It’s fall in Vermont and that means it’s time to go apple picking! Picking apples is one of my favorite seasonal activities.  When I can’t convince one of the kids to go apple picking with me, I head out on my own to enjoy a little peace and quiet and the small of fall in the air. Once I get to the orchard, I need to decide which apples I’m going to pick.

7 Apple Varieties and How to Use Them

There are many different apple varieties to choose from.  Different types of apples are best used in different ways.  Some apples are perfect, fresh and crisp from the tree.  Others make an amazing cinnamon applesauce. Still others make delicious pies. Knowing the apple varieties and how to use them will help your recipe taste its best.

These are the apple varieties that I’m most familiar with, but there are over 250 different varieties of apples so you may have a favorite that isn’t on my list:

  • Red and Golden Delicious apples are best eaten raw for snacking or added to salads because of their texture and flavor.
  • Braeburn apples are a crisp, all-purpose apple that will taste delicious any way you choose to eat them. They are recommended for pies, baking, applesauce and juice.
  • Empire apples are another all-purpose apple. They can be used in almost any recipe. They are my personal favorite for applesauce.
  • Jonagold apples can be both sweet or tart and are recommended for pies. They hold their shape well during cooking so your pie doesn’t fall flat.
  • McIntosh apples are the most common apple found in orchards in my area of Vermont. They are highly recommended for eating fresh from the tree and for making applesauce. They make great apple juice and apple cider as well.
  • Pink Lady apples are a great all-purpose baking apple good for eating raw or for baking.
  • Idared apples are one of the best apples to choose if you plan on storing them in the root cellar. They will retain their crispness when stored in a cool dark area.

It’s perfectly fine to choose a variety of different apples in one recipe. You can experiment with the types of apples you use until you find your favorite. Mixing different apples (sweet and tart) can change the taste of your recipe quite a bit. When cooking with a tart variety, you can add cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger instead of sugar to help moderate the tartness.

What is your favorite apple for eating or cooking?