How To Take In All The Different Apple Flavors
What’s better than biting into a crisp, juicy apple on a bright fall day? We’re rounding the corner toward apple season, which means we’re seeing lots of apple picking, and snacking under blue skies ahead. What variety of apple is the apple of your eye? Whether you’re gaga for Galas or a diehard Fuji fan, when it comes to “the forbidden fruit” there’s literally a type for everyone. So which are your favorite apple flavors?
Worldwide, there are more than 7,500 apple varieties, and roughly 100 of those are commercially available in the U.S. That is a lot of different apple flavors and many more ways to eat them. While we’re certainly fans of the tried and true (ahem, Honeycrisp), there are some pretty tasty reasons to break away from your standbys to explore other varieties – robust flavor, crispness and puckery punch to name a few.
Apples To Apples: The Difference Between Apple Flavors
Here’s your cheat sheet to navigating your own apple procurement whether that be in an orchard, at a farmer’s market or in the aisle of your local grocery store. Whatever the case, may these notes inspire your own field research (er, sampling).
Note: Make sure to always buy USDA Certified Organic apples. Apples are part of the dirty dozen meaning they’re one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the U.S. Also, steer clear of Arctic Apples, the first genetically modified (non-browning) apples on the market. We’re afraid of Frankenfood more than oxidation.
Comparison Of Apple Types
Why Love It: It’s the one apple that’s nearly as tart as a Granny Smith.
Texture: Don’t expect a crisp bite. This apple has a soft, buttery texture.
Use: It’s best for eating raw, as McIntosh can become mushy when baked.
Why Love It: It’s an old-school fave. Red Delicious used to be American’s #1 choice until getting usurped by Gala. It’s juicy, sweet and great for dipping in peanut butter.
Texture: It has a creamy, white interior.
Use: Eat them raw. Cooked, they become mushy.
Why Love it: Fuji is king for sweetness, crunchiness and juiciness. If those things are your jam, this is the apple for you. If you’re looking for a touch of tart as well, look elswwhere.
Texture: Crisp and wet.
Use: Raw is best. These juicy apples don’t hold up so well when cooked.
Why Love It: This emboldens all the apple flavors: sweetness, check; tartness, check, crunchiness, check; juiciness, check. It’s no surprise it’s one of the more expensive apples on the market, and exceedingly popular.
Texture: Firm and wet.
Use: The Honeycrisp shines when eaten raw. This is simply the best way to appreciate its sheer apple perfection. Because they’re firm, Honeycrisp are also suitable in baked dishes, but with an apple this delightful, why would you hide it in a pie?
Why Love It: The Empire is a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious meaning it gives you the best of both of these iconic apples. It’s sweet and subtly tart with nice thin skin making it great for eating raw.
Texture: Firmer than a McIntosh but softer than a Red Delicious.
Use: This winning combination makes a great cooking apple. Use it in pie, tarts and for making applesauce.
Why Love It: Believed to be a cross between Red and Yellow Delicious, the Cameo is a mildly sweet apple with a little tartness.
Texture: Firm and subtly crisper than a Red Delicious.
Use: Cameo’s mild flavor intensifies when baked making it an excellent choice for cooking.
Why Love It: If crisp is your thing, this apple is the one for you. It’s tops on the crispness chart. If you’re looking for tart though, turn elsewhere. It’s sweet but not as much as a Honeycrisp though just as juicy.
Texture: Crisp and firm.
Use: This apple is versatile. You can basically do anything to it and be satisfied with the result.
Why Love It: If you like tart apples, Granny Smith is still the reigning queen.
Texture: Crisp and firm.
Use: For a good pucker, eat them raw. When cooked they sweeten a bit, but not enough to make a dessert to saccharine.