There is something so satisfying about crunching into a sweet apple with just a twist of tartness, and they have a regular spot in our fridge at home and in our lunchboxes (the toddler’s and the grownups’). Apples are available year-round, but they’re at their best during the fall. Don’t miss this year’s crop – they’re especially delicious!
While Galas and Fujis are my go-to apples, each year I see a new variety that I’ve never tried before and have to taste. No matter which variety you choose, look for firm, fragrant, bruise-free fruit.
Some apples taste wonderful out of hand and others have softer textures ideal for baking. Here are some tips for selecting just what you want, plus recipes to try..
Excellent for Eating
Braeburn – crisp, firm, sweet, tart and spicy
Cameo – sweet-tart, firm
Fuji – extra crisp, sweet-tart
Gala – mildly sweet, fragrant, thin skinned
Gingergold – mildly sweet, similar to Golden Delicious
Honeycrisp – crisp, sweet, great fragrance
Pink Lady brand – firm, crisp, sweet-tart
Best for Baking
Pippin – crisp, tart, sweet finish
Jonagold – Jonathan/Golden Delicious hybrid, tart, crisp, juicy
Rome – grainy, soft, juicy, sweet
Winesap – firm, slightly tart, sweet-sour contrast
Apples are used extensively in baking because they blend so well with the flavors of vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace, cardamom and clove.
More Delicious Ways to Cook with Apples
Much more than snacks and pie filling, apples complement pork, squash and bitter greens and offset a range of cheeses, particularly cow’s milk cheeses, pungent washed rind cheeses and many blue cheeses. And they offer a delicious flavor contrast when paired with savories like rosemary, sage and lemon.
Take a look at these appealing recipes and browse over one hundred more in our recipe collection.
Apples ripen quickly at room temperature, but they'll be fine for a day or two on the counter. Otherwise, store them in a bag in your refrigerator's crisper. As apples ripen, they give off ethylene gas, which shortens the storage life of some other vegetables, so keep them in their own compartment. For the same reason, you can use apples to ripen avocados and bananas more quickly by placing them in a paper bag together. To extend peak apple enjoyment for any variety (except Golden Delicious and McIntosh), slice and freeze in a single layer on a sheet tray, then transfer to a freezer bag and use in baking or sauces.
Apples are fiber champs and deliver quercetin, a potent flavonoid. Like many other fruits, they're low in calories and free of fat, sodium and cholesterol — a pretty perfect snack in a naturally portable package.
What’s your favorite type of apple and how do you eat it?