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Apple Buyer's Guide

How to choose the best apples for cooking and eating.
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Macoun: A crossbreed of the McIntosh and Jersey Black cultivars, the Macoun apple is regarded as one of the best all-purpose cooking apples around. This dark red fruit with creamy white flesh is soft, tender and perfect for sauce. It has a sweet, rich apple flavor with hints of berry.

McIntosh: This apple has been loved since John McIntosh discovered seedlings in Ontario in 1811. The tender white flesh is crisp when freshly harvested, but soon adopts a softer consistency, making it perfect for cooking into pies or sauce. Macs are sweet and juicy with a pleasant tanginess.

Mutsu: The Mutsu apple, also called Crispin, is a large, yellowish-green fruit with an orange blush and juicy, tender-crisp, coarse-grained flesh. This cross between Golden Delicious and the Japanese Indo has a complex, spicy-sweet flavor reminiscent of anise and is great for eating or baking.

Northern Spy: This red-, gold- and green-striped apple has a limited availability in the U.S.—while growing, the fruit is fragile and susceptible to several common afflictions. A Northern Spy tree may take up to 14 years to bear fruit, so it is frequently grafted onto other apple trees to encourage growth. It’s worth the wait, though—this apple is tart and juicy-crisp, with finely textured flesh that holds its shape well, perfect for pie and other baking uses.

Paula Red: This early-ripening variation of the McIntosh is soft and nicely balanced between sweet and tart, cooking down perfectly into sauces. Its dusty red skin with gold and tan spots yields to tender, slightly mealy white flesh with a flavor evocative of strawberries.

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