Apple Picks

8/24/2017

Certain apples are better for cooking on the stovetop or baking in the oven, and others are best for snacking. Here is a guide of apple varieties and how to best use them.

Ambrosia

Taste: Juicy and slightly crisp, sweet with a floral aroma

Best For: Snacking, salads and baking

Fun Fact: In Greek mythology, “Ambrosia” refers to “food or drink of the Gods”

Ambrosia
Photo: Joao Virissimo / Shutterstock

Cameo

Taste: Crunchy with a well-balanced sweet-tart flavor; notes of honey and citrus

Best For: Snacking, cooking and salads; great in chutneys

Fun Fact: Discovered as a chance seedling in a Washington state Red Delicious orchard about 30 years ago

Cameo
Photo: BW Folsom / Shutterstock

Cortland

Taste: Crisp and juicy with a sharp, sweet-tart flavor

Best For: Snacking and adding to salad or fruit kabobs; browns slower than most apples when sliced and stays nice-looking longer

Fun Fact: Developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, in 1898

Cortland
Photo: Chiyacat / Shutterstock

Crispin

Taste: Crisp, light and juicy with a sweet flavor that has a hint of tart

Best for: Snacking, sauces and baking; excellent to bake whole or as thick slices to pair with your favorite roast

Fun Fact: Originally called Mutsu, reflecting their Japanese heritage

Crispin
Photo: GG Pro Photo / Shutterstock

Empire

(Cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh)

Taste: Bright white flesh that is crisp and juicy with a sweet-tart flavor

Best For: Snacking and baking; small Empires are great for school lunches because kids seem to love the sweet-tart flavor and crunchy texture

Fun Fact: Developed at Cornell University in the 1940s

Empire

Fuji

(Cross between Ralls Janet and Red Delicious)

Taste: Crisp and refreshing with a sweet flavor

Best For: Snacking and sauces; applesauce made from Fujis needs little to no sugar

Fun Fact: Named for the town where it was developed in Fujisaki, Japan, in the 1930s

Fuji

Gala

(Cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious)

Taste: Crisp with a pleasantly mild sweet flavor

Best for: Snacking

Fun Fact: Named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite apple during a visit to New Zealand (where the apple originated)

Gala

Golden Delicious

Taste: A relatively soft flesh that is very sweet with notes of honey

Best For: Baking; less sugar goes into Golden Delicious pies and sauces because of the apple’s high level of natural sweetness

Fun Fact: People often think that Golden and Red Delicious apples are cousins; however, they’re related only in name

Golden Delicious

Granny Smith

Taste: Firm and juicy with a thick skin, sharp tart flavor and subtle sweetness

Best For: Snacking, baking and sauces

Fun Fact: Discovered in Australia in 1868 as a chance seedling by “Granny” Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales

Granny Smith

Honeycrisp

(Cross between Macoun and Honeygold)

Taste: Crisp apple with a light, crunchy flesh that is refreshingly sweet

Best for: Snacking and sauces

Fun Fact: Developed by the University of Minnesota in 1991

Honeycrisp

Jazz®

(Cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala)

Taste: Crisp, firm and juicy and a sweet-tart flavor with hints of pear

Best For: Snacking and baking

Fun Fact: Jazz apples are originally from New Zealand and are trademarked, so growers must acquire a license before using the brand name

Jazz
Photo: Peter Zijlstra / Shutterstock

Jonagold

(Blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious)

Taste: Crisp and juicy sweet-tart blend with honey-like aroma

Best For: Snacking, baking and sauces; Jonagolds make great fried apples (sauté in a little butter and add a touch of cinnamon ‒ no sugar needed)

Fun Fact: New York-born Jonagolds debuted in 1968 – a product of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

Jonagold
Photo: Sann von Mai / Shutterstock

Macoun

Taste: Firm, crisp white interior with a  balanced sweet-tart taste and a hint of berry

Best For: Snacking, applesauce and cider; great paired with cheese for a sophisticated fall dessert

Fun Fact: Developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1932

Macoun
Photo: Erika J Mitchell / Shutterstock

McIntosh

Taste: Juicy, crisp, white flesh with a sweet-tart flavor and a hint of spice 

Best for: Snacking, baking and applesauce; McIntosh cooks down easily ‒ if making pie, cut into thick slices or add a thickener

Fun Fact: Discovered as a chance seedling by John McIntosh in 1811

McIntosh
Photo: Lopatin Anton / Shutterstock

Paula Red

Taste: Mild, tart flavor with finely-textured and crisp flesh

Best For: Snacking and applesauce; little or no sugar is needed for the applesauce – they’re naturally very sweet

Fun Fact: The Paula Red is from Michigan and is one of the earliest apples to arrive during harvest season – you may even find them as early as August

Paula Red
Photo: rj lerich / Shutterstock

Pink Lady®

(Cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples)

Taste: Crunchy texture, juicy and tart with a sweet finish

Best for: Snacking

Fun Fact: Pink Lady’s are trademarked – growers must obtain a license before they can use the brand name

Pink Lady
Photo: Fleckstone / Shutterstock

Red Delicious

Taste: Juicy with a light crispness, skin can be tough, sweet but mild flavor

Best for: Snacking; their shiny beauty is lasting – ideal choice for table centerpieces and wreaths

Fun Fact: The most widely recognized of all U.S. apple varieties originated in Iowa in the 1870s; western grown Red Delicious are elongated in shape, with pronounced “feet”, eastern-grown Red Delicious are more round

Red Delicious