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Our Favorite Apple Varieties & Clever Ways to Eat Them Plus, Intriguing Bonus Facts on Apples

Apples

It’s astounding to learn that there are over 7,500 varieties of apples in the world. Did you know that of them, 2,500 are grown in the U.S.? And studies show some great health benefits reported from eating apples, including lower cholesterol, less inflammation, and even a decreased risk of heart disease. Not only are they fat, salt, and cholesterol-free, but they are also a great source of fiber. Now that it’s almost time for the fall apple harvest season enjoy this breakdown of some of our favorite apples and how to best use them.

Ambrosia (sweet, crisp, aromatic, low acidity) Fun fact: Farmers test the starch level of the fruit to determine when they are ready for harvest and storage.Since they are sweet and moist and hold their shape and flavor, they are wonderful for making mouthwatering cinnamon apple donuts.
Braeburn (rich, crisp texture, citrus plus spiced apple cider flavor) Fun fact: Braeburn apples are self-fertile,, which is unusual for most apple trees that require a cross-pollinator to bear fruit.Since this apple holds its shape and firm texture during the cooking process, it is ideal for roasting alongside autumn vegetables such as squash.
Cortland (Sweet-tart flavor) Fun fact: The flesh of these apples does not brown or discolor quickly – so they are great for platters.Great for cheese plates or can be diced and added to pancakes. However, like most apples, these are best when served fresh.
Empire (sweet-tart taste) Fun Fact: These apples were bred to resist pre-harvest fruit drop and have a low likelihood of developing fire blight, a common disease.This cross between Red Delicious apples and McIntosh has a sweet-tart taste that makes for a delicious apple granola topping for your favorite creamy yogurt.
Envy (Low acid, sweet with a slightly flowery taste) Fun fact: Distribution of this apple in North America began in 2009. The inside flavor is enjoyable, but the peel may be thick and tough.This apple adds great flavor to foods. Especially delicious when diced and mixed with goat cheese and used to stuff chicken or pork. Be the envy of all who taste your meal!
Fuji (crisp, very sweet) Fun fact: They are not named for the mountain in Japan. Rather, they are named for the Japanese town of Fujisaki, in which they were developed.Want to impress guests? Make a homemade strudel using Fuji apples which hold up well to heat and offer great taste.
Gala (mild, crisp, sweet, juicy flesh) Fun fact: Now the nation’s favorite apple, they are fat, and sodium, and cholesterol-free and are an excellent source of fiber.This versatile apple is great for adding to an apple pecan salad or a spinach and apple salad to take a boring salad to a whole new level of fantastic-ness.
Golden Delicious (very sweet) Fun fact: Golden delicious is a historic apple variety also known as Yellow Delicious. The sweet flavor of the apple is often compared with that of honey. It may also have a slightly tart but not a bitter taste.Since this apple holds its shape and flavor and is sweet and enjoyable, it works well for making apple crisp with a buttery brown sugar and cinnamon topping or a delicious homemade apple pie with a buttery crust.
Granny Smith (crisp, hard, sharp, with a somewhat tart and tangy taste) Fun fact: This apple is believed to be a descendant of French Crabapples cultivated by an Australian grandma named Maria Ann Smith.These green apples are ideal for use in muffin recipes. They will hold their shape and offer a unique flavor, a pleasant change from typical sweet muffin recipes. In baking, they also combine well with other apple varieties to create unique flavor compositions.
Jazz (Floral pear flavor, juicy, crisp, dense) Fun fact: Jazz apples were developed in New Zealand and are a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn.These tasty apples are most suitable for Apple Brown Betty, a traditional American dessert made from fruit and sweetened crumbs. Best served warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Red Delicious (mildly sweet, crisp, juicy) Fun fact: This apple is one of America’s most famous apples and is among the most widely recognized varieties.These are best eaten fresh, with or without the skin. Avoid cooking them as they don’t stand up to heat well. Rather, eat whole or slice and enjoy with caramel dip.
McIntosh (crunchy, direct, hint of wine flavor, refreshing acidity) Fun fact: This is the national apple of Canada and is also popular in New England.These apples break down easily; thus they make the best apple sauce ever. Or they can be turned into homemade hot apple cider by heating apples, oranges, spices, and brown sugar together and discarding the solids.
Pink Lady (Sweet, tart, high sugars, high acids) Fun fact: It is the first apple to bloom but the last to be harvested.This yummy snacking and baking apple is perfect for making an Apple coffee cake with a butter icing glaze.
Winesap (spicy, wine-like flavor and aroma, sweet with tangy finish) Fun fact:
This apple dates to colonial times and is among the oldest varieties grown in North America.
Often described as an apple with a complex flavor profile, it is ideal for easy apple turnovers made with frozen puff pastry. Because they are so tasty, the turnovers can be made without added sugar.

Intriguing bonus facts on apples:

  • The science of growing fruit is called pomology.
  • The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian & Black Sea.
  • Apples can grow in all 50 US States, and 36 grow them commercially.
  • The pilgrims planted the first US apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • Apples are known to have been enjoyed by ancient Romans.
  • In 1730, the first apple nursery was opened in Flushing, NY.
  • Two thirds of an apple’s fiber is found in its peel.
  • Apples grow best in places with cold winters and moderate summer heat with medium to high humidity.
  • Apple trees can live for hundreds of years.
  • Apples fill up with sugar in the fall and some remains on the trees for the new buds to turn into apples the following summer.
  • Eating apples can help brighten teeth.
  • Some apples people eat can be a year old – but is considered safe to eat due to “controlled atmosphere storage.”
  • China cultivates more apples that the USA.
  • The apple is the official fruit of six states.

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