There are so many varieties of apples today, choosing which to buy and how to best use them can confuse even the most seasoned apple picker. Here are a few hints and tips for your trip to the orchard, farm stand or market. This is not an exhaustive list but does give you some good suggestions. And, remember that the very best apples to use are the ones you have on hand!
For fresh eating, choose a sweet and crisp fruit like Cameo, Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, and Jazz. Gala are my personal favorite for taking on a picnic or with lunch.
For baking, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Rome Beauty are all good choices that will hold their shape. Granny Smith has always been my favorite pie apple.
For culinary use, Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Jonathan, McIntosh, Rome, and Winesap. These all work well for general cooking.
Apple sauce and apple butter are best with a variety of sweet and tart apples that are soft so they cook down easily. Cortland, Golden Delicious, Gravenstein, Jonathan, and McIntosh are good choices.
When storing apples, keep in mind they will keep longer and stay fresher in a cold, humid environment. It is best to first put the apples in a plastic bag with a few holes in it. Then place them in a drawer in the refrigerator.When you want to keep cut apples from turning brown, for example when using on a fruit tray, dip the apples in a bowl of water with a few teaspoons of lemon juice stirred in. The citric acid in the lemon juice acts as a preservative and prevents browning.
Of course, apples don’t last long when you have great recipes for their use. One of my personal favorites is below.