By Lindsay Owens
There’s a saying about comparing apples to apples. In truth, that may be a little harder to do than most may think.
In the United States alone, there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown and they each have their own unique characteristics. Some are great for fresh eating. Some are more for cooking. Others work best for baking and some are more of an all-purpose apple.
Here’s a rundown, in no particular order, of some of the most common varieties and what they are best used for.
Pretty and sun-blushed Galas are a crisp and sweet mild-flavored apple that makes great apple sauce and salads and can also be used for fresh eating or making cider.
With its deep red skin, Jonathan is a firmer, tart apple that’s well suited to use in salads, applesauce or for baking.
An all-purpose apple, these have a sweet flavor and holds their shape well for baking.
One of the most popular varieties, Red Delicious is best for fresh eating.
A cross between, you guessed it, Jonathan and Golden Delicious, the Jonagold offers a tangy flavor on a yellow and blush-colored apple. It’s good for fresh eating and cooking too.
It may be how green apples became associated with tartness. These crisp and tart apples are good for cooking and are even better when mixed in with other varieties in pies and crisps.
Honey-sweet flavor with a kick of tartness, this apple that was developed in Minnesota is good for both fresh eating, making applesauce and baking.
An early variety, this gold and blush apple is firm, crispy and juicy. These are a great snack for fresh eating.
How to keep apples
Apples purchased directly from orchards, unlike their grocery store cousins, are not coated in wax. Fresh apples may not be as shiny but they will last a long time, several months, in some cases if they are stored in a cool, dry place. Apples can also be stored in the fridge but take note that apples should be kept away from other produce as the natural gases they release can cause some fresh produce to spoil or ripen faster.
Recipes to try …
Apples and caramel sort of go hand-in-hand especially in the fall. True, you can buy some pretty good caramel dip but that’s no substation to fresh and homemade caramel.
Homemade caramel dip
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups of brown sugar (I use dark brown)
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ sticks of salted butter sliced thin
In a medium saucepan, melt the brown sugar over medium heat stirring constantly (it will stick and scorch quickly if not stirred). Once it’s melted, add the sliced butter slowly and continue stirring. The mixture will become bubbly. Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream and continue to stir until all is added. Boil the mixture for one minute. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Quick apple dump cake
What you’ll need:
- 4 cups of chopped apples ( I usually use a mix of varieties I have on hand)
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- ¾ cup of melted salted butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. Spread apples in the bottom of the pan and top with dry cake mix. Shake the pan to even out the cake mix then pour melted butter over the top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around the edges.