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In search of an apple . . .

This is the time of year when the farm stands are loaded with a gazillion varieties of apples. I'm trying to identify a variety that is tart, firm, crisp and juicy, but with a skin that's not tough like the skin of a Granny Smith. Is there such a variety?

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  1. A Baldwin or Winesap, perhaps?

    Roxbury or Golden Russets, my favs, have an even rougher skin than other apples. Newtown/Albermarle Pippins, another fav, less so.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Sounds like winesap except that winesap skins can definitely be tough. But they are so good!!

      1. re: prunefeet

        Finding a Winesap is the holy grail of apples, but I have only seen them a few times, and they are getting more and more rare by the year. I have 5 orchards with a 30 mile radius, but none of them grow Winesap's.
        I used to receive them from a friend, but they sold their property, and the orchard was bulldozed for development.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          Where are you located? They are very easy to find in farmers markets in NYC.

          1. re: Produce Addict

            I live the in Amish country of N-E Ohio. NYC is about 8 hours away. I love the city, but its a long way to go for a great apple.

    2. I like Braeburns and Galas a lot, and don't find them to be overly tough-skinned. They're not as tart as a Granny Smith, but I don't care for really sweet apples, and these fit the bill for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Andiereid

        I use Braeburns, Galas and Fujis in applesauce, but I don't find any of those particularly tart. But, from the responses here I can certainly put together a list of "possibilities" for my next farm stand taste test.

      2. I stick to Fujis, but I know that is not what you are looking for ... so here's a list that should help you find your holy grail of apples ...


        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          That is really a wonderful link. It matches my opinion that a Gala apple is a sweet apple. I like a sweet apple and I like Galas.

          Have you tried pippins? They are easy to find and might be what you are looking for.

          1. re: Lauran Robertson

            Pippins are not easy to find everywhere. I'd love to find them easier here in Massachusetts, where we are blessed with many wonderful heirloom apples that people elsewhere have a hard time finding (it is, after all, the home of Johnny Appleseed). I have to rely on my journey through LI's North Fork each Christmas to stock up on Pippins for the winter. I acquired my taste for Pippins in college in Charlottesville, VA back in the day....

          2. Macoun apples-smaller, light red to light green thin skin, crisp, juicy, very short fall season. Could it be Macoun?

            1 Reply
            1. re: HillJ

              Those are the best fresh apples, by far. And they meet all the criteria of CindyJ

            2. The Honeycrisp variety, grown in Washington state, among other places, is an almost unbeatable combination of the traits you describe.

              4 Replies
                1. re: fauchon

                  Honeycrisp is *not* a tart apple. It's sweet-tart, in between. For people who like sweet apples, it may seem tart, but it's not really a tart apple.

                2. Jonagold also meets the qualifications.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ira

                    I like the Jonagold as well, and I'll add the Empire to this growing list. I don't have a whole lot of experience with apples, but the empires I've had this year seem light for their size, meaning a lot of "air" and crisp to the bite.

                  2. there is such an apple but i can't tell you what its called, we used to grow them on the farm... sweet-tart , crisp, and very big.. i miss them *sighs*

                    1. I thought of another possibility: the mutsu?

                      1. I vote Stamen Winesap Tart/Sweet/Juicy, my fav. apple by far.


                        1. I usually buy pink ladies for my household. Couldn't find them this week when shopping but did buy a variety I had never heard off called Lady Alice. Crisp,Sweet,Tart and Juicy!

                          1. this week we bought Pink Ladies and something that sounds like Orin. I like the pink ladies for tart tatin---better flavor than fujis and hold up nicely to the cooking. Arkansaw blacks are also very tasty.

                            awfully neat link. Makes me feel a bit apple deprived, I must say......

                              1. re: mark

                                Yeah, but Arkansas Blacks definitely don't meet the criteria of not being tough-skinned. Great flavor, but both the skin and the flesh are tough, and I find them somewhat dry.

                                I just want to second the suggestions for Macouns, Jonagolds and Pink Ladies (in that order).

                              2. I recently picked up some Opalescents at Wilson Farms in Lexington, MA and they've become my new favorite....humongous in size, nice snap when you bite into them (but not tough skin), start out sweet, and then some tarty tanginess at the end. Wonderful!

                                1. i second the macouns recommendation...

                                  1. Northern Spy gets my vote. Tart, crunchy, and with what I think is real apple texture (I find Red Delicious almost like cardboard by comparison). The only trouble is, it's very hard to find them!

                                    1. One more vote for the awesome Pink Lady! They are not as tart as Granny Smith by any means, but they have the most beautifully fine textured flesh, crispy with the right amount of juice! And the skin is not thick at all.