Fall Fest: Pick The Perfect Apple
We're teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Fall Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we'll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you're harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.
Bring on the apple crisp, baked apples and applesauce-d pork chops -- apple season is here! From popular supermarket varieties to the thousands of heirloom types you can pick up at a local farmers' market, each apple has its own personality.
Some apples stand up to baking, while others fall flat in the oven. Some are too tart to munch on, but perfect for pies. So, how do you choose? Here's a primer on picking the best apples for the job.
Best to Resist Browning
Why They Work: Juicy, mildly tart Cortland apples don't oxidize as quickly as some varieties, so you can avoid ugly brown apples in your salad or lunch sack. To discourage browning on any apple, dip in lemony water just after slicing.
Best to Pair With Cheese
Why They Work: The Honeycrisp's honey-sweet flesh pairs well with bold cheeses, while mildly-tart apples pair well with nutty aged cheddar. For rich, soft cheeses like taleggio and brie, the Granny Smith's acidic flavor helps cut the fat.
Recipe to Try: Paula's Nut-Glazed Brie With Apples
Best for Apple Bobbing
Why They Work: Round, long-stemmed apples like these varieties are easiest to catch.
Best For Cooking Whole
Why It Works: This bumpy cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious has a tough skin and firm flesh that holds its shape while cooking.
Other Good Options: Gala, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Gala, Rome Beauty
Best for Long-Term Storage
Why It Works: These crisp, dark red apples have a firm flesh that keeps very well when stored in a cool, dark place. To increase the shelf life, keep apples in the coldest spot in your refrigerator.
Other Good Choices: Blushing Golden, Bonnie Best, Rome Beauty
Best For Baking
Why It Works: To make pies,crisps and tarts, you want an apple that will remain flavorful and firm during cooking. This dark red cross between McIntosh and Jersey Black delivers.
Other Good Options: Granny Smith, Baldwin, McIntosh, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Baldwin
Best for Sauces
Why it Works: This cross between Jonathan and Wagener has a strong apple flavor that holds up well during the cooking process. Cook with the skin on and strain for a lovely pink applesauce.
Other Good Choices: Jonathan, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Paula Red, Macoun, Jonagold, Gala, Cortland
Best For Raw Munching
Why It Works: For eating out-of-hand and topping salads, you want an apple with sweet flavor and super-crisp flesh. Honeycrisp has the perfect combination of sweetness and crunch.
Other Good Options: Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonathan, Cortland, McIntosh, Braeburn, Pink Lady
TELL US: What's your favorite kind of apple? Shout it out in the comments, or share your favorite apple recipes on Twitter at #fallfood.
- Todd and Diane at White on Rice Couple: Apple picking, and Broiled Leeks with Apple Vinaigrette
- Marilyn at Simmer Till Done: Louisa May Alcott's Apple Slump
- Alana at Eating from the Ground Up: Apple pie and its place in her family religion
- Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Remaking The Silver Palate Cookbook's Medieval Apple Tart
- Alison at Food2: 22 Awesome Ways to Use Your Apples
- Michelle at Cooking Channel: Apple Dessert Recipes
- Dana at Healthy Eats: 31 Days of Apple Recipes
- Liz at Food Network: Pick the Perfect Apple
- Caroline at The Wright Recipes: Apple Stack Cake and Dark Caramel Apples
- Food Network UK: Five English apples you should know and love
- Gilded Fork: Apples—Sweet Seduction
- Paige at The Sister Project: Third-Prize Apple Pie
- Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Favorite Apple Recipes