Leaves are falling and healthcare costs are rising, which means it's an ideal time to head to your local grocery store to pick up some apples. On top of keeping the doctor away, apples are a quick, healthy snack that you can grab on-the-go before a class, a meeting, the gym, or those 15-seconds between episodes on Netflix.
There's just one problem: I get to the grocery store and there are 462 different types of apples to choose from. My palms start sweating and my knees feel weak from indecisiveness and FOMO. To solve this problem once and for all, I bought 8 of apples from our neighborhood Harris Teeter on 9th Street and ranked them according to strict criteria.
I mainly focused on red-yellow apples, since I prefer them to sour green apples. I specified 5 criteria that I consider important to my overall experience with an apple: Crunchiness, Sweetness, Acidity, Juiciness, and Flavor. The criteria were scored on a sliding scale of 0 to 10. For example, 5 is the ideal amount of crisp for example, 0 is displeasingly soft, and 10 is hard as a rock.
I bought 8 different varieties, and ate each apple at the same time of day after eating the same exact breakfast – to be consistent in my appetite while eating the apple. Conventional apples are notorious for pesticide residue and wax covering, so I bought all organic produce, as I would be eating the skin. The rest is pretty self-explanatory, so I'll get right into it.
8. Golden Delicious
Crunchiness: 2, Sweetness: 1, Flavor: 1, Acidity: 1, Juiciness: 2, Price: $1.99/lb
Pros: You can put a worm in this apple and give it to that teacher who won't bump your grade up (even though you have an 89.99).
Cons: Not crispy and completely lacks flavor. I felt like I was eating cardboard. I couldn't even get past the third or fourth bite. DO NOT BUY.
7. Red Delicious
Crunchiness: 2, Sweetness: 3, Flavor: 2, Acidity: 2, Juiciness: 2, Price: $1.99/lb
Pros: Red Delicious is classic, cheap, and commonly available.
Cons: It is in fact red, but it is not delicious. Lacks a crunch, lacks sweetness, and some bites were actually pretty bitter. Has a flat taste and lacks the JUICE.
6. Cripps Pink
Crunchiness: 3, Sweetness: 2, Flavor: 7, Acidity: 7, Juiciness: 4, Price: $2.79/lb
Pros: Sour, but not too strong, if that's your preferred type of apple.
Cons: I was expecting this to be a sweet apple, so it threw me off when I first took a bite. It's fairly acidic, and burned my gums a bit. It also had lots of give when I bit into it, so it lacked a satisfying crunch.
Crunchiness: 3, Sweetness: 4, Flavor: 3, Acidity: 6, Juiciness: 4, Price: $2.79/lb
Pros: Has a mild, soft sweetness that isn’t overpowering. Juicier than the previous apples. Pretty easy to find at most grocery stores.
Cons: Too soft on the inside, and the outside isn’t as crispy as I’d like. The flavor wasn’t satisfying toward the apple and tasted more and more bland as my taste buds adjusted.
Crunchiness: 8, Sweetness: 7, Flavor: 6, Acidity: 6, Juiciness: 6, Price: $2.79/lb
Pros: Very crunchy and sweet, yet maintains a satisfyingly balanced flavor. Would consider this as kind of a dessert apple.
Cons: The apple I had was pretty hard and one of the bites hurt my teeth. It was very sweet by my standards, and a little too juicy but didn’t leave a sticky film around my mouth.
Crunchiness: 5, Sweetness: 6, Flavor: 8, Acidity: 4, Juiciness: 5, Price: $3.99/lb
Pros: The texture and crispiness? Wow. I would compare it to a freshly baked cookie that feels perfectly crispy on the outside, but when you take a bite, the inside just melts in your mouth. I have no idea how an apple manages to pull this off but you have to try it to get what I mean. This apple is kind of a "designer" apple, and even though I tasted them blind to what type they were, I could tell this one was something special.
Cons: The biggest thing for me was that it had a strong flavor similar to a pear's that became more apparent as I continued eating it. I'm not a big fan of pears so this might be a good thing if you are. Also, as someone who doesn't eat sweet food often, it was a tad sweet for me, but probably perfect for most apple eaters. This was also by far the most expensive apple at $3.99 per pound.
2. Pink Lady
Crunchiness: 6, Sweetness: 6, Flavor: 5, Acidity: 6, Juiciness: 5, Price: $2.79/lb
Pros: I had never heard of this apple (and it was the one I tried last), so I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. This is a sweeter apple with an incredibly satisfying flavor – exactly what I want when I'm craving an apple. The amount of juice is perfect (and didn't spill down my chin when I took a bite).
Cons: This apple is a bit sweeter than the Fuji. I was hungrier than usual when I ate this apple, and so I think the sweetness felt extra satisfying, but it might be a little too sweet on some occasions.
Crunchiness: 6, Sweetness: 5, Flavor: 5, Acidity: 5, Juiciness: 5, Price: $2.79/lb.Pro: This apple is wonderfully balanced and juicy, with a sweetness that satisfies but doesn't overwhelm. This was an apple that I didn't want to stop eating. I felt like I could have had 2 or 3 just because of how good it tasted even as I got down to the core of the apple.
Cons: This apple is a little on the hard side, and the crunchiness is not as smooth and clean as the Honeycrisp. I don't think I would have noticed, if not for how closely I was scrutinizing all these apples. Other than that, I had no complaints. My favorite of the group.
There's a clear superior option this November, and that is the Fuji apple. Fuji apples are incredible apples, the best apples. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Golden delicious are nasty. What a nasty apple. If the Fuji apple weren't an apple, I would date it.