To me, apples are American nostalgia in a fruit. I remember learning about Johnny Appleseed, reading one of my favorite picture books about common apple varieties and loosing my first tooth while eating an apple in first grade. I remember the struggle of feeling stuffed full of Thanksgiving turkey, yet still needing that slice of apple pie with the woven crust.
So at the first hint of autumn, I ran over to the grocery store with my roommate to pick up some apples. I became so excited to see a bunch of varieties of different colors and wondered, which do I possibly choose? At that moment, I noticed my thrifty roommate made a beeline to the legendary (and rather expensive) Honeycrisps. This led me to quite a realization: not all apples are created equal.
air max release dates
Before you begin picturing an apple hierarchy of upper aristocratic and lower proletariat classes, allow me to elaborate. Different apples are better for different purposes. It’s kind of like how a person might be exceptional at writing English papers while struggling in math class. Or, there are also those lucky people who are good at both things. For apples, there are 3 basic categories of preferred use: raw, cooked, and baked.
Technically, every apple can be eaten raw, but to be honest, some taste a lot better than others on their own. After tasting 12 varieties (I know, not an exhaustive list), there was indeed a front-runner. And that was Honeycrisp. Apple snobs love them for a reason. They are the king of all apples with their sweet, juicy, crisp goodness. Because they hold their structure, Honeycrisps actually work well when cooked and baked as well, but considering their price, you really should eat them raw to fully get their flavor and your value out of them.
An extremely close second to Honeycrisps, Fujis are another apple overachiever that can work well all three ways. However, you really need to enjoy them raw to fully appreciate their delicious sweet flavor. Seriously, give them a try. They are better for a college budget anyways.
Some of the others I tried that are notable “raw” category apples include the iconic Red Delicious, which actually was the second worst apple (in my opinion) based on its completely bland flavor and lack of juiciness, and the Jazz variety, which is a newer cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn (which I’ll mention later) producing an extremely sweet (sweetest of all 12!), crisp apple.
Keep in mind, one thing you can do with raw apples besides just
smothering dipping them in caramel is put them in a salad. Make sure you pick varieties that hold their texture and resist from browning, such as Fuji, Red Delicious, Jonagold and Gala, to name a few.
Usually for cooking, you want to stick to sweeter apples such as Golden Delicious and Gala, which are both very light, refreshing and juicy. Also, since apples get softer with cooking, less firm apples such as McIntosh (a little on the tart side) and Paula Red (a sweeter, juicier cousin of McIntosh) are both good choices. However, don’t try to bake with these because they’ll end up a mushy mess.
Cooking with apples can involve creating a sweet compote to compliment a meat like pork chops, or more obviously, making applesauce from scratch.
To make a simple applesauce, follow this recipe.
1. Peel and dice 6 apples of your choice.
2. Throw them in a pot over the stove with 1 cup of apple cider, 2 tablespoons of butter and a few shakes of cinnamon.
3.Stir occasionally and allow the mixture to boil until apples are soft. Blend if you desire a smooth consistency.
Finally we come to the less-tasty-when-raw varieties, the very crisp and structured baking apples. Everyone knows about Granny Smith, with its distinct green color and sharp, tart flavor. Some other less known varieties include Braeburn, which is my personal favorite baking apple with its pretty sweet, pear-like flavor, Jonagold, which is also sweet with a little tartness, and finally, Jonathan, which is the WORST out of all the apples I have ever tasted because of its stiffness and blandness.
Of course you can make a classic apple pie if you want to utilize apples in a baked form. But if you want to know a secret, the recipes that will allow you to really taste the fall flavor of your apples are baked apples and French apple crisp. To create said French apple crisp, follow this easy recipe.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
7 cups apples, peeled and diced
1/3 granulated sugar
Cinnamon (to taste)
1 cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1. Combine apples in a bowl with granulated sugar and a few shakes of cinnamon.
2. Arrange apple mixture in an even layer in a baking dish.
3. Preheat oven to 400°.
4. For the topping, combine flour, brown sugar and butter by mashing together with a fork until you get a crumble/streusel topping consistency.
5. Pour topping evenly over apples and stick in the oven for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and juices are bubbling among the apples.
Just don’t forget to serve it with vanilla ice cream!