Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, September 20, 2021

Apples: Favorite Varieties and Uses?

Picking apples on our property from trees that my father had planted decades earlier. Photo by Salt Water New England 
Autumn brings many wonderful things, but high on any list should be apples.  

Given that, several readers have asked the community variations of:
What are your favorite apple varieties, and what are your favorite uses of apples?

16 comments:

  1. Crimson Crisp is our current favorite of the apples available now. Love Ginger Gold but they've been hard to find the last couple of years. Also love the Albermarle Pippin which is available later in the season here. Favorite uses: apple pie (obviously), homemade applesauce (and butter but I'm still working on that recipe) and Waldorf salad. We love buying the apples we can't get here when traveling in the Northeast. Would love to hear any suggestions about the best apple stands along 95 or in the Cape Cod area.

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  2. Since I'm about to bake my first apple pie of the season, I'll offer this opinion: for traditional pie, a mix of Cortlands and Granny Smiths.

    I'm also making applesauce from MacIntoshes, and then freezing it. Comes in handy as an accompaniment to pork dishes, and also for applesauce cakes, bars, and muffins.

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    1. What containers do you use to freeze yours? I've always canned mine; freezing would be easier.

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    2. Oh, anything ... washed & reused plastic sour cream containers, Tupperware from the '70s, ziploc freezer bags.

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  3. There is a lovely little book called Apples by Roger Yepson with charming illustrations of all sorts of varieties. My favorites are good old Cortlands, McIntosh,Braeburns,Macoun and Baldwin. My in -laws had an apple tree on their property in NH ,of some old long forgotten variety, which was wonderful, even the local bear overindulged :) So much to love about autumn.

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  4. Mutsus/crispins. Great for eating but are absolutely the best for cooking. Plus they're so big you only need 2, maybe 3, for a crisp or pie!

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  5. For grabbing to eat I love a McIntosh. For a pie I like Granny Smiths mixed with something like a Braeburn or a Cortland.

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  6. I love mutsus too.

    We make apple sauce, apple compote, apple cake using the Smitten Kitchen recipe, and I like to take the extra apples that we get, slice and toss with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon, place in a 9x13 casserole and then top with Muffy’s pie crust recipe. Perfect!

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  7. Pink Lady and honeycrisps.

    Pie, strudel (tip: swap out the raisins for dried cranberries!), dded to outmeal, plain, sliced with peanut butter for a snack or breakfast), crisp. They are also good mixed into apple tarragon chicken salad. https://iowagirleats.com/apple-tarragon-chicken-salad/

    --EM

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  8. A Cortland fits the bill, in just about anything! Thanks so very much!

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  9. For apple sauce my two favorites are Cortland and Northern Spy, which are almost impossible to find these days. We freeze our apple sauce in freezer zip-lock bags. For out-of-hand, I like Gala or Macoun.

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  10. I don't have a favorite, though my wife probably does. She likes Granny Smiths for cooking. One of our most enjoyable outings last year was to an apple orchard near Winchester, Virginia. The area and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia used to be well-known for apples, though I believe there are fewer than there used to be. This particular orchard had a number of different varieties of apples but I was especially astonished at how many apples the trees had. The time to go is probably in October. There are also some good wineries out that way, too.

    There were still a few people where I grew up who still made apple butter the old fashioned way when I was little. Although a straight-forward process, it was an all-day job and involved cooking the apples in a big copper kettle over a wood fire. It had to be stirred constantly with a special long-handled paddle (for want of a better term). I don't know what all went into the kettle but a lot of apples had to be peeled. A couple of years ago, we attended an apple butter festival in a small town in West Virginia that also is known for its hot springs and spa.

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  11. My grandmother has an old apple tree in her backyard and those apples are my absolute favourite. The apples are a hybrid between a McIntosh and another type of apple. These apples are good for eating and they’re great for making apple sauce, apple jelly and baking.

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  12. The best for baking are Baldwins and Jonagolds according to my sister who is a professional baker. Here is a link to Champlain Orchard 115 varieties with pictures and descriptions. https://www.champlainorchards.com/apples I discovered Russets a couple years ago...they look ugly on the outside but inside...wow good for eating. My mother used to make crabapple jelly. We had a few trees and she would make these beautiful little jars of it...haven't thought of it in years...maybe I'll try it soon. Interesting apple fact...in England, produce and fruit sellers are called costermongers. The coster (or custard) apple is a variety that has been lost, but the name survives in the English vernacular.

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  13. Our trees are Baldwin (a name in my husband's family) and Egremont Russet. The Baldwins are bit too mushy/mealy for me but bake up fabulously; the Egremont is hands down the best apple I've eaten. Tart, juicy, firm skinned, green with a gorgeous webbing over it, white fleshed. But, I think it does make a difference to wander out into your front yard and just grab it off the tree. ;) We discovered an old apple tree on a section of land that used to be a part of my great-great grandparent's farm near the family cottage, and that is now separated from the rest by a road and on a sort of no-man's land section, I think it's town property. We're grabbing apples from it and hoping to grow them here at our house. Might even get an apple from it before I die. Hats off to Great-Great Gran Smith for planting such a hardy variety! May we all be as hardy during these particularly difficult moments in our country's history.

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  14. Johnagolds are lovely to make apple butter with, as are Johnathan apples. I have yet to try the Johnagored.

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