Apples are one of those fruits that are great all year long, from baking to cooking, to eating raw. They are tasty and satisfying no matter what season it is! But, not every apple is good for every occasion.
When you’re selecting an apple at the store or the farmer’s market, pay close attention to the firmness. The apple should not be soft. Hold it in your hand and see if it feels firm. There shouldn’t be any bruises or discoloration. Although, keep in mind, some specks or scuffs can happen naturally, it doesn’t mean the apple is bad. Once you’ve chosen one that meets this description, give the apple a whiff, if it has a nice aroma, it’s a winner.
Of course, there are a large variety of apples. They can range from tart to buttery and from soft to crunchy. There are apples that are great for baking and others that are excellent eaten raw. There are even “Goldilocks” apples that are good for everything! So how do you choose?
Generally apples that have some tartness and a firm texture make for great baking and cooking options, while those that are softer make for excellent sauces (and sometimes pie fillings) To get started, we’ve included a breakdown on some of the common choices:
- Granny Smith: They have a sharp bite with definite tartness. Because of the firmness, they hold up well when cooked or baked. They also make an excellent addition to salads. You can even eat them raw.
- Gala: These are a great choice for eating raw because they don’t oxidize fast (turn brown). Keep this in mind if your apples will be sitting out for a while. They are also a good choice for sauces, juices, baking, and salads.
- McIntosh: Their flavor can change over the course of time. If you get them close to harvest they will be more tart in flavor (great for baking). But, they will quickly become sweeter and softer as time passes (this makes them great for pies).
- Honey Crisp: Accurately named, they have a honey flavoring, and a yellow-creamy inside. These apples tend to run larger in size. They have just a hint of tartness, which makes them good for baking. But, they are also very tasty eaten raw!
- Red Delicious: Unlike some of its counterparts, this is not a good choice for baking because of its grainy texture and lack of tartness. However, it can be tasty when eaten raw.
- Golden Delicious: This one is sweet and mellow. It’s a great all-purpose apple. You can eat them raw, in a sauce or a pie, or use them for cooking. You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Apples are a great choice all year long, and they’re good for you. So, why not include them in more recipes or just slice some up to serve? It’s easy to eat good when you have so many options!