Did you know that Red and Yellow Delicious apples account for more than half of the harvest in this country? In fact, 80 percent of apple production in the United States consists of only about eight varieties, barely reflecting the diverse range of colors, shapes, and flavors that the apple offers. With more than six thousand five hundred known varieties of apples in the world, you would have to eat a different apple every day for nearly eighteen years to taste them all. Though that might be a bit ambitious, try sampling a different variety each week during harvest timeyoull be amazed by your discoveries.
But where to begin? That depends on how you like your apples and how you plan to serve them. Choose the right apple for the right job and this fruit will never let you down. Though available year-round, apples are at their peak from September through December.
Relatively new entry from Japan, though almost identical to the Jonathan. Bright-red fruit; crisp flavor reminiscent of under-ripe strawberries. An all-purpose apple. Considered the great cooking apple of the Midwest. Excellent for pies.
Fine fruit with a nice sugar/acid balance. Firm, tart, and best for snacking. Cross between Golden Delicious and Idared.
Tart, good for baking, sauce, and eating. A large apple with crisp white flesh. When cut, the Cortland retains white color longer than other varieties, making it especially good for salads.
Ripens about one month prior to the Cortland. Its sweet flavor makes it a good for snacking and making sauce.
Firm, yellowish flesh with pinkish-orange blush. Striking, peachlike appearance. Sweet aroma and flavor; good dessert apple.
Medium to large, mildly tart with a vibrant yellow skin. This is an early yellow apple that should not be considered a long storage variety. Great for baking; especially good for tarts.
Yellow, sometimes flushed with pale orange; crisp, juicy, sweetly aromatic; occasionally musky, mellow and honey flavored. A long-lasting, all-purpose apple good for snacking and cooking. Excellent for sauce, pies, and juice when mixed with another variety.
Lovely russet-colored skin with a slight texture. Extremely dense and sweet, historically used for cider. Now immensely popular for eating, but hardly available except at a few farmer's markets or through mail order. This is an antique variety often used in paintings by Rembrandt.
A McIntosh variety that is a cross between an Old McIntosh and a regular McIntosh. Mostly green in color, with some red. A tart, crisp apple that can be used the same way as a McIntosh.
Behaves like a McIntosh. Good for sauce but needs to be sweetened a little. An early season similar to the Akane.
A chance seedling found in Bone Gap, Illinois, marketed as a big-fruited, early Jonathan-type. Best for snacking.
High sugars with balancing acidity make this apple good for snacking and for desserts where a soft texture is desired.
Good eating when fresh picked; tart to tart-sweet depending on color, the redder the sweeter. This traditional New England apple likes cool falls. Said to be a seedling of an old apple called Fameuse. Known for its white flesh and apple aroma. Great for snacking and salads. Originated in eastern Ontario, Canada.
Similar, but unrelated, to Red Delicious, this complex variety is sweet, delicate, refined, yet substantial. Too soft for cooking, but ideal for snacking.
Yellowish green sometimes flushed with gray-orange and fairly sweet-tart for snacking; Firm, dense texture which is consistent for cooking. In some areas, Mutsu is known as Crispin.
Large fruit with green background and muted red overlay. Crisp flesh with a sweet-tart complexity and robust flavor. Old-fashioned variety, extremely versatile, great for eating, baking, or sauce. Long prized as an outstanding pie and cider apple.
Old midwestern variety, unique appearance, very rare, early season apple that is crisp and good for baking.
Less sweet than a Golden Delicious and best for eating out of hand.
Beautiful large apple with a solid red blush color. Tart in flavor with a light cream-colored flesh. Equally good for eating, making applesauce, or baking pies.
Best for eating, as its small size is not suited for baking.
A fine early cooking apple for pies and cobblers. Juicy and flavored like a Jonathan.
Exceptionally good for making a single-variety applesauce. Similar to a perfumed Red Delicious. Short shelf life.
Glossy red skin; firm, white flesh with tart flavor. The only cooking apple widely available in supermarkets. Traditional apple for pies, sauce, and juice. Best when blended with one or two other varieties.
A Jonathan by Sekei Ichi cross, resulting in large orange-red apples that resemble Jonagold in appearance and quality.
A cross of Fuji and Toko, introduced in 1980. Available in early fall, this Fuji-type apple has a wonderful sweet flavor with a crisp, juicy texture. Its mellow flavor tastes slightly like a Jonagold.
Crisp, tart; old-fashioned variety, extremely versatile, great for eating, outstanding for baking and sauce.
This is a tart apple that is perfect for baking.
A Northern Spy offspring with a slight anise flavor. An outstanding cooker all around. Firm, crisp texture; moderately acid, aromatic. Blotchy red skin. Short storage life.
Dark red, very crisp, tart early; sweeter later in the season; extremely versatile, great for eating and baking. Winesaps are believed to have originated in New Jersey more than 300 years ago. Great for any use, especially in pies, sauce, and cider.