Apple Variety Guide

Cuyama Apple Tree

Apples originated in central Asia and travelled throughout Europe before eventually making their way to the Americas. In the late 1800s, apple orchards went from being in Southern American backyards to being grown commercially and transported by railroad to be embraced and enjoyed by the nation.

Today, there are over 2,500 apple varieties grown in the USA. With over 100 apple varieties grown commercially, only about 15 varieties account for roughly 90 percent of apple production.

From an afternoon snack, to salads, to juicing, there are so many unique ways to enjoy the goodness of a delicious organic apple. We have put together a variety guide to help you pick your perfect match.

 

Ambrosia

ambrosia apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Creamy yellow flesh is crisp and juicy
  • Taste: Sweet flavor with low acidity
  • Uses: They hold their shape and flavor when cooked, making them perfect for pies, tarts and baked apples. Slow to brown when cut, making them great for adding to salads or served as part of a cheese tray

Arkansas Black (Heirloom)

Arkansas Black Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Deep purple skin, flesh is golden hued and juicy with a fine-grained, crisp texture
  • Taste: Highly aromatic with sweet-tart flavor. Pairs well with winter squash, pecans, cranberries, vanilla, thyme, sage, cinnamon and cardamom
  • Uses: Excellent cooking apple; bake, sauté or roast, puree into soups or sauces. Juice is great for ciders and jams.

Ashmead’s Kernel (Heirloom)

Ashmead's Kernal Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Homely to look at, but truly memorable to eat. Rough green skin with crisp, dense, juicy flesh that is very aromatic
  • Taste: Distinctive sweet and sharp flavor with hints of pear
  • Uses: Best eaten fresh, but can be cooked. Highly valued for juicing and hard cider

Braeburn

  • Appearance and Texture: Deep red skin with pops of pale yellow. Crisp flesh is creamy yellow and juicy.
  • Taste: Perfect balance of sweet and just slightly tart with subtle hints of pear and cinnamon. Sweet-tart flavor mellows slightly when cooked
  • Uses: Slow to brown when cut, great for fresh preparations. When raw, their flavor and crisp texture are best when the apple is slightly chilled

Cameo

  • Appearance and Texture: Thin bright red skin with a delicate texture. Flesh is dense and creamy white to yellow in color with a crisp and juicy texture
  • Taste: Perfect balance of sweet and tart with nuances of honey
  • Uses: Their dense flesh holds up extremely well when cooked and flavor is enhanced. Pairs well with squash, bacon, pears, and flavorful cheeses such as goat, cheddar and ricotta. Resists browning when cut making them a great choice for fresh presentations.

Cosmic Crisp

Cosmic Crisp apple

 

  • Appearance and Texture: Red skin with spots of yellow, white flesh is crunchy with a snappy consistency
  • Taste: Very exciting flavor, high sugar and acidity creates a balanced sweet-tart flavor with tangy undertones
  • Uses: Slow to oxidize, makes them ideal for fresh recipes: salads, cheese boards, dipped in nut butter as a snack

Crimson Gold (Heirloom)

  • Appearance and Texture: Larger than a crab apple. Golden yellow with patches of red blush
  • Taste: Balanced, bright  sweet-tart flavor with subtle notes of fruity spice
  • Uses: Smaller size is great for eating out of hand. Holds shape well for baking and poaching. Good for juice and cider.

Empire

Empire apple

 

  • Appearance and Texture: Skin color varies. Creamy white flesh that is crisp and juicy
  • Taste: Flavor is sweet like a Red Delicious and tart like a McIntosh.
  • Uses: An excellent snacking apple. Pairs well with pumpkin, pear, sharp cheeses and warm spices such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

EverCrisp

evercrisp apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Blushed rosy red toned skin, with crisp flesh
  • Taste: Candy-sweet hybrid of Honeycrisp and Fuji. Has an intense candied-apple sweetness with a slight tang
  • Uses: Very versatile apple, great for snacking or baking, or both!

 

Fuji

Fuji apple

 

  • Appearance and Texture: Striped thick skin, dense creamy white flesh that is juicy and crisp
  • Taste: Low in acid, the flavor is mild yet sweet with hints of honey and citrus. Pairs well with sharp cheeses
  • Uses: Fuji apples hold up well when cooked! Roast, bake, sauté or puree into a sauce

Gala

Gala Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Dense speckled flesh is creamy yellow and crisp
  • Taste: Offers a mildly sweet flavor and floral aroma
  • Uses: Great for snacking. Delicate flavor and texture of the Gala apple shines in fresh preparations. Sweet flavor becomes milder when cooked making them perfect in baked preparations when paired with stronger flavored apples

Golden Delicious
golden delicious apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Pale yellow skin, with a firm, crisp white flesh
  • Taste: Balanced sweet-tart aromatic flavor, which has been described as “honeyed”
  • Uses: Amazing for fresh preparations, has necessary acid content and stability for baking. Good option for juicing or drying. Pairs well with savory items

 

Granny Smith

Granny Smith apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Green thick skin with bright white flesh that is crisp in texture.
  • Taste: Refreshing apple with a tart, acidic, yet subtly sweet flavor.
  • Uses: Perfect to eat raw. Also great for baking because of their high acidity and ability to hold their shape when cooked. Slow to oxidize when cut; perfect for fresh preparations such as lunchboxes, salads or cheese plates

 

Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Creamy white flesh is exceptionally crisp and aromatic.
  • Taste: Balanced content of sugar and acid gives Honeycrisp apples a pleasant sweet-tart flavor
  • Uses: Best served raw, thanks to their crisp texture. Maintains sweetness when cooked; great for baking

 

Jonagold

Jonagold apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Red and golden skin, flesh is juicy and creamy yellow in color
  • Taste: Offers the sweet-tart taste found in the Jonathan apple and the aromatic, honey-like scent of the Golden Delicious.
  • Uses: A popular dessert apple; can be used in a variety of sweet preparations such as pies, tarts, muffins, cakes, or baked whole. Perfect for use in sauces, preserves and jams. Sweet-tart flavor compliments savory applications as well.

 

Jonathan

  • Appearance and Texture: Thin crimson skin with fine textured creamy yellow flesh. Juicy with a crisp bite!
  • Taste: Flavor is mildly sweet with a tart tang and hint of spice
  • Uses: Great to eat raw or cooked in sweet or savory dishes; flesh breaks down slightly when cooked. Pair with denser apples for pies or sauces. Perfect for use in juice or cider.

Kanzi

Kanzi apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Yellow-red blush; crisp firm bite
  • Taste: Perfectly balanced sweet and tangy flavor
  • Uses: Bred to be a dessert apple. Great as a snack on its own, accompaniment to strong cheeses or use for baking pie!

King David (Heirloom)

  • Appearance and Texture: Crisp and juicy flesh is creamy yellow in color with a coarse texture
  • Taste: Rich spice flavor with nuances of wine, compliments sweet and savory dishes
  • Uses: Excellent cooking apple; bake, saute or roast. Perfect for cider, sauces, juice and preserves

 

Liberty

  • Appearance and Texture: Yellow-toned flesh is crisp and juicy with a fine-grain texture.
  • Taste: Flavor is sweet like a McIntosh, but is more tart and has hints of citrus and melon.
  • Uses: Good for desserts; bake into tarts, muffins or pies. Makes a sweet-tart applesauce.

 

McIntosh

  • Appearance and Texture: Red skin with crisp flesh that is white in color and exceptionally juicy.
  • Taste: Early season McIntosh have a strong sweet-tart taste, while later season McIntosh have a slightly stronger sweet flavor
  • Uses: Can be used cooked or raw, in both sweet and savory preparations. Flesh is delicate and will break down when cooked

Opal

Opal Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Bright yellow with a distinctively crunchy texture
  • Taste: Sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Uses: Naturally non-browning; perfect for kids’ lunchboxes, salads and cheese plates

Orin

Orin apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Yellow skin with orange-reddish blush. Creamy yellow flesh has a tropical aroma with a crisp and juicy texture
  • Taste: Fruity flavor with hints of pineapple and pear; sweet with low acidity
  • Uses: Ideal for eating fresh and baking because of their natural sweetness and texture that holds up to cooking

Pink Lady

Pink Lady apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Light red skin with greenish-yellow spots. Crunchy texture with white flesh that is juicy and crisp. Offers a “fizz-like” burst of flavor.
  • Taste: Has a tart taste with a sweet finish.
  • Uses: Ideal for snacking, but retains its shape when baked or poached. Slow to oxidize when cut, making it good for fresh preparations.

Pinova

Pinova apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Creamy white inner flesh with a crispy crunchy texture
  • Taste: Sweet flavor has subtle tropical undertones, such as banana and pineapple
  • Uses: Great for snacking. Holds up to temperatures when cooked; ideal for pies, tarts and baking

 

Pippin

  • Appearance and Texture: Green speckled skin with a creamy dense white flesh that is crisp, juicy and aromatic
  • Taste: Has a rich, sweet-tart taste with nuances of spice and pine
  • Uses: Firm flesh makes it excellent for cooking; use in pies, tarts and turnovers. Slightly spiced flavor makes them a popular apple for juicing and ciders.

RosaLynn

  • Appearance and Texture: Speckled red and cream skin with a crisp flesh
  • Taste: Features a sweet-tart, refreshing flavor
  • Uses: Great for fresh preparations, does not turn brown when cut!

 

Roxbury

Roxbury apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Speckled green skin that is firm yet tender. Slightly coarse, yellow-white flesh.
  • Taste: Has a high sugar content that presents in an aftertaste of honey.
  • Uses: Great for cider, fresh eating, great for cooking. A very versatile, all-purpose apple

 

Sierra Beauty

Sierra Beauty apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Bright red skin with crisp, juicy fine-grained flesh with a creamy yellow color.
  • Taste: Balanced sweet-tart flavor with nuances of spice with a floral aroma.
  • Uses: Excellent for both desserts and savory dishes. Great on a charcuterie board

Spitzenberg

Spitzenberg apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Dotted, light red skin. Flesh is fine-grained, creamy yellow in color with a crisp bite
  • Taste: Highly aromatic; has a rich and sweet taste with hints of nuts and spice
  • Uses: Excellent for desserts, sauces, and preserves. Slight spice makes them great for ciders and juices

Sugarbee

SugarBee apple

 

  • Appearance and Texture: Cheerful bright red skin; crisp, firm texture and a crunchy bite
  • Taste: Juicy and aromatic; sweet with a hint of a caramel like taste
  • Uses: Perfect snack or ingredient in apple pies, tarts, turnovers, juices and more. Pairs well with cheeses like smoked gouda and sharp cheddar
  • Fun Fact: This apple variety created by honeybees who mixed the pollen of a mystery apple variety with a Honeycrisp.

Sweetie

Sweetie Apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Red and yellow skin with a juicy, yellow flesh with a firm and crisp texture
  • Taste: Sweet flavor with mild spice undertones. Lack of tartness makes these rich in sweetness
  • Uses: Excellent for baking, can be paired with more tart apples for sauces or pies

Wickson

Wickson apple

 

  • Appearance and Texture: Small in size, deep striped red skin with a dense flesh
  • Taste: Unique blend of herbal and spice flavors with extraordinary sweetness and a pronounced acid tang
  • Uses: Makes an excellent component for cider blends. Can be eaten fresh

Winesap (Heirloom)

Winesap apple

  • Appearance and Texture: Patches of blush red and yellow-gold “striped”; crisp and firm texture
  • Taste: Sweet, fruity, and spice-like aroma; balanced, sweet-tart flavor with tangy wine-like nuances
  • Uses: Can be eaten fresh but is primarily a culinary apple, also popular for juice/cider production

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