Every fall when I go to buy apples I find myself in a quandary because I can not, for the life of me, remember which apples are best for what. The list that follows is intended to fix that problem. Maybe you will find it helpful, too?
Early summer, tart, makes fabulous applesauce that takes a bunch of sugar to turn sweet (which I don’t do because we like tart). To get the full “fresh apple” taste, freeze this sauce.
My second favorite apple for sauce—it yields well, perhaps because the apples are dry, requiring more water during the cooking process.
Good for sauce, but so sweet and mild that it needs sugar just to bring out the flavor.
Good for sauce, but flavor is quite mild, almost watery. Best mixed with other apples.
Good for eating out of hand. Also very good in crisps and pies.
Excellent for drying and fresh eating. Also good for sauce.
Good for fresh eating. Crisp and juicy, though not the most flavorful.
Great for baking, but not good for long-term storage as they tend to get little (non-wormy) spots all over them. Okay flavor, but mushy texture.
Excellent for long-term storage and fresh eating (they’re quite tart) but too dry and mushy for baking. Do not, under any circumstances, use these for drying as they will draw your mouth most wretchedly. More notes: the peels are way too tough. Used these for applesauce, mixed with super gold and golden delicious, and that worked fine.
Great for baking, drying, fresh eating, and long-term storage.
Good for baking, drying, and fresh eating. They are a little on the soft side (more tender than mushy), and they are small. Also, juicy with a snap of tart. We serve them at the donut party.
Our absolute favoritest eating apple—crisp, tart, and juicy. It also dries well.
Large, crispy, and sweet. But almost too sweet. They taste almost like the bruise of an apple.
What are YOUR favorite apples for long-term storage, baking, sauce, and drying?
(For a huge list of all recipes apple, check out the Hazel Bloom’s Applepalooza Wrap Up post.)
This same time, years previous: horseback riding and my year of homeschool torture
Your skills and the work involved to produce this much apple sauce is beyond impressive. I'm in awe. FYI. I always include some red apple peels when making sauce. Learned this tip from Martha. Makes a lovely pink colored sauce. The peels seem to dissolve in the cooking or you can pull them out if they haven't. I use my hand peeler so the peels are wider then yours. Oh, and I've never made more than two jars of sauce! But then I don't have four children.
I nearly always make my applesauce with a mix of apples, whatever is available at my local apple stand when I go. This year it was pipins, granny smiths, winesaps, lots of arkansas blacks, and a couple other sweeter red varieties. I also keep the skin on mine (if we want it smooth I just run it through the blender).
We don't have enough cold storage to keep much in long term storage, but my favorite out-of-hand apples are granny smith, arkansas blacks, and honeycrisp.
Definitely granny smith for drying.
For baking I also usually use a mix. I like granny smith, arkansas black, or winesaps mixed with a sweeter variety.
I have to respectfully disagree with Mrs. Mordecai. We had some very delicious red delicious from our local orchards this year. Now if you're talking store-bought, then yes, I agree they are pretty useless.
my GOD!!!! I canned some apple pie filling a few weeks (and posts) back, and I thought I worked hard! How long did it take you to do all that? that must have been a gazillion apples. I have that apple peeler too, purchased at the last minute. I can't even imagine how it could be done without one of those.
I like to use Red Rome for applesauce on a good year, the red "bleeds" into the apple and the sauce turns pink when canned. So sweet you hardly need to add sugar to the sauce. Very friendly to the eye on the plate!
L. in Elkton
Now THAT load of applesauce is IMPRESSIVE!!!!! My favourite apple at the moment is Ambrosia…yummy!! And they cook up well too…hold their shape. 🙂
Amber, I always thought Staymans were fabulous for baking so every year I buy them and every year I'm disappointed. Perhaps the Staymans in VA are different from the Staymans in PA?
Thanks to you all for broadening and expounding upon my apple repertoire. I will refer to your comments often.
What a great review of apples, thanks for posting!
Hmmmm. I've dried piles of Staymans (both in the past and this year) and we think they are delicious. But Granny Smith are the best for drying if you want an old fashioned dried apple flavor. I just can't get them as readily. And Staymans are a favorite for fresh eating around here too. Also make pies with them…. What's wrong with you?! 🙂
We like Stayman Winesaps for eating. Or Fuji. Or Galas. We've got Johnathans right now and I noticed those brown spots earlier today and thought what the heck.
I make sauce with a mix of apples – this year it was Old Smokehouse and Ginger Gold. But I'm not sure I'm going to do sauce with G Golds again – they tend to be so crisp that they take longer to cook down.
Mmm, I love a nice tart apple for just about anything.
You forgot Red Delicious: good for nothing!
Love this, bookmarking this, will refer back to this often.
And thank you for the linkage! 🙂
Golden Delicious (from the orchard, not the store) are fantastic for cooking, also!
You Can Call Me Jane
We're pretty boring and predictable when it comes to apple varieties. We use Red Cortlands or regular Cortlands for saucing and baking, Gala for eating (without storing), Fuji for eating (and storing) and Granny Smith for drying.
This is an excellent list and resource- thanks!!