Hello, October! With this month, we welcome the crisp, flannel-shirted fall season and its signature fruit: that humble, teacher’s pet, the apple! Not only are there a wealth of apple varieties, each with a different flavor and appearance, there’s also myriad ways of using the fruit, some sweet, some savory, and all 100% (red) delicious.
These taller reddish apples are a favorite in our test kitchen, where we use them for baking, slicing, and, of course, snacking. The Gala has a crunchy texture and a sweetly mild flavor, with thin skin.
When we think of the quintessential apple, it’s more often than not a Red Delicious. Bright in color, and just a bit taller than other varieties, the Red Delicious is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) apple in the United States. Due to its soft texture, it’s best eaten raw, where it’ll wow you with its sweet, appletastic flavor.
McIntosh or MacIntosh
New York farmer John McIntosh first encountered the seedlings for this variety in Canada in the early 1800s, and his namesake red fruit has remained popular ever since. With a soft and creamy texture, the McIntosh is best eaten raw or used in apple sauce or apple butter.
Tart and tangy, the Granny Smith hails from Australia, where it is said to be the product of Maria Ann Smith’s farm. These bright green apples have a sharper flavor, and can stand up to heat, in the form of baking and grilling. Granny Smiths take a bit longer to soften when baked, so allow for some extra time! Thanks to its unique zippy flavor, Granny Smiths also make an excellent accompaniment to cheese, and work well in savory dishes, paired with pungent ingredients like onion.
A hybrid of the Golden Delicious and the lesser known Jonathan apple, this variety has a beautiful red color with touches of gold mixed in. Super flavorful, and easy to snack on, the Jonagold has a shorter season (from October to late November), so snap them up when you see them! It’s a wonderful multi-purpose apple, equally delicious for eating plain, cooking, or baking.
The Cortland apple was developed as a hybrid between the McIntosh and Ben Davis varieties in 1898 in New York state. Sweet in flavor and resistant to browning, the Cortland is a excellent served raw, or used in cider or apple sauce.
Named for the Japanese town of Fujisaki, where it was developed, this popular, sweet apple is a blend of two american varieties: the Red Delicious and Virginia Ralls Genet. The Fuji is generally larger, and two toned: reddish with streaks of gold. It keeps longer than many other varieties, and is best eaten raw, whether in salads, or as a snack.
We love the bright yellowish hue of a Golden Delicious, not to mention the soft texture and fragrant flavor. Since the Golden Delicious can spoil quickly, use it fast, in everything from salads, to apple sauce, to a very satisfying snack.
First introduced into the market in 1991 by the University of Minnesota, the Honeycrisp has quickly became a universal favorite. Juicy, satisfyingly crunchy, and with a flavor seriously reminiscent of honey, it’s a perfect variety to eat straight or use in apple sauce.
Round and mostly reddish with shades of green, the Empire apple is a newer variety, developed as a cross between the Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. With a firm texture and a sweet flavor, it’s an excellent baking apple, perfect for this Plated favorite.
Firm and tangy, the Braeburn hails from New Zealand, and has a dusky red skin tinged with yellowish undertones. It’s got a balanced flavor, with some sweetness and tartness for good measure. Whether you’re baking or eating raw, the Braeburn is a good bet.
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