Comparing Apples to Apples

Varieties of applesWe carry apples year-round, of course, but it is the fall and early winter when the domestic variety is at its peak. Remarkably, there are hundreds of different varieties grown in the U.S., and new ones are being developed all the time.

As the major crops come in, Sprouts may carry 15 to 20 different types of apples both conventional and organic. But in many cases their seasons are short, so you have to act fast.

APPLE FACTS

1.  About two-thirds of the dietary fiber in apples is in the skin.

2.  Apples can pick up the flavors of other foods around them, so store them away from cabbage and onions

3.  One 9-inch apple pie generally requires about two pounds of apples (six medium-sized apples).

4.  One bad apple can indeed spoil the whole barrel: don't keep bruised or rotting apples nearby other apples.

AMONG THE APPLES TO LOOK FOR:

Braeburn: 

A yellowish-red apple, widely available starting mid-September. Characteristics: Firm and sweet, aromatic and a bit tart, juicy. Good For: Eating fresh.

Cameo: 

A specially cultivated, later ripening apple with a red blush over yellow. Characteristics: Deep flavor, moderate sweetness, combination of sweet and tart, crunchy. Good For: Eating fresh or adding to salads.

Cortland:

Lovely NY-grown apple with a blend of greens and reds. Characteristics: Tender and a little tart, with a floral and somewhat spicy flavor. Good For: Eating fresh, pies, baking, applesauce, salads.

Empire:

Presumably named for the Empire State, since most of them are grown there. Characteristics: Medium-to-large, rather firm; a nice cross between a Red Delicious and a McIntosh. Good For: Excellent eating apple, applesauce.

Fuji:

Originally cultivated in Japan and brought to the US in the 1980s. Characteristics: Firm, extremely sweet, juicy, very crisp; some say "earthy"; stores well. Good For: Eating fresh, salads, pies; one of the best for making applesauce.

Gala:

A thin-skinned relative of the Golden Delicious, but light red in color. Characteristics: Crisp and sweet, very watery; will go bad if not refrigerated. Good For: A great all-purpose apple.

Golden Delicious:

A firm yellow apple that often has bumps on the skin. Characteristics: Mellow in flavor and a treasure of sweetness; must be refrigerated. Good For: Juice, pies, baking, applesauce – but mix with other apples to get better flavor.

Granny Smith:

Good crops of this classic green apple come in from both California and Washington. Characteristics: Delightfully tangy, even lemony, but with a bit of a sweet finish Good For: Baking, salads.

Honeycrisp:

One of the smash hits of the past couple of years, originally developed in Minnesota. Characteristics: A nearly perfect balance of sweet, tart and juicy, with an aftertaste that actually does have honey-like qualities. Good For: Eating fresh, baking.

Jazz:

A New Zealand apple that is a cross between a Gala and a Braeburn – available primarily in our California and Texas stores. Characteristics: Tangy, sweet, crunchy, with dense flesh. Good For: Eating fresh, baking.

Jonagold: 

A cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious. Characteristics: Honey sweet, juicy; tendency to soften during cold storage. Good For: Eating fresh, making applesauce, pies and salads.

Jonathan: 

An early fall apple, with light red stripes and yellow hues. Characteristics: Sweet-tart and firm. Good For: Pies, baking.

McIntosh:

The classic apple shape and flavor. Characteristics: Juicy soft flesh that is bursting with flavor. Good For: Eating fresh, applesauce; a bit too mushy for pies.

Pacific Rose:

Available primarily in our California stores. Characteristics: Large, very crunchy, thin-skinned, firm-fleshed, mostly sweet. Good For: Eating fresh.

Pink Lady:

A fairly new variety, developed in Australia from Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples; now grown extensively in the US. Characteristics: Crisp and tart, with a lovely pink blush color Good For: Eating fresh, cooking.

Pippin:

Green apple, easily mistaken for a Granny Smith. Characteristics: A little bland, with the softer texture of a pear. Good For: Baking.

Red Delicious: 

Gorgeous color, though the other part of the name is a bit of misnomer. Characteristics: Flavor can be a bit bland; very juicy/watery. Good For: They make the perfect caramel apples.

 
 
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