if stored at very low temperatures, so try to keep them away from the coldest parts of the refrigerator.
- Room Temperature: If you plan to eat the apples within a few days, they can be kept at room temperature. However, they will ripen faster, so consume them promptly.
- Check Ripeness: Apples ripen at different rates, so if you have both ripe and unripe apples, consider separating them or consuming the ripe ones first.
- Store Away from Strong Odors: Apples can absorb odors from nearby foods, so avoid storing them close to strong-smelling items like onions or garlic.
Remember that apples will eventually start to lose their crispness and flavor over time, even when stored correctly. To enjoy the best quality, try to consume them within a few weeks of purchase.
Apples are not only delicious but also packed with various nutrients and health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of eating apples:
- Rich in Fiber: Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes a feeling of fullness, and helps maintain bowel regularity.
- Heart Health: Apples contain antioxidants and flavonoids, which may contribute to heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The soluble fiber in apples can help lower cholesterol levels.
- Weight Management: The fiber content in apples can help with weight management by promoting satiety and reducing overall calorie intake.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: The polyphenols and fiber in apples can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Hydration: Apples have a high water content, which helps in maintaining proper hydration.
- Rich in Antioxidants: Apples are a good source of antioxidants like vitamin C and various phytonutrients. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Bone Health: Apples contain a small amount of potassium, which can contribute to bone health.
- Gut Health: The fiber in apples serves as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which supports a healthy digestive system.
- Oral Health: Chewing apples stimulate saliva production, which can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Skin Health: The antioxidants in apples can help maintain healthy skin by protecting it from damage caused by UV rays and pollution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, apple peels are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber. Many of the beneficial nutrients are found in the peel, so it’s recommended to eat apples with the skin on whenever possible.
Yes, apples are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and supporting a healthy gut.
Some popular apple varieties for baking include Granny Smith (tart and firm), Honeycrisp (sweet and juicy), and Fuji (sweet and crisp). They hold their shape well during baking and add delicious flavors to pies, tarts, and other baked goods, like apple muffins.
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