It's that time of year when apples are everywhere - at the farmers market, at your local grocery, in baked goods, in sauces, in salads and maybe even in your own or your neighbor's backyard. Everyone has their favorite characteristics for the perfect apple, whether crunchy and crisp, soft and mellow, or sweet and juicy.
The incredible range of apple varieties offers something to suit everyone's tastes, as well as ones that lend themselves particualrly well to sauces, baking, stews and spreads.
Use our short guide on 11 different apple varieties and discover some new ones to try out on your next market visit!
1. Arkansas Black
This fantastic baking apple is medium to large in size and turns a deep purple/red when ripe. As an excellent keeper, this apple has a hard texture that makes it less suitable for fresh eating or apple sauce, but great for pies, stews, and cobblers. You'll find this variety at markets and stores from early to late October.
This pretty apple displays bright red and yellow hues on its skin, while its flesh is white, sweet and juicy. Relatively mild compared to other late season apples, this variety is great for fresh eating, although it lacks the crunch of earlier apple varieties. You'll be able to spot this variety from early October on into the winter.
3. Brown Russet
Brown Russet is also known as Leathercoat because of its rough brownish green skin. Although slightly drier in flavor when compared to other later season apple varieties, this apple makes an excellent cider. The apple tends to oxidize less than other flavors when pressed into juice, which turns out to be a beautiful amber color in liquid form.
4. Cox's Orange Pippin
This juicy and flavorful apple is a favorite among apple enthusiasts, mostly due to its perfect balance between sweet and tart, and its ideal amount of crunch. Medium in size with a golden yellow skin that often becomes russeted (with leathery brown streaks), this English apple has tender, white flesh. Although an early variety, Cox's Orange Pippin often appears in markets until the Fall as it is a good keeper.
5. Erwin Baur
A rather sour apple, the Erwin Baur lends itself deliciously to making the most perfect apple sauce. With just the amount of firmness needed and the right blend of sour, sweet and citrusy, this apple is the perfect partner for spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and even vanilla.
Fujis are a more common apple that can be found at most grocery stores around the US. This tender and sweet apple is loved by most people for its easy flavor and crisp texture, making it perfect for a number of different uses. While freshly picked and more crisp, Fujis are great in salads and fresh salsas. As they age (in cool garage or basement storage where they keep well) Fujis tend to lose their firmenss and are then better or baking and apple sauce.
This apple variety is an all around prime choice among apple varities. The firm texture and sweet juicy flavor of the Honeycrisp makes it great for fresh eating, but it also holds together well for baking and cooking. Honeycrisps make a delicious and refreshing juice, and although sauce and apple butter made from this variety can be watery, the flavor is very sweet and grape-like.
This late season apple is another variety that's great for several different uses. As a highly disease and pest resistant variey, Liberty apples are usually very pretty in appearance, and thus ideal for fresh eating and salads. The superior sweetness of these apples also makes them perfect for desserts and a vanilla flavored apple sauce. Try making apple rings on your dehydrator with this variety!
9. Mutsu (Crispin)
Mutsu apples, which are also known by the name Crispin, are a later season apple that are crisp and slightly acidic in flavor. Great for fresh eating for those with a palette for tart apples, this variety also holds up well to baking and various desserts. Throw a couple into your cider mix for a complex and strong flavor.
10. Pink Lady
Another more commonly recongized apple, Pink Ladies are highly revered for their almost tropical flavor that includes hints of banana and pineapple. The pinkish red apple has white flesh and is often enjoyed fresh and in salads, although it holds up well to baking and makes an incredibly sweet apple sauce.
This small, round and red apple is another late season variety that lends itself best to fresh eating. When you'v gotten tired of slicing the earlier varieties over your oatmeal or yogurt, try the Yates and be pleasantly surprised by its sweet and juicy flavor. As a late season apple, this variety keeps well if properly stored in a cool environment.