Your Guide to Apple Season
The LHTC staff gives their opinions on popular apple varieties (no need to say that we ate way too many apples & had lots of opinions).
Red Delicious Apples
This standard lunch-box fav is a dark ruby red in color and has a distinctive oblong shape.
The flesh has a light crispness while the skin can be a bit tough and bitter. The flavor is mildly sweet; Maryann compared the flavor to a pear.
The consensus agreed that this apple was extremely mellow to the point of almost being bland. Grace commented, "just tastes like water after the rest [of the apples]."Safe to say this wasn't our favorite of the apples we tested, but the enduring popularity of the Red Delicious ensures we'll probably be eating it for years to come.
How to eat it: Fresh. These apples are good for snacking and in salads. The ruby color also makes them great for candied apples. But whatever you do, do NOT bake with these - you'll end up with an overly-sweet, watery mess. Not worth it.
Golden Delicious Apples
Golden Delicious apples have a light green to yellow skin and have a sweet flavor and more tender texture, making these great apples for apple sauce or apple butter. Important to note that despite the name, Golden and Red Delicious apples are not closely related.
The team universally agreed that these are sweet and "candy-like" with a flavor almost like a jolly rancher.
Katheryn's grandmother is a loyal Golden Delicious fan and buys a crate or two of them from a neighboring farm every year to make her famous apple sauce (a family favorite every Thanksgiving).
How to eat it: Great for snacking and cooking. Try out a homemade apple sauce or try baking into a pie or apple crisp. Great when paired with Granny Smith in baked goods.
Envy apples are a cross between the Royal Gala and Braeburn apples and originated in New Zealand. They have a red and yellow striated appearance with a sweet flavor and low acidity. The flesh is juicy and is great to eat fresh or chopped up in salads.
The team described this variety as "fresh" with both Robyn and Grace commenting that the Envy had that "classic apple" taste.
How to eat it: Great for snacking and mixed into fresh salads - such as chicken salads or a classic Waldorf. Sliced Envy apples don't oxidize as quickly and will stay fresh up to 10 hours before they start to brown.
Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith apples have a bright green, thick skin and a distinctly sour taste that is popular with bakers. Maryann made the note that this apple's acidity is "nice and bright to hold up to sugar," and is great in sweet pies and cakes.
The Granny Smith is also a popular snacking apple - Marisa commented that this is her "go-to apple." The sour, tart flavor of this type of apple balances well with peanut butter for a protein and fiber-rich snack.
How to eat it: These sour apples hold up well in pies, cakes, turkey stuffings and other savory dishes. Because they are dense, they hold their shape well when cooked.
Pink Lady Apples
One of the few apple varieties that has a vibrant, naturally pink color, Pink Ladies are a variant on the Golden Delicious apple and have a similar flavor profile despite a drastically different appearance and texture.
The Pink Lady is crisp, dense and very juicy - Maryann commented that it, "has more bite, denser- would hold up well to being baked." Grace and Katheryn agreed that there was an almost floral accent to the flavor and was quite sweet.
How to eat it: This apple is great for baking and pairing with cheese for a light, week-night dessert or dinner party appetizer. They are dense enough to hold their shape when cooked and sweet enough to make a great fresh snack.