The Definitive Guide to Types of Apples and their Uses

There’s more to apple picking than just taking a cute fall pic for Instagram. The next time you visit the orchards, take time to check out the different types of apples that are there. Whoever penned the adage ‘an apple a day’ certainly had a good idea. I bet anything that they were standing in front of a Farmer’s Market in Fall. Whether you plan on eating one crisp, buying a basket of Honeycrisp apples to put in a pie, or making your own hard cider, I have the definitive guide to every kind of apple and their uses. Pick them straight off the tree and put them in the recipe of your choosing. From Fuji apples to Jazz, golden delicious apples, red blush, Granny Smith, and red delicious, there are so many different options available to you.

What Types of Vitamins Do Apples Have?

Fiber

Before I get into the different types of apples out there, let’s go over some of the health benefits of eating apples. This crisp and juicy fruit is more than just a fun snack. There’s another adage you know – ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ First off, eating apples is helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Since they are loaded with fiber, they help you to process your food better. A medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fiber or 17% of your recommended daily intake.  

Studies show that eating apples can have multiple benefits for your overall health. A large portion of their fiber is composed of soluble fibers called pectin. Pectin is associated with multiple health benefits, in part by their effect on beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Studies show that fiber curbs appetite and are also associated with weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and resulting in improved function of the digestive system.

Vitamin C

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, apples contain many of them in low amounts. As we mentioned, They are also high in both antioxidants and Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. As a common antioxidant found in fruits, it is an essential dietary nutrient that is responsible for aiding many important bodily functions. However, the main mineral found in apples is potassium. A high intake of potassium is beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart.

Quercetin, Catechin, and Chlorogenic Acid

Other antioxidants found in apples are quercetin, catechin, and chlorogenic acid. Found in plant foods, quercetin has many anti-inflammatory properties and anti-viral properties, and has been found to reduce depression levels in studies done with animals. Second, catechin is a natural antioxidant found to improve brain and muscle function in animal studies. Last but certainly not least, chlorogenic acid has been found to reduce blood sugar levels and has caused weight loss in some studies. All in all, these antioxidants possess desirable qualities.

Types of Apples

Now that I have discussed the health benefits that apples offer, let’s move on to the types of apples that are out there. While there are literally thousands of apple varieties grown throughout the world, your average grocer will normally have only a handful of varieties on hand at any one time. And even during Fall, the local orchards will average around a dozen varieties suited to the local climate. So while it would be impractical and incredibly unreasonable to list all the varieties and their uses, I thought I would try to highlight the varieties most common to the United States and their uses. Here is the definitive guide to apples and their uses. There are some great picks in here for those of you who want to make their own hard cider and for those of you who prefer white flesh apples.

Twenty common apple varieties and the best ways to use them in baking, sauces, salads and pies. We have even done the research to find the best ones for eating. - types of apples

Eighty percent of the world’s population enjoys a delicious tart and crisp apple, making it the most popular fruit in the world. And while the apple comes as close as possible to the perfect fruit, it’s easy to grow, simple to harvest and store, and is readily available during every season. The question remains: what variety of apple is best suited for what I need?

Each apple variety is uniquely suited to specific uses because of its flavor profile, firmness of flesh, how the sugars in the fruit convert when used in cooking, and other characteristics. We also need to keep in mind that like all produce, the apple’s shelf life can impact the quality greatly. Below is a guide to some of the most common varieties of apples you can find at your local markets.

Characteristics and Uses of the Most Common Types of Apples

Red Delicious

Sweet, well-known apple. Best for fresh eating. Uses, fresh-eating, salad. These bright red apples have a sweet and tart flavor.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Golden Delicious

We love golden delicious apples. These are the crisp, sweet, great for everything apples! My Favorite. Uses, fresh-eating, dessert, processing (sauce, pies, baking), freezing. Go to the grocery store and pick up a few.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Gala

Sweet and crisp apple best used for fresh eating. Great for kids lunches. Uses, fresh-eating. They are some of the most common types of apples.

Home Storage, 1-3 months.

Rome Beauty

Good keeper, fair for fresh-eating and great for baking whole. Uses, fresh-eating, sauce, pies, baking.

Home Storage, 4-5 months.

Jazz

Have you ever heard of these types of apples? A cross between Gala and Braeburn apples, Jazz are crunchy and full of sweet juice. Uses: excellent for fresh-eating and it’s dense, flesh makes it a very good choice for pies and baking.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Granny Smith

Tart and firm apple. An old-time, baking favorite. Uses, baking, sauce, juice. We love the tart flavor of the Granny Smith apples. They are some of the best types of apples for making apple pie.

Home Storage, 4-5 months.

Jonagold

Sweet with a hint of tartness. Great for fresh eating or baking. Wonderful pie apple. Uses, fresh-eating, pies. The texture adds to the overall taste.

Home Storage, 2-3 months.

McIntosh

Crispy, juicy and tangy, firm, are all descriptions of this popular variety. McIntosh is a good all-around apple, although it doesn’t hold shape when cooked. Uses, fresh-eating, salads, sauce, pies, baking.

Home Storage, 2-3 months.

Fuji

Crisp, juicy and sweet. Great for fresh-eating. Uses, salad, and fresh-eating apple. Fuji apples are some of our favorites. If we could have our own apple trees full of them, we would. There is something about homegrown fruit that is special. They have such a crisp taste.

Home Storage, 4-5 months.

Braeburn

Very hard, tart apple. Great for baking as it stays firm. Uses, processing for sauce, pies, and baking.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Winesap

Strong sweet and sour contrast, wine-like flavor and aroma. Uses, fresh-eating, culinary use, cider.

Home Storage, 4-5 months.

Honeycrisp

Crisp, sweet with a bit of tartness. Amazing Apple! Great fresh or for baking. Uses, fresh-eating, salad, cooking.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Cameo

Sweet and Crisp! Great for eating or baking! Uses, fresh-eating is best but is good for cooking if used shortly after picking.

Home Storage, 1-2 months.

Jonathan

Slightly tart. A great all-purpose apple, favorite for apple slices. Uses, fresh-eating, cider, sauce.

Home Storage, 2-3 months.

Cortland

Tart & Juicy. Great Pie Apple. Uses, fresh-eating, salads, pies.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

SweeTango

SweeTango is a cross between the Honeycrisp and Zestar! varieties. Uses, fresh-eating, salad, cooking.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Pink Lady 

Tart apple is also known as Cripps Pink. Uses, fresh-eating, and baking. The white flesh has a  very delicious and distinct taste.

Home Storage, 3-4 months.

Mutsu

A versatile apple that owes many of its’ characteristics to Golden Delicious parentage, with a little sharper flavor. Uses,  fresh-eating, dessert, processing (sauce, pies, baking), freezing.

Home Storage, 4-5 months.

Selection

A good-quality apple will be firm with smooth, clean skin and have good color for the variety. Test the firmness of the apple by holding it in the palm of your hand. It should feel solid and heavy, not soft and light.

Storage

Store apples in your refrigerator when possible, this will ensure they maintain their flavor and texture as long as possible. If you don’t have room then find the coolest area in your house to store them. Avoid storing apples with dark spots or soft areas,   use these as soon as possible to prevent waste. And remember, one bad apple will ruin the entire bunch so when in doubt remove any that you suspect may be bad.

Try One (or All) of Our Favorite Apple Recipes

types of apples

If you desire more recipes to use these apples with, try out some of our favorites.

Fried Apples :: Cracker Barrel Copycat Recipe from PocketChangeGourmet.com - types of apples

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples :: Recipe on PocketChangeGourmet.com - types of apples

Apple Sauce Recipe - types of apples

Taffy Apple Salad :: Recipe from PocketChangeGourmet.com - types of apples

There you have it! Now that you know about all of the different types of apples, there are so many options for cooking them available to you. Use this list to get creative when baking pies, cooking, making salads, sauces, and ciders. The options are nearly endless. Have fun and feel free to try out our recipes on pockechangegourmet.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this fantastic apple guide! I’m pinning this so I don’t lose it. Great work y’all!

  2. What would recommend is best use for Pink Ladies?

  3. What is the best apple for making applesauce?

    • Hi Dawn, we like a tart apple because of the spices and sugar that are added to applesauce. But it’s totally up to your taste.

  4. This seems like a good start! but there are hundreds of apple varieties (thousands actually, but good luck finding them).

    Tastes differ, too–I would not say that Braeburn was tart, and certainly not sugary Honeycrisp.

    Still if you are just beginning to explore this amazing fruit for yourself, this is a good first step.

  5. What a wonderful guide! Thank you!

  6. CAN I DRY CRAB APPLES FOR DECORATIONS.OR WILL THEY ROT WITHIN A SHORT TIME? I WOULD LIKE TO STRING THEM FOR THANKSGIVING.

    • Yes, crab apples can be picked and stored just like other apple varieties. I would try to pick them as early as you can to give them plenty of time to dry before you use them to decorate ar use as a garland.

  7. Do you know what Apple/Apples are best suited for diabetics?

  8. Bobbie Lazar says

    What happened? You forgot Macoun apples, my favorites.
    Please add to your next update??????????????????

  9. Hello I really enjoyed your apple guide. I love fuji the best for fresh eating. My second choice is gala. Which apple would you say would be the most similar in taste to fuji other than gala? I keep looking but can’t find a new first or second choice.

  10. The best is to add tropical frit chips to your entree and pote au pot fruit to change contrast. The Mich cooks said…..

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