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What is a Golden Delicious Apple?

By Morgan H.
Updated May 16, 2024
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A golden delicious apple is a green to yellow colored apple of American origin. The inner flesh is described as crisp, juicy, and sweet, though some critics of the apple find it bland. The golden delicious apple is a popular apple for cooking and rendering into purees and sauces as it retains a rich flavor.

Originating in West Virginia, the golden delicious apple was a chance seedling on the Mullins family farm. It is theorized to be a hybrid of the "Golden Reinette" and the "Grimes Golden" varieties of apple. The propagation rights were sold to Stark Brothers Nurseries, who purchased the tree and the land around it for $5,000 US Dollars (USD) in the early 1900s. Stark Brothers marketed the golden delicious apple as a companion to the red delicious apple that they were already propagating and selling, even though the golden delicious was not genetically related.

Golden delicious is a larger apple, yellow in color when it is ripe, and sweeter than similar cooking apples like the Granny Smith. While the golden delicious keeps for a long time, it is prone to bruising and shriveling, therefore having to be handled with care in shipment and transport. The flesh tends to be more crisp than other apple varieties. The apple becomes ripe for harvesting in the autumn, and picking of the fruit continues through the winter. The apple has been successfully exported and cultivated in countries other than the United States since the 1920s.

In the culinary world, the golden delicious apple is popular for use in salads and other applications where the apple is left raw. When the apple is cooked, it is a popular choice to make both apple sauce and apple butter, and, when cooked down and pureed, is used in baby foods. The apple flavor persists well through cooking, and the golden delicious apple is also used in dessert applications such as sauces, sorbets, and ice creams. The apple is also considered by some to be the best choice for making apple cider.

The state of West Virginia designated the golden delicious apple as the official state fruit in 1955 by a Senate resolution. Clay County West Virginia, where the Mullins farm was originally located, has held a golden delicious festival annually since 1972. This festival is held in September of each year in Clay, West Virginia, and features a parade, bake-off, quilt show, and other family activities.

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Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Sep 03, 2013

@turquoise-- We have a golden delicious apple tree too. Since they don't keep well, my mom makes apple pies with them and freezes the pies unbaked.

By turquoise — On Sep 02, 2013

@burcidi-- Of course, this is all a personal preference. I like golden delicious apples because the skin is thin and easy to bite into. It's also great for baking because it keeps its shape. I love making pies with it.

We have a golden delicious apple tree on our farm and we use all of the apples. We eat and sell some fresh and the rest, we make pies and apple sauce as gifts for friends and family. I like picking them slightly before they have completely ripened. At that point, they're both sweet and also a little tart and I like that.

By burcidi — On Sep 02, 2013

I like golden delicious apples a lot but I agree that the skin shrivels very quickly. It doesn't look very appetizing after a week in the fridge or if I leave it outside by chance. The skin is all soft and shriveled. Even though the inside is perfectly good, it doesn't look as tasty any more.

In general, I think it's a nice apply variety, it's fairly sweet but the flavor is not as "fruity" as some apples. I think I like the gala apple better.

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