The Best "Picks" For:
Jazz, Jonathan, Mutsu, and Granny Smith are excellent choices for their firmness and sweet-tart taste. Blending two (or a few) of these will provide a flavor complexity.
Amy Traverso, author of The Apple Lover's Cookbook, agrees with using at least two apple varieties for flavor balance and texture (she recommends 50 percent sweet-Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious, and 50 percent tart-Granny Smith or Cortland. Recommended specialty varieties include Jonagold or Crispin for the sweet, and Goldrush or Liberty for the tart).
Making a standard nine-inch pie? Plan on three pounds of apples. For a deep-dish one, use four pounds, according to Dawn Perry, Real Simple's food director. Perry also recommends baking your pie for at least an hour; this will soften firm apples and create that golden crust on the top and the bottom.
Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Jonagold, and Cortland break down easily; you'll get a smooth, butter-like texture.
Pink Lady, Rome, Braeburn, and Honeycrisp are crisp varieties that will keep their shape. When baking, those fillings will stay in place!
From 2019 +, these fairly new additions have been on the market, widely coveted for their crisp textures, wonderful flavors, and extraordinary sturdiness when transported and stored.
Check out: Rave, a combination of Honeycrisp and MonArk; renowned for its crisp texture and juiciness, Rave is an early-season apple from Washington state.
Cosmic Crisp-This is a combo of Honeycrisp and Enterprise. What makes this particular apple so cool is that it "goes bad" S-L-O-W-L-Y (Cosmic will hold up for a while in a salad or on a cheese board!).
Sugarbee is named after the honeybee (who pollinates it) and also because of its sweet flavor.
Opal-Its beautiful, bright yellow color comes from blending Golden Delicious and Topaz. This is also S-L-O-W to brown, which makes Opal a top "pick" for precut apple snacks.
Jazz apples are excellent for pies and other baked recipes. They're also super juicy and have a sweet-tart taste that'll remind you of a pear.
Evercrisp is exactly what the name says. It's a mixture of Honeycrisp and Fuji.
Sweetango-A combination of Honeycrisp and Zestar, this apple has a lively, sweet-tart flavor and nice crispiness that works well with both raw and cooked recipes.
Envy-It's super-crispy. It's a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn. And it was originally grown in New Zealand; it's now domestically grown in Washington state.
Rubyfrost has great versatility; It's not only sweet-tart but also packs a vanilla-type flavor with a sturdy texture. This selection is great for both snacking "as is" and baking.
And Now, A Few Recipes
Here's a quick and easy one for breakfast:
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, unpeeled, cored, cut into eighths
Place all ingredients except apples in a blender and blend well.
Add the apples and blend till the apples are finely grated.
Cook like any pancake batter.
Makes 10 pancakes
For lunch, dinner, or a side dish, how about:
Apple Turkey Salad
2 One-fourth cups cooked turkey, cubed
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups apples, cored and diced
One-fourth cup raisins
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
One-fourth teaspoon nutmeg
One-fourth teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine turkey, celery, apples, and raisins.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, nutmeg, and cinnamon; fold into the turkey mixture.
Season to taste.
Serve on a bed of lettuce.
For dessert, would you like Impossible Apple Pie?
6 cups of tart apples, pared and sliced
1 One-fourth teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-fourth teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
Three-fourths cup of milk
One-half cup of Bisquick
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
Mix the apples and spices; put them into a 9" greased pie plate.
Beat the remaining ingredients for 15 seconds in a blender on high.
Pour into the pie plate.
Now add the Streusel Topping:
1 cup Bisquick
One-half cup chopped nuts
One-third cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Mix all the ingredients until crumbly.
Sprinkle over pie and bake at 325 degrees F. for 55-60 minutes, or until the knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Or, perhaps you would prefer:
Applicious Sheet Cake
2 medium baking apples
One-third cup butter, melted
1 and two-thirds cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup apple butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 and two-thirds cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon salt
1 cup dried apples, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Peel, core, and coarsely shred one apple.
Thinly slice the remaining apple crosswise, removing seeds.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, apple butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk until combined.
Fold in dried and shredded apple.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Arrange the apple slices over the batter.
2. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack.
3. Cool completely.
Dust with apple pie spice or ground cinnamon (or go for both!).
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes at 350 degrees F
Makes 24 servings
Did You Know That...
Apples contain a massive amount of fiber, Vitamin C, and water for hydration.
American apple producers grow more than 100 apple varieties yearly.
Sources: better/nutrition segment-"Serving Up Energy" by Katie Morford-Better Homes & Gardens, September 2020; "From the Test Kitchen" by Janet Taylor McCracken-rachael ray everyday, Thanksgiving Special issue, November 2019; the realist segment-"The Secret to the Best Apple Pie" by Sierra Guardiola-Real Simple, September 2019; "Fall's Favorite Fruit" by Carrie Boyd-Better Homes & Gardens, October 2019; apple pancake, salad, and pie recipes from Speed Cooking by Pat McBride-Burris-published by Busy Bee Enterprises, 1997; and cake recipe from Good & Fresh sample issue, 2016.