Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Tasting

{Nourish : September : Apples}
: A Family Apple Tasting :
A Little Guide to Common Grocery Store Apple Varieties

Ever wonder about all those different kinds of apples piled in the grocery store aisle? How different are they? Which type is best for apple pie? For eating with lunch? Well, in this month of apple abundance, we wondered about these things, and decided to do a little research on the subject, and compare some apples for ourselves.
We made a quick trip to our local grocery store where there were about 12 apple varieties available, but we limited our tasting to 8 of those. We bagged up 2 of each variety, and I made a little inward wish that the cashier wouldn't silently be cursing us for all the separate codes that would have to be keyed in at checkout. 

Here are our observations, along with some general info about each apple type.

We described these as: Sweet and a little sour, bright white flesh with a mealy texture
Descriptives from other sources: Simple flavor, sweet with a bit of acidity
Uses: Good for baking and snacking
History: Introduction in the 1820s, originated in Ontario, Canada

We described these as: Very soft, grainy texture, sweet with a bit of a bitter aftertaste
Descriptives from other sources: Crisp, without being hard; very juicy; high-impact, sweet-tart flavor
Uses: Great for snacking and baking
History: Introduction to market in 1952, originated in New Zealand

We described these as: Crunchy, crisp, tart and juicy, with a good balance of sweet and sour
Descriptives from other sources: Crisp and juicy; sweet yet slightly tart flavor; juicy and instantly refreshing
Uses: Great for snacking and salads, good for baking
History: Introduction to market in the late 1990s, originated at the University of Minnesota

Golden Delicious
We described these as: Sweet, crunchy, with muted flavors
Descriptives from other sources: Mellow and sweet
Uses: A true all-purpose apple; great for snacking, salads, cooking and baking
History: Introduction to market in 1914, originated in West Virginia 
Granny Smith
We described these as: Very sour, crisp, crunchy at first bite, then kind of chewy
Descriptives from other sources: Extremely tart, acidic, crisp, juicy
Uses: A versatile apple, Granny Smiths are excellent for baking, snacking and salads
History: Introduction to market in 1868, originated in Australia

We described these as

: Sweet, juicy, good initial crunch, less immediate flavor than others

Descriptives from other sources

: Crisp, aromatically sweet and snappy, though the best of these qualities is often not found in supermarket apples that have traveled from other countries


: Best for snacking and salads


: Introduction to market in 1965, originated in New Zealand

Red Delicious
We described these as

: Very mealy with tough, thick skin; mildly sweet; overall rather flavorless

Descriptives from other sources

: Crunchy with sweet, very mild flavor; skin can be quite tough


: Snacking and salads, not well suited for baking


: Introduction to market in 1874, originated in Iowa

Cripps Pink (also known as Pink Lady®)
We described these as

: Very sweet, well-rounded flavor; firm and juicy

Descriptives from other sources

: Firm, crisp flesh with a unique, tangy-tart, sweet flavor


: Best for snacking, can also be used for baking


: Introduction to market in 1985, originated in Australia

So, now that you know a little more about these apples,
here are our conclusions for snacking:

Unanimous Favorite: Honeycrisp
Unanimous Least Favorite: Red Delicious

Have you ever done an apple tasting (It's a fun idea if you haven't!), or do you have a favorite apple? 

Sources of apple information: Orange Pippin and Washington Apples


  1. I really must try a honeycrisp apple, it sounds wonderful.
    I usually buy fuji apples for eating and adding to my green juice.

    1. They are so good! And even better if you can get to an orchard and pick some off the tree!


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