A Guide To Apples And Their Best Uses

green appleOne of the most popular varieties of fruit in American supermarket is the apple. While most novices just getting start in culinary school may think that there are only three kinds of apples (red, yellow and green), chefs can actually choose from a surprisingly diverse array of this tasty, crunchy – not mention delicious – fruit.

The apple is part of Americana, with tales of Johnny Appleseed traversing the country planting apple trees and apple pie being the unofficial national dessert. Red and golden delicious may be familiar favorites with diners and chefs, but there are actually many lesser-known species of apples that you can choose from.

Here are a few old stand-bys and some relative newcomers in the apple scene that you may want to include in your simple recipes:

Red delicious: This is perhaps the most popular species of apple, but it doesn’t cook well because of its creamy white interior. It’s best to save these for a midday snack.

Granny smith: Hailing from Australia, granny smith apples are known for their tart flavor, beautiful color and crispy bite. Cooking this apple actually sweetens it a bit, making it great for tarts. They are also wonderful complements to cheese in an antipasti platter.

Golden delicious: Epicurious called this variety an “all-purpose apple,” and for good reason. You can simply enjoy a golden delicious apple as a snack or include it in your favorite pies, salads or sauces.

McIntosh: This apple has a soft flesh that many chefs may describe as mealy. They may not be great for baking, but they are excellent in apple butters or apple sauces, as their pulp breaks down easily.

Cameo: Cameo apples are relatively new to the market scene, as they were discovered in Washington state in the 1980s. However, they have quickly become one of the most popular species as they are great for eating raw. Cameos are juicy, crispy and have just enough tartness, making them great for baking purposes too.

Gala: This type of apple – which got its start in New Zealand – can be quite expensive because galas have an unusually short growing season. Even after they are picked, they must be refrigerated, as they only keep for a few weeks. However, they are considered one of the best types of apples in the world to eat.

Braeburn: This apple grows late in the season and has a rich, red color – you may want to just use them as decoration. They are best for eating raw, as they are sweet and have a soft pulp that is easy to bite into.

Fuji: This apple originated in Japan, making it one of the more exotic choices for your recipes. Fuji apples are so popular they are now replacing red delicious as America’s favorite, according to pickyourown.org. This apple has hints of red, yellow and green qualities, but is considered the absolute best variety for making applesauce. Look for Fuji apples late in the growing season.
Honeycrisp: Honeycrisp apples are very sweet and aromatic, and originated in Minnesota. If you like freshly-squeezed apple juice, this is the type of apple you should pick as it has a very juicy pulp.

Cortland: With its deep red skin and white stripes, the cortland apple is one of the most visually striking varieties. This is a great baking apple, since it has both sweet and tart flavors.

Haralson: Haralson apples are grown late in the season and are great for pies because they are very firm and tart.

Empire: Considered a cross between McIntosh and red delicious, this red apple was actually developed in New York state in the 1960s – hence the name. It is firmer than the McIntosh variety, making it a great apple to cook with.

If you like this post, please be sure to check out the following!

Best Pies For The Summer
Baked Apples with Cinnamon Custard Sauce Recipe
Apple Betty Recipe

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