- Red Apple Varieties – Common Apples That Are Red
- Choosing Red Apples
- Red Apple Cultivars
- 12 Apple Varieties You Should Know
- Crab Apples
- Golden Delicious
- Granny Smith
- Red Delicious
- Rhode Island Greening
- Comparing Apples to Apples–the best for eating & cooking
Red Apple Varieties – Common Apples That Are Red
Not all apples are created equal; they each have been selected for cultivation based on one or more outstanding criteria. Usually, this criterion is flavor, storability, sweetness or tartness, late or early season, etc., but what if you just want a red apple cultivar. Again, not all apples that are red will have the same attributes. Choosing red apples for your garden is a matter of taste as well as of the eye. Read on to learn about apple trees with red fruit.
Choosing Red Apples
As mentioned above, choosing an apple tree with red fruit is a matter of taste, of course, but there are a few other considerations. About the only thing that apples that are red have in common is, that they are red.
First off, not every red apple variety will be suited to your neck of the woods. Be sure that you are selecting only apples that thrive in your region. Also, take a look at their ripening time. You may want early or late harvested apples. Some of this has to do with your USDA zone, length of growing season and some has to do with flavor. And what do you plan to primarily use the apples for? Eating fresh, canning, pie
These are all important things to consider and look for when choosing the perfect red apple tree variety.
Red Apple Cultivars
Here are some of the most commonly grown red apples to choose from:
Arkansas Black is such a deep red it’s almost black. It is a very firm apple, sweet and tart and is an excellent long storing apple.
Beacon was introduced in 1936 and is slightly tart, with soft, juicy flesh. The tree is hardy yet susceptible to fire blight. Fruit ripens mid- to late August.
Braeburn is a dark red apple with a bold sweet and spicy flavor. The skin color of this apple actually varies from orange to red over yellow. An apple from New Zealand, Braeburn makes excellent applesauce and baked goods.
Fuji apples hail from Japan and are named after its famous mountain. These super-sweet apples are delicious eaten fresh or made into pies, sauces or other baked goodies.
Gala apples are sweet smelling with a crisp texture. Originating from New Zealand, the Gala is a multi-use apple perfect for eating fresh, adding to salads, or cooking with.
Honeycrisp is not entirely red, but rather red mottled with green, but nonetheless worthy of mention for its complex flavors of both tart and honey-sweet. These ultra juicy apples are perfect eaten fresh or baked.
Jonagold is an early apple, a combination of Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples. It can be stored for up to 8 months and has a juicy, nicely balanced flavor.
McIntosh is a Canadian cultivar that is crisp and sweet and can be stored up to 4 months.
If you’re looking for the stereotypical apple that the witch tricked Snow White into eating, look no further than the classic Red Delicious. This crunchy, snacking apple is bright red and heart shaped. It was discovered by chance on the farm of Jesse Hiatt.
Rome has smooth, bright red skin and sweet, juicy flesh. Although it has a mild flavor, it grows deeper and richer when baked or sautéed.
State Fair was introduced in 1977. It is more of a striped red. The tree is susceptible to fire blight and prone to biennial bearing. The fruit has a short shelf life of 2-4 weeks.
This is only a partial list of red apple varieties available. Other cultivars, all of which are predominantly red, include:
- Prairie Spy
- Red Baron
- Sweet Tango
- Cortland – The Cortland is historically a superb baking apple, although it is very good eaten fresh as well. The Flesh is bright white with a sweet aroma that resists… Know More
- Empire – The Empire is a beautiful, dark red apple with a creamy, juicy flesh that is reminiscent of the McIntosh. The Empire is a cross between Red Delicious and… Know More
- McIntosh – The McIntosh is a popular and versatile apple. It can be used successfully in baking, sauce, or cider and is equally enjoyed fresh. The fine textured flesh is… Know More
- Honeycrisp – The Honeycrisp is a cross between a Macoun and a Honey Gold. We have been raising Honeycrisp here at Sunrise for 10 years and have seen higher and… Know More
- Macoun – The Macoun is a cross between a McIntosh and Cortland and it exhibits the best qualities of both these apples. It is a great cooking apple, but is… Know More
- Paula Red – The Paula Red is our earliest apple, harvested around the second and third week of August. It is a beautiful pinky red color and when you bite into… Know More
- Jonagold – The Jonagold is a beautiful apple, with streaks of yellow and red and a creamy, yellow flesh that is perfectly sweet. Eat this apple sliced with cheeses or… Know More
- Granny Smith – Our Granny Smith are slightly smaller than the standard New Zealand supermarket variety, and they sport a pretty rosy blush amidst the bright green. The Granny is a… Know More
- Red Delicious – Our Red Delicious tend to be smaller and sweeter than the standard supermarket variety. They are a deep, dark red color, with the characteristic Delicious “bumps” on the… Know More
- Gala Apple – Gala is a beautiful, strawberry-red apple with a crisp, sweet flavor. Know More
- Esopus – The Esopus Spitzenburg sports an orangey-red blush over a generally yellow complexion. It has a honeyed taste, on the sweeter side compared to many of our other cider… Know More
- Golden Russet – Golden Russet is known for its thick ochre skin and creamy pale yellow flesh. It has a tart but sweet taste and is used for both cider and… Know More
- Wickson – The Wickson are notable for their small size, as they fit almost perfectly in your palm. They also have an almost neon orangey-pink color. Know More
- Dabinett – The Dabinett features a more russeted texture and a pinkish-red bloom across the apple’s skin, although they can range from yellowy-green to darker red. This apple is a… Know More
- Somerset Redstreak – The Somerset Redstreak is a bittersweet cider apple. It is named so partly because of its striking red streaks, which set it apart from the crowd. Know More
- Ashmead’s Kernel – The Ashmead’s Kernel is distinctly recognizable by its highly russeted golden skin, and its creamy yellow flesh, drawing similarities to the Golden Russet. Its taste is simultaneously sweet… Know More
- Yarlington Mill – The Yarlington Mill is yellow-green streaked with crimson, and its taste ranges sweeter than most cider varieties. Know More
- Harry Masters Jersey – This variety is another bittersweet hard cider apple, with patches of pink skin and again, an organic russeting pattern, usually blooming out around the stem. These are thought… Know More
12 Apple Varieties You Should Know
Fall’s here, which means everyone’s dreaming about pumpkin, pulling fleece-lined jackets out from the depths of their closets, and mourning the end of peach and berry season. Fortunately, the beginning of fall also marks the start of apple season. Apples are the quintessential fall fruit—once it’s September, they surge in popularity, starring in baked goods, as interior decorating props, and in festive party games, like apple bobbing. Grocery stores keep bins of apples stocked, and apple orchards send people away with bags weighed down with hand-picked fruit. Luckily for you, with all the apples you’ll inevitably have on hand, they’re an extremely versatile fruit: excellent when they’re baked into pies, cooked down in sauces, made into cider, and munched in their pure, raw form.
There’s an astonishing number of apple varieties, and when you’re faced with selecting apples, it can be difficult to determine what’s the best apple for baking, or the best apple for eating. To prevent you from inadvertently biting into a tart Granny Smith when you wanted something sweet, or baking with a Red Delicious which is best eaten raw, this guide provides you with a handy key to tasting notes, texture, color, and cooking and baking suggestions for a dozen of the most popular apple varieties.
Cortland apples are squat, with a creamy interior that’s both sweet and tart. Their flesh is pretty soft—though not as soft as a McIntosh apple—but it’s easy to confuse the two: Both have similar coloring and the same mix of sweet and tart. Unlike McIntosh, Cortland are multi-purpose: You can eat them raw, baked, or cooked.
While crab apples tend to be discovered rotting in the grass—apples you’d never consider eating because they’re sour and tart—crab apples are generally used to make jam and jelly. For other crab apple ideas, you can also pickle and juice them.
One of the most beloved apples in the country, Fuji apples range in color, from orange to yellow to red. Fuji apples were originally cultivated in Japan before arriving in America in the 1960s. Don’t cook with Fuji; their crispness adds an appealing crunch to salads or other dishes that don’t involve cooking.
Unlike the consistent, vibrant red of a Red Delicious, no two Gala apples look quite the same. They’re generally light red, with yellow undertones and wisps of pink and orange spots. Gala apples have a reliable, mild sweetness and a crisp bite, and their thin skin makes them ideal for a fresh-eating apple.
Discovered by a farmer in West Virginia, Golden Delicious are not related to Red Delicious, despite the shared name. With bright yellow skin, they feature a silky texture and a very sweet flavor. Bake into pies, toss slices into salads, and cook down into sauces. They taste best shortly after purchased because the thin skin is easily bruised.
Although bright green Granny Smith apples are quite tart and crisp, cooking with these apples actually makes them sweeter, and they pair well with savory and salty foods. They’re also frequently used in baked goods because of their high acidity, as well as their ability to maintain their shape when baked.
Similar to Macoun and Gala apples, Honeycrisp are sweet and crisp. With a red exterior and pale white interior, their crisp texture will stay firm when baked or caramelized.
Macoun apples are a cross between a McIntosh and a Jersey Black. Sweet and juicy, Macouns are often found at pick-your-own apple orchards. Intensely sweet, they’re best eaten fresh, but these apples bring a crisp sweetness if you’re looking to make applesauce.
McIntosh apples are generally characterized as crunchy and mealy, which honestly sounds a bit unpleasant, but this quality, paired with their creaminess, makes them optimal for applesauce and apple butter. They’re typified by a crimson, dark red, and green color with a bright white interior.
Mutsus, relatives of Golden Delicious, will drip down your chin when you bite into them. Sweet, sharp and pungent, they can be munched on plain, or juiced and cooked. They can be stored for three months before going bad.
Perhaps the most recognizable and widely planted apple in the country, Red Delicious are easy to spot because of the vibrant red color. They’re juicy, with a mildly sweet flavor, and have a long storage life. While not suggested for baking or cooking, Red Delicious are one of the tastiest raw apples.
Rhode Island Greening
As their name suggests, the Rhode Island Greening was first cultivated in Rhode Island, and are the official fruit of the state. Rather large and round with a waxy green exterior, these apples are crisp, juicy and sometimes sour, and similar to Granny Smith. Cook immediately after picked, or wait until their skin turns a greenish-yellow. That color signifies they’re fully ripe and ready to feast on.
Comparing Apples to Apples–the best for eating & cooking
Seems like every time I plan to cook with apples, I can’t remember which ones are best for pie or muffins or applesauce. I’d like to try some of the newer varieties, but which ones? I end up googling or hunting for information in the apple aisle at the grocery store. There are so many varieties of apples, it can get overwhelming trying to choose.
That’s why I decided it would be helpful to compile some tips for choosing apples and put them in a fact sheet to print out and always have available. No more hunting around for info every time I need to buy apples. Below you will find my apple fact sheet that you can download and print. It would be handy to keep it in a folder or notebook with your cookbooks. That’s where I put mine.
One disclaimer, though. I didn’t find 100% agreement on the best use for every apple listed on the fact sheet. That’s why I compiled the information from several reputable sources (US Apple Association, Cook’s Illustrated, Pick Your Own) and summarized recommendations where I found the most agreement. Your individual tastes and preferences should ultimately guide which apples you use.
Here’s the apple fact sheet in downloadable form followed by the complete content of the fact sheet for you to view in the remainder of this post.
This is a summary of recommended uses for some of the more popular apple varieties. Some apples are better suited for eating raw because of their texture and flavor, others are better for pies and baking because they hold their shape when cooked, and others have the texture and flavor for better applesauce.
|KEY:||=highly recommended||=recommended||=not recommended|
|Baldwin||Tart,crisp, great for baking|
|Cameo||Crisp, tart, juicy|
|Cortland||Tart,crisp;slow to brown|
|Golden Delicious||Sweet, juicy, best all-purpose|
|Granny Smith||Tart, crisp, juicy, great in salads|
|Jonagold||Both sweet & tart|
|Pink Lady||Sweet, crisp|
|Red Delicious||Bland, crisp|
Summary of recommendations:
- Raw for snacking and salads—Personal taste and preferences vary widely—it’s up to you whether you prefer sweet or tart. Fuji and Honey Crisp are currently the most popular varieties.
- Pies and baking—Choose only apples that hold their shape well during cooking. Golden Delicious, Baldwin, Cortland, and Idareds are highly recommended by Cook’s Illustrated.
- Sauce—Choose sweeter apples if you prefer unsweetened or low-sugar applesauce. Gala, Rome Beauty, Stayman, and Golden Delicious are highly recommended.
- Juice—Choose a combination of apples to achieve the sweet/tart flavor you prefer. Most apples are good juicers; Honey Crisp is considered a good choice for a balance of sweet and tart.
- Freezing—(not on chart) Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Granny Smith.
Try a mixture of apple types in a single recipe. Experiment and find the ones that best suit your taste.
Measurement guidelines: (this cannot be exact since apple sizes vary)
- One pound of apples = approx. 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small apples
- 1 medium apple (tennis ball size) = 1 cup chopped apple
- One pound of apples yields approx. 3 cups of chopped apple or 2-1/2 cups of sliced fruit
- Two pounds of apples is enough for an average 9” pie
view on Amazon: my favorite apple slicing tool
My personal favorite eating apple used to be Fuji. But recently Honey Crisp has become my favorite. What is your favorite apple for eating or cooking?
Make it a Yummy day!
Other apple posts that may interest you:
- Make Easy Caramel Apples With A Gourmet Flair
- How to Cut and Serve Perfect Caramel Apple Slices
- Make Caramel Apple Gift Bags & Tags
- How to Prevent Apple and Pear Slices from Browning