As autumn approaches, people begin to think about fall flavors. Apples play a large part in this, since they ripen in September and October. While they are enjoyed year-round, the fruit is at its best in the fall. They come in a wide variety of tastes and textures, and just about everyone has a favorite kind. Fujis, Galas, and Golden delicious are popular eating apples, while Granny Smiths and Arkansas Blacks are often preferred for cooking.
Many people prefer to eat apples straight from the basket, and many varieties are good for eating like this. Fujis are one of the top varieties, and some say they are best for eating. Fujis are sweet, slightly crisp, and available year-round in most grocery stores. Galas are also a favorite, easily found in most stores, and are more tart than the Fuji.
Galas and Fujis are red apples. The most popular yellow apple is the Golden Delicious. It is a cross between a Granny Smith and a Red Delicious and maintains some of the traits of both varieties. The Golden Delicious is a little more tart than the Red Delicious, but not as crunchy as a Granny Smith.
The Red Delicious, with its lobed bottom and rich red color, is probably the most well-known of the eating apples. It has a mealy texture and a sweet flavor with hardly a hint of tartness. It does not hold up when cooked because of its texture.
Another good eating apple is the Jonathan. It is sometimes available in stores, but is best from a local orchard. The Jonathan is red with a crunchy texture and a sweet-tart flavor that holds up in cooking. Other eating apples found in stores are Ida Reds, Yorks, Rome Beauties, and Winesaps.
Some varieties are better suited for use in cooking, and the premiere pie apple is the Granny Smith. It is very crunchy and tart, and holds its shape well. It is good for pies, crumbles, crisps, or other recipes in which a tart apple is called for.
Yorks, Rome Beauties, and Winesaps are also good for cooking, if a red apple is preferred. Yorks, with their softer texture, make good applesauce, and they also do well for crisps, in which shape is not as important.
Rome Beauties and Winesaps are good in pies, in applesauce, and for slicing and serving with caramel dip, since they are more tart. These varieties are also great for caramel or candied apples, when a more tart fruit is needed to offset the sweetness of the caramel and candy coatings. Granny Smiths work well for caramel apples, too.
The Arkansas Black is best used for cooking. It has a very firm texture and a tart flavor that hold up well. It sweetens a little when cooked, and so is ideal for recipes that call for apple slices to be served with pork tenderloin, for example, or with pork chops and sauerkraut. It is most commonly available from the local orchard.
Buying apples from the local orchards is always a good way to try new varieties, since sellers will often have slices from all their varieties for shoppers to taste. Orchard owners can also offer suggestions about what uses a particular apple is best suited for. Buyers can also get just a few pieces of fruit at a time to test them and see which varieties they like best.
Apples are great fruit for cooking or eating. They offer many nutrients in a small package, and people are rarely allergic to them. Whether buying them from a store or the orchards, shoppers should look for firm fruit with no mushy spots. The fruit should smell fresh and the skins should be mostly unmarked.