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What's your favorite apple?

I love apples. They are such a simple & easy snack and are packed with lots of flavor and nutrients. My favorites old standbys are Jazz and Honeycrisp. I just had an Aurora apple for the first time today and it had all the qualities I like in an apple - crisp, mild tartness and sweetness, firm texture. I was drawn in by it's pale yellow skin. I prefer a not-so-large apple (some of the Honeycrisp or Fuji apples could kill a person if you lobbed one at their head... just sayin).

I enjoy eating them cut into slices and plain, but I sometimes enjoy them with nut butter (chunky peanut, sunflower, almond) or tossed in a little lime juice or balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

What are some of your favorites and how do you enjoy them?

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  1. I love honey crisps and mutsus as well as several russet varieties. And it is a grand apple year here in New England

    2 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      I think Mutsu was the apple a dear friend brought for all of us to my Mom's funeral. It is THE best apple I have ever had ever. Wow, and I think they are not quite ripened yet. She said they would smell like apples, and they still don't but they are marvelous. Such a good crunch to them and just the tartness with sweet too. Wow.
      Her father Mack Drake was a reknowned apple breeder & soil chemist @ UMass. He and my dad went back to their graduate school days. Both are missed greatly.

      1. re: Nanzi

        Second (or is it third?) on Mutsus. They have a fairly short lifespan and they are absolutely the best apple I have ever eaten.

        I also just tried a variety called smokehouse. They are red-skinned, crisp, juicy, and a good balance between sweet and tart. And amazingly just a tiny hint of a smokey flavor.

    2. Braeburns, washed and raw. *munch munch munch*

      1. I rarely eat apples out of season because the supermarket varieties don't interest me, but there is nothing like an apple fresh from the tree. I am a fan of some standard varieties, like Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Granny Smith, but I really love a lot of the heirloom or rare varieties that never see a supermarket.

        We have a fantastic orchard nearby that grows a whole host of interesting varities - this year we picked Ashmead's Kernel, Cox Orange Pippen, Kids Orange Red, Spitzenberg, Belle de Boskoop, Northern Spy and several others. All so much more delicious than anything you can get in the supermarket!

        As for how to eat them - I love them with sharp aged cheeses, like cheddar or gouda, or with tangy fresh goat cheese. Otherwise, baked into various desserts (which sometimes also involve cheese). They're also great with pork in various permutations.

        2 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          Amen on the heirloom orchards. There used to be quite a few here in NJ. The land they were on now by and large is occupied by expensive, ugly, and shoddily built condo or townhouse complexes.
          So sad.

          1. re: biondanonima

            Oooh, I do love my apples with cheese as well.

          2. Cortland. Eat them and make pie with a mix of McIntosh

            13 Replies
            1. re: Jpan99

              I do like to use some McIntosh in pies. They just melt and create such delicious apple goo!

              1. re: biondanonima

                My mother always said McIntosh apples were the perfect pie apple.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  The flavor is certainly good, but I find them too watery. Winesap and Granny Smith are my main ideal pie apples, and
                  I'll typically utilize a small percentage Macintosh, Empire, Cortland and lately a few other newer varieties to balance things out.

                  1. re: The Professor

                    Yes, I find my best pies involve a blend of apples - one or two small McIntoshes for plenty of goo, and then a high proportion of Northern Spy, with the rest made up of Empire, Granny, Golden Delicious or whatever else I have on hand.

                2. re: biondanonima

                  A couple of weeks ago, my wife surprised me by bringing home a bag of the first Macs of the season. My favorite. I was amazed how much I had missed them since last season. I felt almost embarrassed as I took a bite and just savored it land slowly took another bite as if it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. OK, for that moment, it really was. Since then, I will eat 2- 3 a day, maybe with slightly less awe than my snack of a few weeks ago. While I could discuss apple recipes til they were coming out my ears (love pie, turnovers, dutch pancakes), I will simply say the best way to eat a Macintosh apple is to just grab an apple, take a bite, and enjoy.

                3. re: Jpan99

                  Cortlands are a McIntosh cross. Great for pies. I really miss not being able to go to the store and buy them. Occasionally I have seen Macs in the grocery store but they are from Michigan and are not like the apples from New York or Vermont.

                  A friend's M-I-L was coming from New Jersey. She asked what they would like for her to bring. The M-I-L thought bringing along a bag of apples. When her son picked her up at the airport she made him stop at a grocery store where she bought a bag and arranged them in a bowl thinking her daughter in law would not notice. When my friend got home she picked up an apple and bit into it. She said these apples are not from New York or Vermont. The texture was wrong, they are mealy.

                    1. re: coll

                      These are apples for pies, right?

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Mealy ones, you mean? No I have my favorite varieties for pie, and general texture doesn't enter into it. The mealy ones just don't have flavor no matter what you do.

                        1. re: coll

                          Oh, you mean the mealy ones that aren't any good.

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            Never had a mealy one that was any good. They're just old. I might use them to make pectin for jam, but that's about it.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            Just used my mealy ones in a butternut squash apple soup. Still saving the cores and peels for pectin. I think applesauce could be a good idea too, although I usually prefer something with a little flavor!

                    1. Spy for pie, especially when they're fresh off the tree.

                      My new favourite for out of hand is Priscilla. It matures at the end of September and has a sweet, aromatic, mildly licorice-like flavour. It was a new offering by the local orchard.

                      1. Gravensteins -- especially early in their season.

                        1. My current favorite is Sweet Tango, which is a Honeycrisp/Zestar cross. Sweet/tart and very crispy.

                          I just purchased some Sweet Snows at my farmer's market this morning. This is a relatively new breed, advertised as sweet with a tart balance. Their claim to fame is that their very white interior flesh is very slow to oxidize after cutting, making them ideal for salads, platters, etc. I'll post again after I've tried them

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pwmfan

                            The Sweet Snow was disappointing. It was crisp and juicy but kind of watery -the flavor just wasn't there. I've tried only one of my bag of 6, so maybe another will have more flavor. I did slice one half and left it on the plate. 30 minutes later there was no visible oxidation, so there might be a place for these.

                          2. In my area, I have noticed that many more varieties are appearing in the grocery store year by year. When I was a kid, about the only apples available were Macintosh and Delicious. It's a good trend.

                            1. Hands down the Winesap for eating out of hand.
                              Bright, Cidery, Crisp and Sweet-Tart.
                              Spitzenbergs are a very close second with many of the same attributes.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chefj

                                Winesap for me too. The best, even though you have to wait til the end of the season.

                                Otherwise, Honeycrisp or Jonagold, or any of the other "gold" hybrids.

                                1. re: coll

                                  I love a fresh Golden or Red Delicious(at least in NE, the one with ugly black spots!) as well

                              2. I go for tart. My favorite is winesap, but it's hard to find.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: mike0989

                                  Winesap used to be easy to find, now rarely ever see them, my fav as well. Another with the same characteristics of super crunchy, great flavor, and not very sweet, is the Arkansas Black. This one is even more difficult to get.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    I had an Arkansas Black a couple of years back at an orchard and I nearly spit out the bite I took - I've never tasted such an unsweet, bland and unpleasant apple. However,I hear that they need some time in cold storage before their flavor develops fully. I'd love to try one that has been properly stored.

                                    I adore Winesaps but they are hard to find.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      You have to actually live near an orchard to get Winesaps. Worth the move I say!

                                  2. re: mike0989

                                    We just had Winesaps at work this week.... I didn't realize they weren't common. (However, we're pretty near an orchard, so that would explain that.)

                                  3. Honeycrisp is now considered . . . old. Wow, I feel very old. And I am only 52. That variety has been widely available for about 15 years (it takes a long while to establish fruitful orchards and distribution of new varieties).

                                    Russets (Roxbury or Golden - can be hard to distinguish), Newtown pippins, Baldwins, Gravensteins, Greenings, Northern Spys are among my heirloom favorites.

                                    Among the new varieties, I love Suncrisps (Golden Delicious x (Cortland x Cox's Orange Pippin)), which are crisp and meaty (a meaty apple as I define it is one where your teeth marks are visible, and it's unusual for new apple varieties to be both crisp and meaty) can be really long keepers (even significantly longer than Russets or Pippins).

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      oh, my. you'd like the goldrush then. (That's outta Perdue).

                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                        Purdue :) While Old Frank knew that it took a tough man to make a tender chicken, I don't think his skills extended to apple growing!

                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                          Oh, not the company! the university. they do most of the new organic varieties... (cornell's the other apple experimenter).

                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                            I know! This reminded me of an episode from grad school (I did some work at the U. of Delaware). I went to a football game and the scoreboard listed other games, including one in which Purdue was playing. It was spelled "Perdue". Delaware is the "Del" of the Delmarva peninsula with its large broiler/fryer industry and in those parts, anything pronounced "Purr-doo" meant chicken, not a midwestern university. My friends and me had quite a chuckle.

                                    2. Egremont Russet with a big hunk of Wensleydale cheese or Cox's Orange Pippin with a big hunk of good cheddar (preferably Keens), I reason that as I'm eating the cheese with one of my 5 a day I'm allowed an extra big piece of cheese.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Paprikaboy

                                        First of the local Egremonts in the greengrocers this week.

                                      2. Honeycrisps and Jazz came to the Boston area less than 10 yrs ago so they are not in the "old standby" category AFAIAC.
                                        There are too many regional varieties to count but in general, I like a crisp, tart apple, even if it falls apart in baking. Macouns remain my favorite. I liked Honeycrisps at first but have come to perceive them as too perfumey. Just bought Wolf River, which is new to me. Supposed to be a pie and baking apple. But if I don't like it raw, I'm not baking with them and will make applesauce.

                                        I sometimes dip raw apple wedges in caramel/butterscotch sauce. For a heartier snack, Ritz-type crackers (I use TJ's 12-grain) topped with a piece of tart apple, then a thin slice of Jarlsberg or other Swiss style cheese over the apple, nuked briefly to melt the cheese.

                                        1. Granny Smith! Honeycrispy are good in a pinch. I don't like any version of red apple.

                                          1. McCoun--with only about a 6 week window each fall. They do not store well..............

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              For people unfamiliar with Macouns, the name is pronounced "Mah-'cowne."

                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                Love macouns!!! And braeburns :)

                                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                                  Macouns are my new favorite!! Crisp, sweet/tart, sooo good!

                                              2. re: bagelman01

                                                I think at my neighborhood farmer's market I'm known as "girl who comes and buys 9-10 Macouns a week." If I can't find them, I'm okay with Cortland or Jonah Gold.

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  Love McCouns! I am sensitive/allergic to a lot of fruit but I will suffer to eat a McCoun.

                                                2. Pink Lady apples are my fav. sweet but tart. I just love them.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: itsmejessica

                                                    I too am a Pink Lady fan. I only just discovered them last year, and they are by far my favorite.

                                                    1. My favorite apple for eating raw is a very dark, almost black, Jonathan. I like when they're very small. For a caramel apple, I love Pippin if I can find them.

                                                      1. 1st choice organic honeycrisp
                                                        2nd organic Mutsu
                                                        3rd whatever the farmer at the apple stand says is sweet and crisp.

                                                        I am actually well known among my friends for my apple "schmear and sprinkle" which i make this time of year.
                                                        The "schmear" is: equal parts drippy creamy peanut butter and almond butter (salted), a good squeeze of honey, and toasted sesame oil.
                                                        The "sprinkle" is a mix of equal parts toasted sesame seeds, crushed honey roasted peanuts and finely chopped almonds.
                                                        Schmear the apple slice and then sprinkle.....sweet/salty/ creamy/crispy/crunchy

                                                        1. I find it impossible to separate my enjoyment of an Egremont Russet - say to eat with cheese - or a Bramley Seedling - to cook with.

                                                            1. wow, I can't believe i don't know like 90% of apples mentioned here...no ideas other than the usuals like gala, fuji, mcintoch and granny smith.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Monica

                                                                That is the issue. Now all you see are apples that can be shot out of a cannon and not bruised.
                                                                The average store carries from 6-10 of the same type of product. A little not too crunchy, way too sweet, and too little flavor for me.
                                                                Add the reg delicious, the golden delicious to your list and there you are.

                                                              2. Sweet Tangos. Definitely a new favorite, but honey crisps are also good in season.

                                                                Off season, pink lady, with gala as emergency reserve back up options

                                                                1. In the fall season, Turley or Stayman Winesaps are the hands down favorite(s) for me. Behind that are Mutsu, Roxbury Russet, and Jazz.

                                                                  The spring is a different story...I pretty much stay away from most USA grown varieties and opt for the New Zealand apples which are in high season during the spring months here and hence, fresher than our domestic ones which have by then been in storage for months. So my main springtime choices are the New Zealand grown Braeburn, Jazz, or Granny Smith.

                                                                  The worst variety out there has to be the Red Delicious. It's plenty red and is nice to look at (which is what sells it) but it is almost always utterly flavorless.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: The Professor

                                                                    Here here. Red Delicious is my least favorite for exactly the same reason. Tasteless. You mentioned several varieties that are new to me- I'll try to keep a lookout for them. I am a Macintosh loyalist, but enjoy trying others

                                                                  2. Empire. I love Empire.

                                                                    I have an old-fashioned affection for home-grown golden delicious. We had a tree growing up and I have memories of sweet golden apples with a medium consistency.

                                                                    Because of the terrible year for apples last year, I've discovered Jazz. I like them too.

                                                                    1. I haven't seen another of my favorites, the Ginger Gold, mentioned yet, so I'll throw that in the ring. They ripen early and have a short season, but they're good while they last!

                                                                      On a related note, I had an apple at an orchard several years back that I've never found again (and of course, I can't remember the name of the orchard) - perhaps some of you can help me identify it. It was a very late season apple, with dark red, almost purple-black skin and VERY white flesh, with faint red veining inside. On the small side, and rather round in shape. Tart and crisp. Any ideas?

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                        Yes in spades to Ginger Gold: Haven't seen it this year so forgot about it.

                                                                        The apple you remember may be Winesap. The king of all apples.

                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                          Ginger Golds are great. I was raised on your basic grocery store apples, and GGs were the first "real" apple I had when I started working for a produce company. Changed my life. I realized there was so much MORE to an apple!

                                                                        2. Honeycrisp is my favorite apple available to me

                                                                          1. I worked for an heirloom orchard ten years ago making hard cider. It spoiled me for apples. These were low spray orchards where they used organic pesticides only twice a season. The second time more than six weeks before harvest. So very healthy. I am allergic to the pesticides found on most commercial apples.

                                                                            Besides Winesaps, Pippins, and other heirlooms I do like Honey Crisps very much, but the smaller ones. The jumbo ones I've seen the past two years seem watery to me.

                                                                            There is new cross of Honey Crisp / Jonathan Gold-like hybrid called SnapDragon that just came on the market in NY State. Developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University in Geneva. Fabulous. Sort of like a Honey Crisp, but with spicy and wine notes.

                                                                            They also created another apple called RubyFrost which I can't wait to try.


                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                              So has anyone else tried the new SnapDragon?

                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                I just picked up dozen more SnapDragon and they are so good. I also picked up a few Winesaps. Not sure exactly what type, but hard as a rock and not much flavor. I'll let them age for a week or two.

                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                  Maybe the Winesaps were picked too soon...it is a bit early for them...

                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                    Okay, I just looked up Snap Dragon and now I want one of these! And I also read about Ruby Frost and I think I need to try these as well.

                                                                                    Dang it, I should have never started this thread. I'm going to be scouring markets all over NC/SC for apples that are new to me.

                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                      Right now those two, SnapDragon (NY1) and Ruby Frost (NY2) are only available at select NY orchards and farmers markets for at least the next few years. This was their first year of release. But get in touch with your local state agg dept and see what is happening in your area.

                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                        Bummer. Good to know though and I will do that. Thank you!

                                                                              2. Cameo, followed by Honeycrisp. As much as I love stone fruit and berries, I am always so happy when September rolls around and the apples start coming in (I won't buy fruit dragged from halfway around the world) and later, the Florida citrus (which this year may be hard to get, given the crop disease problem). And pears! Comice pears are so incredibly good.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                                                                  Comice is the only pear I will buy!

                                                                                    1. Oh, that's easy! Jonagold apples, and all the better if they're direct from nearby apple picking country! I love how fresh and crispy they are, and love to eat them straight up!

                                                                                      1. Anything but Red Delicious, which is a waste of growing space IMHO.

                                                                                        Braeburns, Arkansas Black when I can find them, Jonathans. I've had some great Cortlands in New York state, but the ones grown out here on the West Coast aren't as good.

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                          Does anyone even eat Red Delicious anymore? I ate them as a kid, but I don't know what I thought I was getting out of it....

                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                            They sell them to schools and nursing homes.

                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                              Sad. And then we wonder why (many) kids don't really like fruit.

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                So true coll! And gas stations and convenience stores.

                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                  It's a price sensitive item, that's all. That's the apple that wholesalers basically give away.

                                                                                            2. re: tardigrade

                                                                                              I love Jonathans--when I can find them. I won't eat a Red Delicious but my brother swears the ones from Washington state that they bring to the Rose Bowl, to promote the state, are not your supermarket variety. He described it as juicy, sweet, tart, and crunchy.

                                                                                              1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                                                Yes I've had Red Delicious that don't come in a plasic stapled bad, and they were a revelation. Not sure where the junky ones come from.

                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                    I found some Jonathans on sale at a local food chain in Los Angeles, Jon's. This week, they have then on sale for 3 pounds for a dollar. I got some. The texture was mushy but they still tasted really good. I pick out the darkest ones. Very sweet and kind of tart.

                                                                                                    1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                                                      Yes! The texture of Jonathans is not for crisp-apple-lovers, but the flavor cannot be beaten, especially for pies and sauce.

                                                                                                1. Hands down another vote for Macoun. Short availability so I stock up when they can be picked at the NJ farm near my place.

                                                                                                  Macoun a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black apple. Crisp bite, tart and just the right size for my lunch sack.

                                                                                                  1. I just tried a Jazz and found it pretty boring.

                                                                                                      1. Fireside. I used to buy them at the Lowertown farmers' market in St. Paul about 30 years ago, but I've never seen them anywhere else and never found an apple I like better.

                                                                                                        1. Having heard raves for SweeTango for a couple of years, I finally saw them in the supermarket today, and bought a couple to try. My assessment is good but not worth the premium price they (and Honeycrisp) command, which here is always twice that of other apples. Ever had that rarest of creatures, a *good* Delicious apple? Pretty much the same as SweeTango. Crisp, juicy, sweet but not as sweet or perfumey as Honeycrisp. I liked the latter when they first appeared around here but now find they taste more like cologne than fruit.

                                                                                                          I never tried Pink Lady (a.k.a. Cripps) until this year, and I like them. Sweet-tart, juicy, very firm, and their smallish size is good for snacking.

                                                                                                          My favorite remains Macoun but the local ones are waterlogged this year.

                                                                                                          1. Fuji... of course depends on how they are going to be used.

                                                                                                            1. I love Winesap apples. I actually just went apple picking to a farm in SC. They had the best apple cider doughnuts.


                                                                                                              1. During Oct - Nov, it's a Macoun. Nothing else can compare.

                                                                                                                During the winter months, I find Braeburns to be a favorite.

                                                                                                                Come springtime, it's wait til the Macouns arrive.

                                                                                                                1. The place where I shop has about twelve different varieties of apples: they're all the same price, and they're all without any of those PLU sticky label thingys. I usually fill up a bag with all the different varieties, and I make my selection based upon whatever variety "looks" really good. SWEET apples like Fuji apples and Jazz apples are an automatic first choice for me, but from there it gets a bit unpredictable. I say that because I know that (based on my selection) it's gonna be love or disappointment at first bite.

                                                                                                                  1. Can't pick a favorite variety, but I do have a favorite way to eat them: slice them up and eat with the sharpest cheddar I can find.

                                                                                                                    1. Granny Smith. crisp, tart, delightful.

                                                                                                                      1. Finding a single apple to call my favorite is an impossible task! But I love this time of year--all sorts of wonderful and interesting varieties, the sort not found in supermarkets. In fact, this is the only time of year when I regularly eat apples out of hand. I do buy supermarket apples sometimes (if I plan to bake an apple pie, for example, and I'm all out of my local ones).

                                                                                                                        Love Wolf River and McIntosh for apple sauce. In fact, I'll be canning some more Wolf River apple sauce this weekend.

                                                                                                                        For eating raw, I like many varieties. Love Golden Russets, but they need some storage time (a couple of weeks) as they are too tart fresh off the tree; the ones purchased at the market a couple of weeks ago are now ready for eating. Just discovered a variety called Mother (aka American Mother), with a superb flavor for eating raw. It's an heirloom variety with its roots (no pun intended) in Massachusetts.

                                                                                                                        Will be heading out to a local orchard for Northern Spy and Jonagolds (my favorite combination for apple pie).

                                                                                                                        Just picked up some Bramley's Seedling for sauteeing with butter, sugar, and cinnamon--I've never used them before (indeed, never saw them at the market before this year), so I'm hoping they will work well for this. From what I've read, they are a cooking apple, a British variety. Perhaps Harters can be of some help here!

                                                                                                                        Also just picked up some Cox's Orange Pippin for eating out of hand--haven't had these for a couple of years and am hoping they are as wonderful as I remember them.

                                                                                                                        Sadly, I've not found Stayman Winesaps here in Indiana yet--these may well be my all-time favorite. Fondly remembered from my days living in E. Pennsylvania/N. Delaware.

                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                          The winesaps are usually in November, at least upstate NY. It's the last one.

                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                            Thanks, coll. I'll keep my eye out for them. Unfortunately, my local weekly market ends the last weekend of October, but there is a monthly one in the middle of the month (until the next season begins in May). Maybe someone will bring some Winesaps!

                                                                                                                            1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                              They are here and gone, I don't fine them every year myself!

                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                Fortunately, Winesaps are a durable variety for 'keeping', so here in NJ ithasn't been all that uncommon to see them available well into February and sometimes even longer. Of course, HOW they're kept will determine quality so long after the season...but I've had some that late that were quite fine.

                                                                                                                                With the orchards giving way to housing developments though, there has been a general dropoff of availability of these older varieties in recent years.

                                                                                                                                I find most of the newer cultivars either too sweet or too bland.

                                                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                  Upstate they have the underground barns and keep the temperature just right, so apples are stored nicely. But I think the winesaps are just so special that there are none left within a few weeks. It's like they should issue some kind of notice when they're available, so easy to miss.

                                                                                                                          2. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                            Hi nofun - American Mother must have left her home young; never heard of that one here in the Boston area. I got some Wolf River this week at the last session of my town's farmers' market. It's not a variety I've encountered before. The seller described them as meant for baked apples and pies. So far, all I've done is taste one: similar soft texture as Macintosh, which makes me skeptical about his recommendations. Macs become applesauce in pie, which tastes great but is mushy in texture. I found Wolf River's flavor to be like Macintosh too, but a little weaker. However, we had downpours recently that waterlogged produce picked these last 3 weeks. Even my perennial darlings, Macouns, have washed-out flavor. What is Wolf River *supposed* to be like, and what's your opinion of my seller's suggestions? I have a 5# bag of them. Typically I use a mixture of apples when making pies. I prefer tart apples to mild ones. Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious, for example, are too perfumey for me. Empire and Northern Spy are each fine as the only variety used in a pie.

                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                              I find Wolf River to be on the sweeter side, without the tartness and tang of a Macintosh; the flavor is more subtle. I've only used them for applesauce (they are way too big for out-of-hand eating, though they could stand in for softballs!) though I do recall one 'hound using them for pie, as mentioned in another thread. The applesauce I've made turned out quite nice and I think the cooking helps the flavor become more concentrated, as the flavor is weaker raw (as you've noted). I don't usually bake apples, but any baking (and subsequent evaporation) should also concentrate the flavor.

                                                                                                                              BTW, here's a link to information about the Mother apple. As noted, they aren't great keepers (have a tendency to get a mealier texture, but the flavor is still good).


                                                                                                                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                                I am so glad to have gotten your input before using Wolf River for a pie, which I think would have been disappointing.
                                                                                                                                I washed them and chopped them into sixteenths, since they are so large. They heaped above the rim of my chef's pan but since it has a high-dome lid, I figured that would be no problem because the apples would reduce in volume as they cooked. I added a cup of water so there'd be no scorching before the apples started to release juice, covered the pot, and left them for 45 minutes on low heat. When I lifted the lid, the apples looked like heated marshmallows, or popcorn. They'd swelled up, completely filling the dome. Upon stirring, I saw that the solids were floating on a pond of juice. I left the pot on low heat until the liquid reduced to proper applesauce consistency. Sweetened and with added cinnamon, it's a decent applesauce but not as good as one made with brighter-flavored varieties. I may boil down some cider and add it to the sauce. I could have used brown sugar or maple syrup rather than Splenda and agave nectar, but since there is a couple of quarts of sauce, I wanted it basic so as to be more versatile.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                  The Wolfies are actually pretty good here this year (IN/MI)--I suppose because of the summer drought. The apples formed, but I think the lack of water helped concentrate the sugars.

                                                                                                                            2. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                              You've probably worked something out for your Bramleys by now. They are, indeed, a cooking apple - didnt know they were grown outside of the UK and Ireland (or are they an imprt for you?). They cook down to a puree and would be our usual apple for pies, sauces, etc. Favourite use is to add cream or yoghurt to the puree to make a fool.

                                                                                                                              This link should help with ideas. http://www.bramleyapples.co.uk/

                                                                                                                            3. Cortlands and McIntosh. I need to get some ordered. Maybe I can get my brother to ship some to me.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                I used to mail Macouns to a friend who lived in Alaska - for the sake of my bank balance, I'm glad she moved back to the midwest where she can buy local apples. At Dunkin Donits, I got those pressed-cardboard holders made for 4 cups of coffee. I used those as packing for the apples, which made the trip without jostling or bruising.

                                                                                                                              2. I work two blocks from one of the farmers' markets in Boston. There is a stand with all sorts of varieties of applies that I had never seen. Now my favorites are macoun, braeburn and Baldwin. I usually just pick an apple of two of what ever variety is touted to be tart and when I have a whole load of apples in the fridge make apple sauce from them. Usually works out really well.

                                                                                                                                In my high school (many years ago!!) there was a fruit machine with the best cold red delicious apples. Crisp and sweet/tart! I can't eat them now since they just don't compare sad to say.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                  According to an apple book I read, the key to good Delicious apples is to look for those that are cranberry red, with streaks. People instinctively choose the darker ones, but those are more likely to be mealy and flavorless, or worse, bitter. For the most part, I have found this works. However, there are now so many other apple choices that I seldom choose Delicious.

                                                                                                                                2. Granny Smith and Ginger Golds.

                                                                                                                                  1. went apple picking over the weekend...picked jonagold. I don't know if I ever had them but they were crisp, sweet and juicy. Love!
                                                                                                                                    anyone know if this is a good variety to bake with?

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                      I use a mix of Northern Spy (when I can get them) and Jonagolds for pie. Nice eating apple, too! Just bought some local, organic ones today for Saturday's apple cake.

                                                                                                                                    2. Black twig are my absolute favorite. Delicious, crispy, sweet/tart. Andrew Jackson's favorite apple.

                                                                                                                                      1. I just tried an Empire and it was a little mealy for my tastes. I also got a Ginger Gold but haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                                        I was reading today about Pink Pearl apples. They are a golden apple with a reddish-pink and white tie-dye-like interior. Anyone ever eat one of these lovely apples?

                                                                                                                                        1. Our local orchard has a nice list describing the more popular varieties

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for posting that coll, what a great read.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                              Helpful for some basics but don't treat it as gospel. I noticed it does not recommend Cortland for baking, although where it's available, it is many bakers' favorite pie apple.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                Duly noted. Have you tried a Pink Pearl apple? I'm so curious about these after reading about them online. I don't even know where I would find them here in NC.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                I was inspired to go there this afternoon; can't believe I thought upstate NY by Mom's was mecca for apples. Not only did I get Winesap and Crispins, but I got to try a variety of their hard ciders too.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                  I need to get my hands on a Winesap, dang it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                    I know, when I saw them I felt like I won the jackpot. Happy hunting!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                      I FOUND WINESAPS!!! I was driving down a road and saw a gourmet farm stand/grocer with a sign that simply said "Apples". I swung my car around and pulled in. Sure enough they had Winesaps and also Jonagolds. I admit that I did a little dance.

                                                                                                                                                      I couldn't wait to get home to try a Winesap apple. I'm sad to report that it was very bland with a tough, chewy skin. :(

                                                                                                                                                      Do you think I should keep some and try them again in a couple weeks? Will the flavor improve?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                        They hold well, but I don't think they improve with age. Mine aren't the best I ever had either; but my favorite thing about them is how juicy they are and that aspect is there. I haven't tried the Crispins yet, will report tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                          There are quite a few different Winesaps, and Winesap sports (at least 40), and crosses. The problem is that most orchards don't know which they have. Also a great majority of Winesaps are more of a Southern fruit and don't ripen properly in the North.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                            Well I will keep trying them then, since folks do seem to rave about them. I think the one I had was from VA.

                                                                                                                                                            Next up Jonagold apples.

                                                                                                                                                            I am still on the hunt for Pink Pearl apples. I'm afraid I may have missed their season. :(

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                              Just ate the Jonagold. It tasted like a pear - in a good way. It was however, a little soft for my tastes. Good flavor though.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                            I didn't have the best interaction with my Winesaps this weekend, either. The skins were tough and had a strange texture. :( (I'm in VA, btw. Any idea what orchard yours came from? I wonder if it's the same one.)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                              I had the same problem this weekend in NY from a Lower Hudson Valley orchard. Very tough and vinyl-like texture to the Winesaps skin.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                Same experience for me. Mine were definitely from VA but unfortunately I don't know the orchard.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                        Lovely! Have you tried that Japanese variety - Mutsu? I'm curious about those too.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                          I bought them too; apparently their alternate name is Crispin. I will try some later and report back, still pigging out on the Winesaps.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                            I just had my first crispin, never have been a green apple fan. this had nice, firm, crisp texture and lots of juice; but not much flavor and tough skin like a winesap sometimes has. Refreshing, but not complex.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I have always been a red delicious apple guy however over the weekend my wife went apple picking and I tried a yellow delicious for the first time.......holy cow!! It's like an apple and pear combination, very flavorful!!

                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                          Yellow Delicious _can_ be very good (especially Eastern USA grown ones) but only when purchased at the height of the season. Once they've been in storage for a while however, they're mealy and since they are a blander tasting apple to begin with they become rather flavorless. Not a very good post-season choice.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                            We tend to call them Golden Delicious.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                              Well I assume this is their season, I'm in NJ and my wife went apple picking over the weekend and I was blown away at how delicious these apples were. I've probably eaten a dozen since Sunday and I'm sending her picking again next week! lol Like I said they have a very sweet "pear-ish" taste to me. Very good and glad I just discovered them.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                At prime, the Golden Delicious is a reliable choice for eating and pies but not the first choice of most. I've seen TV chefs recommend it in baking because it is better than off-season specimens of other varieties that hold their shape, but that seems a backhanded compliment, AFAIAC. I am dismayed that Julia and Jacques both used it on their shows, and am hoping the reason was that year-round, it averaged out to be a better choice than other ubiquitous supermarket apples of the period in which the shows were filmed. Happily, there are more, and better, choices now. GD is quite mild, and perfumy. Maybe nowadays, people use/recommend it out of habit, without trying their recipes with the recently-popular varieties.

                                                                                                                                                                Jrvedivici, I know better than to yuck another Hound's yum but I feel genuinely sorry for people who choose Red Delicious as a year-round snacking apple. In season, if you're lucky, they CAN be good, but they'll snooker you. Even if you pick knowledgeably, you may get mealy ones.
                                                                                                                                                                I hope you'll branch out a bit and discover apples with better and more reliable flavor and texture. May I recommend that you try Empire? It's a Red Delicious hybrid that keeps better than many varieties. I think of it as what Red Delicious CAN be but seldom is. I've never had a mealy one, and it's a good choice for both pies and snacking. SweeTango is the latest craze. It is similar to the best Red Delicious but is on the scarce side, and like it's Honeycrisp parent, twice the price of the usual suspects.

                                                                                                                                                            2. My favourite is McIntosh. Not too sweet, not too tart, not hard as a rock, but still crisp. I also like Ida Red, Paula Red and Cortland.

                                                                                                                                                              The two I won't touch unless I'm really hungry and have no other options: Granny Smith (too hard) and Red Delicious (tasteless).

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                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Blush

                                                                                                                                                                Wow! My answer exactly except for your Granny Smith comment, I include them as a favorite and the harder, the better (Red Delicious is LESS than tasteless)

                                                                                                                                                              2. Honeycrisp. Mutsus were too watery. Last winter we went crazy for Lady Alice.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Wow! 133 responses so far and not one single person has mentioned Ambrosia apples. To me they are far and away the best - super crisp, with a nice sweet/tart balance and an almost floral aroma. But alas, rarely available.

                                                                                                                                                                  Pink Lady comes closest with the sweet/tartness, though lacking the smell. But lately all the ones I've found have been just sweet, without the tartness that makes it zing.

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                    Ambrosias are a relatively new variety and don't have much of a presence in the Northeast USA, it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                      Supermarkets in NJ are carrying them (at a premium price). Not a bad apple, but a bit too sweet for my tastes...not much character.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Smokehouse, followed closely by Gravenstein (easy to find on the west coast, but they don't do well here in western Virginia).

                                                                                                                                                                    Have been an apple enthusiast since childhood; we used to get a box of Stayman Winesaps from a local orchard at this time of year and keep them in the dirt-floor cellar; they'd be good until deep January.

                                                                                                                                                                    Smokehouse has a fine texture and glossy skin, like Macintosh, but the taste is full and cider-y. I'm no good at describing tastes, but would recognize it instantly if I were lucky enough to bite into one again. Maybe I will; It's on the short list of varieties I'd like to grow. My first Smokehouse was straight from a tree in an orchard near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, in the middle of September.

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                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                      You can order it and others here. A friend ordered from them and was very pleased.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, JMF. I have a local source, but am so glad you sent me to that site: Looking at the Smokehouse photo suddenly brought back the name of that orchard. For the heck of it I googled and am stunned to find the place is still in business! Astounding, given the intensity of development in that corridor in the last forty years. Go Styers!


                                                                                                                                                                    2. Basically any apple from our local farms in Oak Glen, CA make me really, really happy - especially the Jonagolds!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I don't have vast experience, but from what I've tried I'd take Honeycrisp first and Fuji second.

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. William's Pride. But it's a very early apple - a few weeks in late August, and then it's gone. I discovered them last year. This year, I ate as many as I could (at least one or two a day), but now must wait until next year...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Sweet 16's! Oddest tasting apple I have ever had...I heard a radio program on NPR where a researcher from the University of Minnesota described it as tasting somewhat like cherry Lifesavers, and depending on the crop, that's more or less accurate. They are delicious if you like flavorful, sweet-tart apples. If you are in Minnesota look for it at a farmer's market, or even better, a u-pick orchard. If you are anywhere near Sweetland Orchard, pick some for me!

                                                                                                                                                                            I also like Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango, Pink Lady, Golden Russet, and Chestnut crab, a delicious crab apple for fresh eating.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Those little rock-hard Jonathans grown in the higher Appalachians. Intensely sweet and tart.

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                Yum! By the time we get them, here in California, they are no longer rock-hard but they are very sweet and tart! My perfect apple!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Honeycrisps, Pink Ladies, Newtown Pippins. Getting more and more difficult to find Newtown Pippins, even though they're vastly superior to the best selling green apple, Granny Smiths, which I won't touch. I had a locally grown Spartan the other day that was also quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. hello all,
                                                                                                                                                                                  cannot find end of thread, so here I be. would like to hear
                                                                                                                                                                                  locations for responders' and their apples.

                                                                                                                                                                                  mine: York, and then Mountaineer.
                                                                                                                                                                                  given the choice would rarely stray. these days, for eating or juicing or cooking, would be So Happy to have an apple that
                                                                                                                                                                                  is not thumb compressible and SMELLS like an apple.

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fayga mindl

                                                                                                                                                                                    Just got back from a visit to an orchard and ciderworks near Charlottesville, Virginia. Apples, eight varieties, were on offer for $1.50/lb, any mix. Knives were laid out for sample tasting, so I tried several varieties (some, like Winesap and Idared, I already knew I wanted without needing to taste). In the end, the only two I didn't buy were Virginia Gold and York. Maybe it was just the comparison with other, more tart-sweet apples, but York was just flat -- almost flavorless.

                                                                                                                                                                                    None seemed "thumb compressible", but then all had been picked within the previous month.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                      Which orchard, praytell? Carter's Mountain? I can't remember if they make their own cider there or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                        Vintage Virginia Apples & Albemarle Ciderworks (hard cider); they're in North Garden, just off 29 about eight miles south of I-64.

                                                                                                                                                                                        As I write, am enjoying their Ragged Mountain blend (a little bit of fizz, only a hint of sweetness; wonderful stuff) with some cheese and crackers. The apples for their blended ciders (Jupiter's Legacy, Ragged Mountain, and Pomme Mary) all come from their orchard. For the varietals -- a Pippin, a Winesap, and another I can't remember right now -- they supplement their own supply with apples from other Virginia orchards.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                          Awesome. I've not been to that one yet. There are so many great orchards and cideries around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                            This Saturday (2 Nov) is their annual Festival -- music, other food vendors (Brunswick stew from the Ruritans, a must), etc. Head on over!

                                                                                                                                                                                            Didn't realize until I went to the website that Carter Mtn is owned by the Chiles of peach orchard fame. We are blessed with a lot of great fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The very best apple I EVER tasted was an Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia Gravenstein!!! I am from southern Ontario, and we have lots and lots of great apples in the area. BUT when I was posted to Greenwood NS I tried the local apples, and they were some of the best I have ever had. But the GRAVENSTEIN tops all! I did not cook with it, just ate out of hand, but it was beyond compare and I will always remember the joy I felt eating those fabulous apples! Top 10 of everything I have ever eaten, and I am 58 years old, so I have tasted a lot of food...

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sneaker

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have never seen Gravenstein here in NY, but I always keep a few jars of Trader Joe Gravenstein applesauce on hand. I can't even imagine having one fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Oh, I had to jump in here.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Living in South TX these days, missing the apples in upstate NY where we lived for 10 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Pink Lady is about all I eat around here, but back in Ithaca, I loved a good Winesap, Cox'x Orange Pippin and Chestnut Crab. All wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm drooling.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Living in Washington and getting apples near Leavenworth are the best! Now that it's apple season, fruit stands are popping up everywhere! My favorite are Ambrosia apples and I believe someone has mentioned it once here!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Honeycrisps really are great! Was super excited to find them for $1.59/lb today!


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My #1 pick is definitely Ambrosia. Second would be Pacific Rose. Living in WA state it's hard to keep track of all the different kinds of apples that keep coming up every year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I love apples. Unfortunately I can't identify my favorite. There's a bighorn sheep preserve near me that has old homestead cabins and old, overgrown fruit trees and berry patches. We go and pick them (it is allowed :-) The apples are SOOO good. They're incredibly sweet and incredibly tart- just a "WOW that's a lot of flavor" kind of sensation. They're small, greenish-red balls of intense flavor. I make them into our yearly supply of applesauce, jelly, pie filling etc. The bears love them too so there's an added level of suspense when picking.