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Guide to Apples

Posted by Rachel Schwartz on 10/9/2019

Apple season is now in full swing. Not only is apple picking a fun fall activity, but apples themselves are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. While an apple may just be an apple to some, they can actually have different suggest uses based on their variety. There's a reason some grocery stores list suggested uses under an apple's name on their tags (i.e. best for cooking, baking, etc.). This is because not all apples are the same. Below is a shortlist of some of the most popular apple varieties and the methods of preparation for which they are best suited. 

A cross between a McIntosh and a Red Delicious, Empire apples were developed by researchers at New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1966. Generally quite round, with a bright red skin with hints of green, these apples are crisp and have a sweet-tart flavor.

Good for: all purpose, cooking

Discovered in 1811, McIntosh are a softer apple. Their flesh has sometimes been described as "creamy" or "mealy." Similar to the Empire, McIntosh apples have a deep red skin color with hints of green, and a juicy, tangy flavor.

Good for: eating raw, making applesauce or apple butter

Originating in New Zealand in the 1950s, Braeburn apples are firm, crisp, and have a sweet-tart flavor. Their appearance is a muted red with yellow undertones and sometimes can have tinges of green. 

Good for: baking

Granny Smith
Discovered in Australia in 1868, Granny Smith apples have a very distinctive green skin. Considered a hard apple, Granny Smiths are also known for having a very tart flavor profile.

Good for: snacking, in pies or sauces

Named after the famous Mt. Fuji, Fuji apples are large, typically crisp apples with a very sweet taste. Created by Japanese growers in the 1930s and popularized in the US in the 1980s, Fuji apples are a cross between the Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties. Their skin is a striped mix of reds and yellows.

Good for: eating raw, in dishes that require little to no cooking (ex. salads, slaws)

Red Delicious
Red Delicious apples may be the most widely recognized of all the apple varieties. Hailing from Iowa in the 1870s, these apples are iconic for their elongated shape and dinstinct "feet." A softer apple, Red Delicious apples are sweet and juicy. Their color can range from a striped red to a deep, dark solid red.

Good for: eating raw, in salads

Containing a honeyed, mild sweet flavor, Honeycrisp apples are crisp, with a mottled red and yellow colored skin. Developed by the University of Minnesota, these apples are a cross between Macoun and Honeygold, making them a relatively new variety.

Good for: snacking, in salads or sauces

Golden Delicious
Despite its name, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples are not related. A soft apple, Golden Delicious apples are known their thin, yellow skin. Although they have a sweet, mild flavor, these apples do bruise and shrivel easily, making them good for baking. 

Good for: in pies, salads, sauces, freezing

With a short and round appearance, Cortland and McIntosh apples can be confused for one another. Cortland apples, however, have a yellow-green skin with lots of red and have a sweet-tart flavor. They were created over 120 years ago by horticulturists in New York state.

Good for: all purpose, snacking, in salads

Taller than it is wide, Gala apples are relatively small for apples. With a thin, red skin with yellow undertones, this apple is crisp, juicy, and very sweet. A cross between Kidd's Orange Red and the Golden Delicious, Gala apples originated in New Zealand and were introduced to the US market in the 1970s.

Good for: kids, cooking 

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