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Apple Buyer's Guide

How to choose the best apples for cooking and eating.
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Fuji: A relative newcomer to the American public, these baseball-sized beauties have become hugely popular due to their sweet flavor and incredibly crispy texture.

Gala (or Royal Gala): One of the earliest available varieties, the Gala apple takes its sweet, succulent nature from two Delicious cultivars (Golden and Kidd’s Orange Red). Its thin skin and tender, pale yellow flesh makes it a great out-of-hand eating apple or sauce ingredient.

Golden Delicious: This golden orb has creamy, firm yellow flesh and lightly speckled skin. The flavor is absolutely sweet and mellow, making it a versatile cooking apple. It holds its shape well when baked, but take care when storing and handling—the skin bruises easily.

Granny Smith: Lime-green speckled skin that resists bruising and very firm, crisp flesh characterize this popular apple. Its sharp, tart flavor holds up well in recipes with spicy notes, and the flesh is firm enough to retain its shape when cooked.

Honeycrisp: What’s in a name? This one says it all. This apple has exceptionally crisp, juicy, sweet-as-honey flesh with just a hint of tartness that makes it a tasty treat any time of the day. You can also use this apple for baking (if you can resist eating them all!). Pale yellow flesh is surrounded by mottled red-and-gold skin.

Idared: This rosy, brightly colored apple is a cross between two New York cultivars, Jonathan and Wagener. The firm, tart flesh ranges from yellowish-green to faintly pink, and holds its shape well during baking. With its well-developed aromatics, this fruit contributes a strong apple flavor. Cook with the skin on and then strain to make a beautiful pink applesauce.

Jonagold: A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious, this bumpy, stripy fruit isn’t super fragrant but tends to rank very high in taste tests. The skin is gold with orange-blush stripes, surrounding a creamy, pale yellow flesh with a juicy, crisp texture that shares the shape-holding characteristics of its parents. This fruit is sweet with a nice balance of tart.

Jonathan: Sporting a bright, sweetly tart flavor, this red-striped greenish-yellow fruit boasts a smooth, tough skin and firm flesh that retains its shape well during cooking. This New York native apple doesn’t store as well as other varieties, so use it within a few weeks of purchasing.

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