Comparing Apples to Apples

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Remarkably, there are hundreds of different apple varieties grown in the U.S., and new ones are being developed all the time. We’ve compiled a list of common apple varieties, best apple recipes for each type, and an apple sweetness scale to help you narrow your choices. As the major crops come in, Sprouts may carry 15–20 different types of apples both conventional and organic. But in many cases their seasons are short, so you have to act fast. Apple sweetness, texture and uses can vary depending on the type of apple.

Apple Facts

  1. About 2/3 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.
The Great Apple Harvest apple chart from tart to sweet

Types of Apples

Autumn Glory

Autumn Glories are a cross between the Fuji and Golden Delicious. Its flavor is mostly sweet and has hints of cider. Characteristics: Mostly sweet flavor with hints of cinnamon and caramel. Good for: Charcuterie board with strong cheeses.

Braeburn

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

Cortland

A great all-purpose apple with a snow white flesh, first produced in 1898. Characteristics: Crisp, finely-grained white flesh and exceptionally juicy with a sharp, sweet-tart flavor. Good For: Extremely slow to brown when cut, these are perfect for use in fresh salads.

Cosmic Crisp

Large with exceptional storage life, it is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples. Characteristics: Crisp and juicy with ample sweetness and rich flavor. Good For: Perfect for eating, it is slow to brown once cut and maintains its texture and flavor in storage for over a year.

Empire

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

Envy

Originally from New Zealand, these apples are now available all year round! Characteristics: Refreshingly  sweet, crisp taste. Good for: Sweet enough for no-sugar apple sauce, on top of a sandwich or in salads.

Fuji

Originally cultivated in Japan and brought to the U.S. 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.

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 and crunchy, with dense flesh. Good For: Eating fresh, baking.

Juici

This perfect cross between Braeburn and Honeycrisp will not disappoint with a dense, sweet-tasting crunch. Characteristics: Extremely juicy and sweet with a pleasant tart finish. Good for: Salads, and cheese boards.

Kanzi

Available year round, the Kanzi has everything you love from a Gala and Braeburn giving you the sweet and tangy crunch you crave. Characteristics: Extremely juicy with a sweet and sour bite. Good for: Savory meals, snacking and toppings.

Koru

From New Zealand, an accidental cross between Fuji and Braeburn with the best characteristics of both. Characteristics: Sweet, juicy and crunchy with subtle tartness and notes of honey. Good For: Slow to brown once cut, they are ideal in salads or a great snack apple.

Lady

Also known as Pomme d’Api or Christmas Apple, they are considered primarily a decorative apple. Characteristics: Firm to the touch, the flesh is tender, not crisp, and sweet-tart with a succulent finish. Good For: Pies, baking, carmelized or roasted in your favorite dishes.

Lucy Glo

Naturally pink-red inside, blushing gold outside. Characteristics: Developed in Central Washington by a cross of Honeycrisp and Arlie Red varieties. Sweet and tart with a hint of berry. Good For: Tasty in salads or beautiful on cheese plates. Juice them for a vibrant pink refreshing beverage.

Lucy Rose

Naturally has a pink-red inside, glowing red outside with white lenticels. Developed in Central Washington by a cross of Honeycrisp and Arlie Red varieties. Characteristics: Sweet and crisp with a hint of berry. Good For: Crisp snacking apple that is striking in salads and on cheese plates. Kids love the enticing red color!

Macoun

Pronounced “ma-cow-an” and boasts a creamy white flesh. Characteristics: Extra sweet with hints of berry. Good for: This apple is considered to be one of the best all-purpose cooking apples.

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 and 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 U.S. Characteristics: Crisp and tart, with a lovely pink blush color. Good For: Eating fresh, cooking.

Red Delicious

Gorgeous color, mostly grown in Iowa. Characteristics: Flavor can be a bit bland; very juicy/watery. Good For: Making the perfect caramel apples.

Rockit

They have 65% more potassium, 19% more energy and 10% more fiber than the average apple Characteristics: Deliciously sweet and miniature for on-the-go snacking. Good For: Perfect for snacking and packed in a fully-recyclable tube.

Smitten

Mixed from Gala, Braeburn, Falstaff and Fiesta varieties. Characteristics: Crunchy exterior with familiar flavor. Good for: Cheese, peanut butter, cooked with pork or chicken.

Snapdragon

A perfect snacking apple, similar to Honeycrisp. Characteristics: Juicy, crunchy and extra sweet. Good for: Good for eating on its own, in salads and kids lunches.

Sugarbee

Native to Minnesota, Sugarbees are crispy and crunchy. Characteristics: Sweet flavor and a juicy flesh. Good for: Dehydrating or baking.

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