Articles & Recipes

What Apples Are Best for Cooking, Baking, Eating?

December 15, 2018


Ambrosia - a native of British Columbia, an accidental crossbreed likely derived from Golden Delicious and Starking Delicious. It is a crisp apple with attractive gold-streaked red skin, good for snacking and for salads because it is slow to brown after being cut.

Beauty of Bath - an anomaly in the apple world because it is never found in stores. It should be eaten straight from the tree, as it rots very quickly after picking. It has a sharp but sweet, juicy flesh.

Braeburn - a crisp, juicy dessert apple that only grows in the Southern Hemisphere. This apple is easily recognizable by its smooth pale-green skin flushed with red.

Bramley - the foremost British cooking apple. Large, green, sometimes flushed with red, its flesh is sharp and juicy and is not usually eaten raw. It can be used for making apple chutney or cored, peeled and sautéed in butter to serve with bacon and sausage at breakfast, as is done in parts of England.

Cortland - a modern American variety bred partly from the McIntosh. Large with a shiny red skin, it’s especially useful for fruit platters and fruit salads, because its flesh resists browning when exposed to the air.

Cox’s Orange Pippin - crisp, firm and juicy, this is Britain’s most popular eating apple. Also used in cooking.

Crispin - see MUTSU.

Elstar - a sweet-tart variety with crunchy yellow skin and yellowy-white flesh, grown in both Canada and the U.S. but more popular in the Netherlands and Ireland. It is a cross between the Golden Delicious and an heirloom variety called Ingrid Marie. Elstars are particularly good for applesauce, though they are also delicious eaten out of hand. They have blushes of reddish orange on their yellow skin, while Red Elstar apples, a variant of the breed, are mostly red with blushes of yellow.

Empire - this cross between the Red Delicious and the McIntosh is sweet-tart and good for eating and for salads. It was developed in New York in1966 and named for the state’s nickname, the Empire State.

Fuji - a red-skinned apple with a yellow-green undertone and creamy-white flesh. The Fuji is firm, very sweet and quite juicy, making it ideal for eating out of hand. It also holds its shape well in baking and cooked desserts and makes excellent applesauce. This Japanese apple was developed in the1950s and is named for the most famous mountain in Japan. It is a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet, an heirloom variety of apple rarely seen anymore.

Gala - also Royal Gala. A variegated red and yellow all-around apple, it is especially good for eating but also tasty in baking and applesauce. The Gala is a native of New Zealand. Now grown in North America, it is a cross between the Cox’s Orange Pippin and Golden Delicious.

Golden Delicious - also Yellow Delicious. One of the major varieties of dessert apples in America, South Africa and England, firm and crisp when the skin is greenish, less crisp but sweeter when the skin is completely golden. Considered to be a good contrast to blue cheese, this apple first appeared around 1900.

Granny Smith - originally grown from a pip in 19th-century Australia. This apple’s crunchy, hard flesh, sharp, distinctive taste and bright green skin have made it popular and easily recognizable, a worldwide choice both for cooking and eating raw.

Gravenstein - originated in northern Germany or Denmark before 1800. Large and yellow, with bright red and orange stripes, it has a rather acidic flavor.

Ida - the favorite apple of all applesauce makers, it can also be eaten raw, but more than likely you’ll find it in a jar of applesauce on a grocery store shelf.

Ida Red - also Idared. An American apple bred in the1940s,it is sweet,medium-size,red and yellow, cooked or eaten raw.

Jonagold - large, round, green-yellow apple and one of the most delicious. It is a hybrid of the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious.

Jonathan - small, orange-red apple with a white, faintly acidic juicy flesh that can be used both for eating or cooking. Originated in North America, but now available almost everywhere.

Katy - a crisp, sweet, very juicy apple. This hybrid was first developed in Sweden from the Worcester Pearmain variety.

Lady apple - also Pomme d’api. A small, tart, late-harvest apple with crisp, white flesh and yellow skin suffused with red. Some say this apple was brought to Rome by travelers returning west along the Silk Road; others credit an Etruscan monk with its development. Later, invading Romans brought it north through Europe to Britain. Often sold fresh at Christmas for use as a garnish for food, fruit baskets or wreathes, Lady apples are also available canned.

Macoun - a relatively new, midseason, hardy apple. Described as crisp, fragrant and sweet, it has the well-known McIntosh as one of its parents.

McIntosh - slightly tart, best eaten freshly picked, originally named for John McIntosh of Ontario, who discovered it as a chance seedling in 1811. It’s a fine all-purpose winter apple, red with sometimes a tinge of green, pleasantly tart and juicy, good on its own, in salads or with meat, taking less time to cook than other varieties.

Mutsu - also Crispin. A late, dull-green apple of Japanese origin, eaten raw or cooked.

Newton-Pippin - one of the oldest commercially cultivated apples grown in North America. Green-skinned with crisp, tart flesh that’s sweet enough to eat fresh, this is a good variety for apple pies and applesauce.

Northern Spy - also Spy. A very large, yellow-and-red-striped American apple used especially for cooking.

Northwest Greening - a large, tart and juicy apple with a tough, green skin, grown in North America for cider making and cooking.

Pippin - see NEWTON-PIPPIN

Pomme d’api - see LADY APPLE.

Red Delicious - an American variety, one of the world’s best eating apples, firm and sweet. Its red skin makes it look attractive in a fruit bowl as well as served baked.

Rome - also Rome Beauty. A bright red-skinned, crisp-fleshed apple with a tart bite, it’s best used for baking and applesauce and is delicious in pies. It is widely cultivated across North America, so named because it was discovered in Rome Township, Ohio, in the early 1800s.

Royal Gala - see GALA.

russet - a name for a group of very distinctive apples with matte brown skin. The flesh is crisp and slightly tart, and the apples keep well. Russets are used for eating and cooking.

Spartan - developed by Danes in1926 from McIntosh and Newton-Pippin varieties, it is a firm apple with a custard-like taste, popular for eating raw and cooked. It goes well in a cold salad with onions and cured meats, the way it’s served in Denmark.


Starking - also Starking Delicious. A crisp dessert apple from France with red streaked skin and very white, sweet flesh, best served early in the season, on its own at the end of a meal, with cheese, or as fritters, cored, sliced in rounds and fried in a sweet batter.

Stayman Winesap - see WINESAP.

Winesap - also Stayman Winesap. An excellent tart apple with a long shelf life, it’s ideal for cider and for eating out of hand thanks to its rich, wine-like flavor. It is thought to be native to New Jersey and is one of the oldest apple varieties cultivated in North America, grown extensively since Colonial times.

Yellow Delicious - see GOLDEN DELICIOUS.

Find information on over 8,000 ingredients, tools, techniques and people in The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L Rolland.



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