Comparing apples to apples during national apple month



Jill O'Brien

September is National Apple Month, and with 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States alone and 11 varieties grown and sold commercially, it’s time to learn about what sets one apple apart from another — or what makes one stand out from all the rest.

Best for baking

Golden Delicious – according to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs pamphlet “Apple Varieties Grown in Iowa, 1800-1970,” Golden Delicious apples are firm apples that are sweet enough for baking and best for adding into apple pies. Sweet not your thing? According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Granny Smith apples are also good for pies, but are more on the tart side.

Choice for cider

Winesap — the wine-like, sweet and sour flavor of Winesap apples makes them one of the almanac’s top choices for apple ciders. They are firm and hold their shape when baked, which also makes them good candidates for apple dumplings.

Best for applesauce

Braeburn — firm to the touch and red/orange in color, Braeburn apples were the first of bi-colored apple varieties and are some of the better apples for making applesauce. Braeburns are on the market from October through April, so these are good for making homemade applesauce on a cool fall night.

Strictly for snacking

Fuji — Fuji apples are on the sweeter, juicier end of the spectrum and are also a little crunchier. Gala, Red Delicious and Ambrosia apples also fall under the sweet variety for snacking. Again, if sweet apples aren’t your favorite, Granny Smith and Gravenstein apples are good for snacking, as Gravenstein apples do not hold as well and do better to be eaten immediately.