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From tart to sweet: A guide to apple varieties

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A guide to apple varieties (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Learn about the different types of apples.
  • Fall is apple picking season.
  • How to find the right apples to suit your taste.

Apples are more than just a popular fruit; they’re a culinary staple with a history as rich as their flavor profile.

With so many types of apples on the market, it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs.

Whether you’re baking a pie, looking for a healthy snack or crafting a charcuterie board, there’s an apple for that.

Learn about the most popular apple varieties — their taste, texture and best uses.

Granny Smith: The tart classic

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Photo: Shutterstock

When you think of a tart apple, Granny Smith probably comes to mind.

This apple variety is bright green and have a satisfying crunch.

They’re often used in pies because their tartness balances out the sweetness of most recipes.

Eaten fresh, they provide a palate-cleansing experience that many find invigorating.

Types of apples: Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious apples are golden-yellow and boast a balanced flavor profile.

They’re equally good for cooking and eating fresh.

Thanks to their moderate sweetness and juicy texture, they can be used in a variety of recipes, from savory dishes to sweet desserts.

When you’re in doubt about which apple variety to choose, Golden Delicious is a reliable choice.

Red Delicious: Easy to find but polarizing

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Photo: Mundo Archive

Go apple picking for the ubiquitous but controversial Red Delicious apple.

Some people love its sweetness, while others find it too bland and mealy.

This variety is best for eating fresh rather than cooking.

If you’re a fan of milder flavors, or if it’s the only option at the store, a Red Delicious can still be enjoyable.

Go apple picking for crunchy and super sweet Fujis

fuji, fruit, food
Photo: Getty Images

Originating from Japan, the Fuji apple is now popular worldwide.

Known for its extreme sweetness and firm texture, it’s great for snacking and salads.

It’s not the best choice for cooking, as it can become too mushy.

If you have a sweet tooth, this apple is a must-try.

Honeycrisp: A modern favorite

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Photo: Getty Images

Honeycrisp apples are a newer variety that has quickly gained popularity.

They’re incredibly juicy and have a balanced sweet-tart flavor.

Because of their unique texture, they’re fantastic in salads and as a fresh snack.

While they can be a bit pricey, many find their exceptional taste worth the cost.

Gala: Mild and universally pleasing

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Photo: Getty Images

Gala apples are mild in flavor and moderately sweet.

They have a softer texture compared to other varieties, making them great for kids or anyone who prefers a less crunchy apple.

Galas are a versatile type of apple and can be used in cooking or eaten fresh.

They’re a safe bet for those who aren’t sure what apple variety they prefer.

McIntosh: Juicy and mildly tart

Macintosh apples, basket, fruit
Photo: Mundo Archive

McIntosh apples offer a balance between tart and sweet, making them great for applesauce or pies.

Their flesh is softer and they bruise easily, so handle with care.

These types of apples are not the best for salads due to their softer texture.

A McIntosh makes a delightful snack when eaten fresh.

Braeburn: A balanced choice

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Photo: Getty Images

Braeburn apples offer a perfect blend of tartness and sweetness.

They have a firm texture, making them good for both cooking and fresh consumption.

Ideal for those who don’t like their apples too sweet or too tart, Braeburn offers a balanced experience.

They’re often used in pies and make excellent apple butter.

How to use different types of apples

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Photo: Getty Images

Knowing which types of apples to use can elevate your culinary endeavors.

For pies, Granny Smith and Braeburn are popular choices.

If you’re looking to make a fresh salad, Honeycrisp and Fuji bring excellent texture and flavor.

For snacking, you can never go wrong with a juicy Golden Delicious or a sweet Gala.

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