If you have visited your local supermarket or farmer’s market lately, you would know that we are in the middle of apple season. Apples are harvested in autumn, a perfect time to enjoy warm home-cooked meals and delicious baked goods. Although most people have their favorite, go-to apple when it comes to snacking, certain apples are better for cooking and baking.
Based on tartness, color and texture, here is a simple list to help you when choosing among the dozens of apple varieties.
Best for cooking: With their crisp texture and juicy flavors, apples can pair incredibly well with savory dishes. Create mouth-watering meals by pairing apples with pork, chicken or sausage, and with hearty vegetables like potatoes, beets or cabbage. Crunchy, mild apples also pair well with soft, creamy cheese like Brie or goat cheese. Granny Smiths are one of the most popular apples for cooking because they are firm, crunchy and hold up well against high heat. Another apple that serves well in savory dishes are Braeburns, because of their spicy-sweet taste.
Best for baking: Most people think of sweet, baked desserts when it comes to cooking apples. Apples are naturally sweet, so when baking with them, you can add less sugar. Whether you are baking an apple pie, cobbler or creating your own applesauce, apples that are tart and tangy are the way to go. Jonathan, Braeburn, and Granny Smith are sweet, thin-skinned, and crunchier than other varieties and blend well into your desserts. Need to add some texture without losing sweetness in your apple pie? Try using a combination of Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Braeburn apples.
Best for snacking: Often smaller apples are better for snacking, since they are filling but not overwhelming. Some of our top snacking apples include Pink Lady, Fuji and McIntosh.
Most versatile: Hands down, Gala apples are the most versatile. They are crisp, mellow, with a slight natural sweetness. They retain their firmness in cooked dishes, but are still great for snacking.
Peak pick: Once you hop on the Honeycrisp bandwagon, you probably won’t go back. Honeycrisp apples start hitting your produce departments in late September and, unfortunately, only stick around for a few months. Honeycrisps are great because they are tangy and tart, yet mild and juicy. They are perfect for snacking, enjoying raw in fresh salads, or adding into any of your favorite desserts.
What dishes will you be making with apples this fall season?
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