Apple season (and apple-picking) is well under way, but what apples are the best apples? The wide array of colours, flavours and textures are great for eating, cooking and baking — but with thousands of varieties available, it’s hard to know which apple is best for each preparation. Here’s a guide to seven common varieties:
The Gala is the favourite apple of the Chatelaine Kitchen because of its versatility. They’re equally delicious baked or raw, and with sweet flavour, crisp bite and thin skin they’re also a great grab-n-go snack.
Known for their bright green skin, Granny Smiths are tart and crisp, with a firm texture that holds up well when baked. Granny Smiths are the ultimate apple for apple pie as the tart flavour is well-balanced against the sweetness of the filling.
Fuji has become one of the most popular varieties on the market. Named for Mt. Fuji in Japan, these crisp and sweet apples are perfect for adding to salads, sandwiches and slaws. They also break down very well, so they make an ideal candidate for applesauce.
Bright yellow with a soft texture, Golden Delicious apples are ideal for salads because they don’t brown as quickly as other varieties. Keep in mind that they tend to bruise easily, so it is recommended to use them right away.
Known for their white, juicy flesh, McIntosh apples are best eaten raw or used in applesauce or apple butter. The soft flesh breaks down in baked goods so avoid using McIntosh in pies or crumbles.
Red Delicious apples are known for their deep red colour, with a slightly mealy texture that doesn’t cook well. However, they are one of the most popular types on the market and are best eaten raw.
The Empire is a cross between the Red Delicious and McIntosh. This round apple has a bright red skin with hints of green. Crisp and firm, this apple holds up well and makes an ideal cooking apple.
Shopping Tip: When shopping for apples, choose fruits that are firm and have a smooth skin without any wrinkles or bruises. Store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a month.