Have you ever taken time at the grocery store or apple orchard to observe the different varieties of apples available, or do you have your favorite apple style that you always buy? Have you ever wondered why there are so many options or what distinguishes one from another?
There are over 7,500 varieties of apples grown throughout the world, with nearly 2,500 varieties in the United States alone. Washington and New York are two of the top-10 apple-growing states. Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious are among the top apple varieties sold in the United States.
While some apples are location-specific, many more varieties become available locally during peak apple season, which runs from late July to early November. Different varieties are ready to be harvested sooner, while others become riper later. Gala apples, for example, start in mid-August and are harvested through late October, while Fuji apples start in early October and are in-season through mid-November.
We’ve rounded up some of our top questions about apples to put together your ultimate guide to fall apples.
In part, one driver of price is supply and demand. Honeycrisp apples, for example, have been gaining momentum and the production can’t keep up, which is why they are among some of the most expensive apples. Honeycrisp apples are also difficult to grow.
Mature apples are crisp, firm and well-colored with a shiny skin and little to no bruising. If apples taste sour, starchy or poorly flavored, they were probably harvested too early, but if they’re soft and mushy, they were likely harvested too late.
Store your apples in a cool, dry place or in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Depending on your taste preference, you may find that you gravitate towards sweeter or more tart apples. Some common sweet apples are Red Delicious, Ambrosia, Gala, Fuji, and Honeycrisp. Granny Smith apples are known for their distinct tartness, while McIntosh apples, which can be red or green, are among the most aromatic apples.
If you’re looking to make homemade apple cider, consider using either Gala, Fuji, McIntosh, Cortland or Honeycrisp. Apple ciders typically require a blend of apples to get the right flavors for a balanced cider.
You can make applesauce with any variety of apples you like, but it’s typically recommended to use soft apples, like Jonagold, Winesap, Fuji or Granny Smith. Just add your favorite spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, when making a big batch.
According to Bon Appetit, the best apples for baking include Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Mutso and Pink Lady.
What makes these different from other varieties? They are crisp enough and seem to hold their structure better under heat, and resisting breaking down and turning mushy.
Now that you know a little bit more about apples, which new varieties are you going to try this fall?