While you may think there's a wide variety of apples at your market, there are in fact over 7,000 varieties of apples classified in America, and tens of thousands of varieties growing in other countries. When it comes to apples, don't judge a book by it's cover -- passing up an apple because it's ugly is a mistake. Some of the better tasting varieties don't look all that appetizing. The Russet, for example, is a delicious tasting apple that is rather small, rarely symmetrical and is an unappetizing greenish brown in color.


This handy glossary of apples will help you make the perfect selection. Note: Wash apples only right before you plan to eat or cook them. If the apple is highly waxed, you may want to peel it (the wax can make the skin tough and tasteless). If you're going to use sliced or chopped apple in salad, toss with fresh lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.

Type: Red Delicious
Looks: Bell-shaped, red
Flavor and texture: Sweet, juicy firm and crisp (but they can get soft and mealy -- keep very cold)
Best For: Eating raw

Type: Golden Delicious
Looks: Yellow-green with speckles
Flavor and texture: Very sweet, crisp and smooth
Best For: Eating raw

Type: Winesap
Looks: Small, deep purple-red, round with flat top
Flavor and texture: Spicy, mild-tart, firm and juicy
Best For: Apple butter

Type: Jonagold
Looks: Bell shaped, red blushed with gold
Flavor and texture: Sweet, tart, very crisp
Best For: Eating raw

Type: Jonathan
Looks: Small to medium sized, red
Flavor and texture: Tart, mildly spicy with sweet finish, crisp
Best For: Eating raw, pies, apple sauce

Type: Granny Smith
Looks: Medium sized, bright green
Flavor and texture: Tart and crisp and (tooth alert!) very firm
Best For: Baked apples, apple butter, apple crisp, pies

Type: Rome
Looks: Large, deep red, round
Flavor and texture: Rich sweet/tart, firm, dense and smooth (they can get soft and mealy, so keep very cold)
Best For: Eating raw, baked apples, apple butter, apple crisp, pies

Type: Gala
Looks: Small, slashes of red, green and gold
Flavor and texture: Sweet, slightly spicy, crisp and light
Best For: Eating raw, applesauce

Type: Macintosh
Looks: Squat, round, red with spots of green
Flavor and texture: Mild, sweet, smooth, soft (they bruise and become mealy easily -- keep very cold and eat as soon as possible)
Best For: Eating raw


TO CHOOSE: Look for apples that have:

  • a light fresh aroma. No scent indicates that they're under-ripe. A strong sweet smell could mean that they're beginning to rot.
  • good natural color but not necessarily a sheen

Apples should not have:

  • Bruises and white, fluffy mold around the core. Bruises can affect more than the darkened area, and the white fluff may indicate corresponding mold inside.
  • A glossy coating. It might be hard to tell what the skin is like because so many apples are waxed before sale. If an apple is suspiciously glossy, it may be over-waxed and the skin tough and unpleasant to chew. A thick coat of wax may also make the apples look fresher than they are.


Plus: iVillagers have already posted 10 apple recipes for cakes, pies and more on the Heirloom Recipe message board. Stop by to check these recipes out and drop off your favorites today!

Amount in 1 Serving: 1 medium apple
Calories: 80
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Fat: .5 grams
Protein: .3 grams
Good Source of: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium

Did you know there was a Johnny Appleseed?

John Chapman, a vegetarian given to wearing a saucepan on his head, walked barefoot from Pennsylvania to Indiana, planting orchards and setting up nurseries in every state along the way. In legend, he strew the seeds at random; in fact, his approach to agriculture was disciplined and methodical. He'd hoped to plant orchards right up to the Pacific, but he died in Fort Wayne, short of his goal, but having inspired many others to pursue it!

Plus, try these delicious sweet and savory easy apple recipes!

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