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A Guide to Apples and How to Enjoy Them

Here are some favorite varieties and what to do with them, based on their textures, flavors and sizes.

There are so many different types of apples across the sweet-tart-crisp-crunchy spectrum (and at Whole Foods Market, there’s a wide selection of organic options too). But what’s the difference between, say, a Gala and a Fuji? And what apples are best for applesauce? And chips? And other perfect fall recipes? Here are some favorite varieties and what to do with them, based on their textures, flavors and sizes. Because it definitely matters.

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Selections, Storage and Prep

Look for apples that feel firm, smooth and heavy for their size, with no bruises or wrinkling on the skin. As apples ripen, they give off ethylene gas, which shortens the storage life of some other vegetables, so keep them in a bag in your refrigerator’s crisper. And remember to wash apples before eating them, but avoid removing the skin if you can — that’s where the bulk of the fiber is.

Photo of Rainier Fruits growers Bill and Mark Zirkle in apple orchard
Bill Zirkle, fourth-generation family grower (left) and Mark Zirkle, fifth-generation family grower (right).

Suppliers We Love: Rainier Fruit Company

With an operation older than their home state of Washington, the Zirkle family has seen lifetimes of change in the apple world. In the 1960s, 4th-generation grower Bill Zirkle and his father developed their small farm into a fully integrated grower, packer and shipper, and in 1974, he founded Rainier Fruit Company as part of a plan to market and sell the family’s fruit. Bill’s son Mark Zirkle came into the business as the 5th generation and is the current CEO of Rainier Fruit. Today, Mark continues a tradition of innovation and future-focused approaches as multiple family members from 6th generation now come into the storyline, building on wild pollinator management and environmental footprint reduction.

We’re proud to offer organic apple varieties from Rainier in our stores. Recently, the company achieved the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) and will become a Whole Trade supplier in 2021.

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