Apples, with their enticing flavours, crisp textures, and vibrant colours, have been a beloved fruit for centuries. From the familiar grocery store varieties to heirloom gems, there is an abundance of apple types to explore. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of apples, highlighting over 27 common types of apples that you may encounter. Discover their unique characteristics, flavours, and culinary applications, and expand your apple knowledge as we traverse the orchard together.
27 Common Types of Apples
- Red Delicious: As one of the most recognizable apple varieties, Red Delicious boasts a bright red skin, mild sweetness, and a firm, crunchy texture. It is often enjoyed fresh or used in salads, but its popularity has made it available year-round.
- Granny Smith: Known for its tartness and vibrant green skin, Granny Smith apples add a tangy zing to both sweet and savoury dishes. They retain their crispness when baked, making them an excellent choice for pies, tarts, and apple sauces.
- Gala: With its thin skin and a beautiful blend of red and yellow hues, Gala apples offer a delightful balance of sweetness and tartness. They are enjoyed fresh, sliced into salads, or used for applesauce due to their pleasing flavour.
- Honeycrisp: Renowned for its exceptional crunch and juicy flesh, the Honeycrisp apple lives up to its name. This variety provides a delightful balance of sweetness and acidity, making it a popular choice for eating fresh. It also holds its shape well in baking recipes.
- Fuji: Originally from Japan, Fuji apples have become widely popular due to their dense, crisp texture and honey-like sweetness. These apples are perfect for snacking and make great additions to fruit salads or cider recipes.
- Pink Lady (Cripps Pink): Pink Lady apples are characterized by their vibrant pink blush and crisp texture. They offer a sweet-tart flavour profile, making them enjoyable for eating fresh or incorporating into various culinary creations.
- Braeburn: Hailing from New Zealand, Braeburn apples are known for their unique blend of sweetness and tartness. They have a beautiful red and green skin and a firm, crisp flesh, making them an ideal choice for both fresh eating and baking.
- McIntosh: McIntosh apples have a tender texture and a mildly tart flavour with hints of sweetness. They are excellent for making applesauce, pies, and apple butter due to their natural juiciness and softness when cooked.
- Golden Delicious: Golden Delicious apples feature a golden yellow skin and a sweet, mellow flavour. They are versatile apples suitable for various culinary purposes, including baking, snacking, and salads.
- Rome Beauty: Rome Beauty apples have a distinctive bright red skin and a mildly sweet flavour. They are often used for baking, as their dense flesh holds its shape well during the cooking process.
- Jonathan: With a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, Jonathan apples offer a rich, tangy flavour. They are popular choices for pies, applesauce, and cider, as their robust taste enhances these creations.
- Cortland: Cortland apples have a slightly tart flavour with a hint of sweetness. They are excellent for fresh eating and are particularly valued for their ability to resist browning, making them ideal for salads and fruit platters.
- Empire: Combining the best qualities of McIntosh and Red Delicious apples, Empire apples offer a sweet-tart flavour with a crisp texture. They are enjoyed fresh and work well in both sweet and savoury recipes.
- Winesap: Winesap apples feature a distinctive spicy, wine-like flavour, giving them their name. They have a firm texture and are commonly used for cider-making and baking.
- Jonagold: A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, Jonagold boasts a delightful blend of sweet and tart flavours. It is excellent for eating fresh, baking, and adding to salads.
- Northern Spy: Known for its exceptional juiciness and distinct tartness, Northern Spy is a favourite among pie enthusiasts. It holds its shape well when baked and adds a tangy punch to desserts.
- McIntosh and Red Delicious Hybrid (Macoun): Macoun apples offer a sweet, crisp bite with a hint of berry-like flavour. They are highly regarded for their taste and are frequently used for fresh eating and desserts.
- Stayman: Stayman apples are firm, juicy, and slightly tart. They have a rich, wine-like flavour and are often used in baking, particularly in pies and tarts.
- Paula Red: Paula Red apples are a delightfully tart variety, perfect for those who enjoy a tangy apple flavour. They are best enjoyed fresh or used in applesauce and salads.
- Cortland and McIntosh Hybrid (Fortune): Fortune apples inherit the best traits of Cortland and McIntosh varieties. They are mildly tart and juicy, ideal for eating fresh and incorporating into various culinary creations.
- Pink Pearl: Pink Pearl apples are unique with their vibrant pink flesh. They offer a mildly tart and fruity flavour, making them an interesting addition to salads and desserts.
- Arkansas Black: Arkansas Black apples are known for their dark burgundy colour and firm, crisp texture. They have a mildly tart flavour that becomes sweeter with storage, making them great for fresh eating and cider.
- Graven stein: Graven stein apples have a slightly tart flavour with a hint of spice. They are cherished for their juicy, aromatic qualities and are often used for applesauce, pies, and cider.
- Golden Russet: Golden Russet apples have a russeted skin and offer a rich, sweet flavour with a hint of spice. They are commonly used for cider-making and can be enjoyed fresh or used in baking.
- Pink Lady and Golden Delicious Hybrid (Ambrosia): Ambrosia apples are known for their honey-like sweetness and crisp texture. They offer a delightful eating experience and are often enjoyed fresh or added to salads.
- Liberty: Liberty apples are a disease-resistant variety that combines a balanced sweet-tart flavour with a crisp texture. They are versatile apples suitable for eating fresh, baking, and cooking.
- Rhode Island Greening: Rhode Island Greening apples have a tart flavour that mellows with storage. They are excellent for baking, as their acidity adds a zesty touch to pies, tarts, and sauces.
How To Select Apples
When it comes to selecting apples, there’s more to it than just grabbing the nearest fruit. With a wide variety of apple types available, each with its own unique flavour, texture, and culinary uses, knowing how to choose the right apple can enhance your eating experience and ensure the best results in your recipes. In this guide, we will walk you through essential tips for selecting apples, empowering you to make informed choices and bring home the perfect fruits.
- Consider the Purpose:
Before making your apple selection, think about how you intend to use them. Different apple varieties excel in specific culinary applications. If you plan to eat them fresh, choose apples known for their crisp texture and sweet or tart flavours, such as Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji. For baking or cooking, opt for varieties that hold their shape and offer a balance of sweetness and tartness, like Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, or Jonathan.
- Examine the Appearance:
When assessing apples, visually inspect them for quality and freshness. Look for apples that are smooth, firm, and free of bruises, cuts, or blemishes. The skin colour may vary depending on the variety, so it’s not necessarily an indicator of ripeness or flavour. Instead, focus on vibrant colours, whether it’s a deep red, bright green, or a unique blend of hues, depending on the type of apple.
- Feel the Texture:
Gently hold the apple in your hand and assess its texture. It should feel firm and solid, without any soft or mushy spots. Avoid apples that are excessively hard or rock-like, as they may lack juiciness and flavour. A good apple should have a slight give when you press your thumb against it, indicating that it’s ripe and ready to be enjoyed.
- Smell the Aroma:
Bring the apple close to your nose and take a sniff. A ripe apple will have a pleasant aroma, which can vary from mildly sweet to subtly tangy, depending on the variety. Trust your senses and choose apples with a fragrance that appeals to you.
- Consider Seasonality:
Apples are at their peak during specific seasons, and choosing apples in their prime ensures optimal flavour and quality. While some apple varieties are available year-round, others have a limited harvest window. Take advantage of local, seasonal apples whenever possible, as they are often fresher and offer superior taste. Familiarize yourself with the harvest times for your favourite apple varieties to make informed choices.
- Explore Local and Heirloom Varieties:
In addition to the commonly found apple varieties, consider exploring local or heirloom apples. Farmers’ markets, orchards, and specialty stores often offer unique and lesser-known varieties that are grown locally. These apples can provide a distinct flavour experience and support local growers.
- Personal Preference Matters:
Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role in apple selection. Every individual has different tastes and preferences when it comes to sweetness, tartness, and texture. Experiment with various apple types over time to discover your favourites and enjoy the diversity that this fruit has to offer.
How To Store and Preserve Apples
Once you’ve carefully selected your apples, it’s essential to store and preserve them properly to maintain their freshness and flavour for as long as possible. By following simple guidelines, you can extend the shelf life of apples and enjoy their crispness and juiciness even weeks after purchase. In this guide, we will explore effective methods for storing and preserving apples, ensuring that you can savour their deliciousness over an extended period.
- Short-Term Storage:
If you plan to consume your apples within a few days to a couple of weeks, consider these short-term storage methods:
- Room Temperature: Apples can be stored at room temperature, ideally in a cool spot away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Place them in a bowl or a fruit basket, making sure they are not crowded to allow proper airflow. However, keep in mind that apples stored at room temperature will ripen more quickly.
- Refrigeration: For a longer shelf life, place apples in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer or in a perforated plastic bag to maintain humidity levels. Cold temperatures will help slow down the ripening process and preserve the apples’ texture and flavour. Keep apples separate from other fruits and vegetables to prevent them from absorbing odours.
- Long-Term Storage:
If you have a surplus of apples or want to enjoy them during the offseason, long-term storage methods are ideal:
- Cold Storage: Apples can be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place, such as a basement, cellar, or garage, where temperatures range between 30-40°F (-1 to 4°C). Wrap each apple individually in newspaper or store them in wooden crates or cardboard boxes lined with straw or sawdust to provide insulation and prevent direct contact between apples.
- Controlled Atmosphere Storage: This method is commonly used by commercial growers but can also be replicated at home with special equipment. Controlled atmosphere storage involves storing apples in a controlled environment with reduced oxygen levels and controlled humidity, which slows down the ripening process. It is best suited for large quantities of apples and requires precise temperature and gas control.
- Preserving Apples:
If you want to enjoy the flavours of apples throughout the year, preserving methods will help you extend their shelf life:
- Canning: Apples can be canned as slices, sauce, or apple butter. The canning process involves sterilizing jars, preparing the apples, and processing them in a water bath or pressure canner. Canned apples can be stored in a cool, dark pantry for up to a year.
- Freezing: Apples can be frozen in various forms, including slices, chunks, or applesauce. Before freezing, peel, core, and slice the apples, then dip them in a solution of water and lemon juice to prevent browning. Pack the prepared apples in freezer-safe containers or bags, removing excess air, and label with the date. Frozen apples can maintain their quality for up to a year.
- Dehydrating: Dehydrating apples removes moisture, allowing them to be stored for an extended period. Thinly slice the apples and remove any seeds or cores. Arrange the slices on dehydrator trays or baking sheets and dry them at a low temperature until they become leathery or crispy. Store the dehydrated apples in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. They can last for several months.
- Tips for Storage and Preservation:
- Inspect and sort apples regularly, removing any damaged or spoiled ones to prevent the spread of spoilage to the rest of the batch.
- Keep apples away from strong-smelling foods as they can absorb odours easily.
- Avoid washing apples until just before consumption or preparation to prevent moisture build-up that can lead to spoilage.
- Use the “first in, first out” principle, consuming or preserving the apples that were harvested or purchased first.
- Label containers or bags with the date to ensure proper rotation and to keep track of freshness.
Proper storage and preservation techniques allow you to enjoy the delightful flavours of apples long after their harvest season. Whether you opt for short-term storage at room temperature or refrigeration or prefer long-term storage methods like cold storage or controlled atmosphere storage, maintaining the right conditions is crucial. Additionally, preserving apples through canning, freezing, or dehydrating ensures that you can relish the taste and versatility of this remarkable fruit throughout the year. By following these guidelines, you can extend the lifespan of your apples and maximize their freshness and quality for future enjoyment.
The world of apples is a diverse and exciting one, filled with a remarkable array of flavours, textures, and culinary applications. Each type of apple has its own distinct characteristics and flavours to offer. From the classic Red Delicious to the tart Granny Smith, and from the crisp Honeycrisp to the aromatic Graven stein, each apple variety offers a unique experience. Whether you enjoy them fresh, baked, or incorporated into your favourite recipes, there’s an apple variety out there waiting to satisfy your palate. So, the next time you visit an orchard or browse the produce aisle, consider trying a new apple variety and savouring the bountiful harvest of this extraordinary fruit. Happy apple exploration!