We get asked this question a lot: “What is the best apple for eating.”
Well, the reason there are so many apple varieties today (7,500 worldwide) is because everybody’s taste is different. Also keep in mind that different apple varieties are better for different things. Such as, the Macintosh is best for pies because of its flavor and firmness. We will try and highlight the most popular, and our favorite, along with a few other varieties for different tastebuds.
Red Delicious, Rome Apples, Golden Delicious Are the Bottom of the Barrel.
Europeans have a different idea of what makes a good-tasting apple than Americans do. Americans are so accustomed to sugary foods that the majority of them also prefer the sweetest apple variety which is Red Delicious. The most commercialized apple in the U.S at one time also known as Red Chief Red Delicious, it has seen its day. There are many variations of the Red Delicious such as the Red Rome, Red Romance.
If you are any kind of apple connoisseur at all, you would probably believe, as we do, that the Red Delicious is actually the worst-tasting apple variety ever created. It is usually always mushy, mealy and lacks any real flavor. Often the skin can be downright bitter and tasteless. Red Delicious was created specifically to satisfy the commercial food industry’s desire for sweeter foods, but as an apple grower, the person who invented the Red Delicious apple should consider it a huge failure.
In the 1980s, ‘Red Delicious’ represented three-quarters of the harvest in Washington State. A decade later, their heavy reliance on ‘Red Delicious’ almost pushed Washington state’s apple industry “to the edge” of collapse. In 2000, Congress approved and President Bill Clinton signed a bill to bail out the apple industry, after apple growers had lost $760 million since 1997. By 2000, the Red Delicious apple made up less than one half of the Washington state output, and in 2003, the crop had shrunk to 37 percent of the state’s harvest, which totaled 103 million boxes. Although Red Delicious still remained the single largest variety produced in the state in 2005, others varieties have grown in popularity in the U.S, notably the ‘Fuji’ and ‘Gala’ and now the Golden Delicious; all which have a better flavor than Red Delicious.
Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Jonathan, Honey Crisp Apples Are at Least Crisp.
Europeans like apples with some tartness, some sweetness, some good flavor, and definitely crisp. The commercial varieties the European consumer usually chooses are Fuji or Gala, however, while we will give Fujis and Braeburns credit for being good “sweet” eating apples, there is a great deal of variance with the Gala varieties. They can also often be mushy and tasteless, but yes, sweet. However, these varieties still pale in flavor to some of the heirloom apple varieties that are considered less popular only because the commercial apple industry does not supply them to store.
Our Favorite Eating Apples.
If you don’t mind a little bit of tartness in an apple, you will find more wonderful flavors in many other varieties.
The Pink Lady has an amazing blend of sweet, sassy goodness that cannot be rivaled in our opinion. Although is is not considered one of the sweetest apples, it is our favorite hands down for it’s intricate and complex flavor that reveals itself in a gradual release as you eat it. Even thought is has this complex flavoring it is still a relatively sweet apple just the same. Always crisp with just a slightly pink blush to the flesh. Our number one favorite for many products as well as eating right off the tree. Many people consider the Pink Lady apple to be the champagne of apples and the best dessert apple.
Winesap is a more sophisticated version of a Red Delicious in our opinion. While very similar to a Delicious apple, the Winesap still has enough individuality to make it much more flavorful than a Red Delicious and crisper. Akin to a cross between a Macintosh and a Delicious.
Cox Orange Pippin is similar to the Gala apple variety but never fails to be crisper than Gala and with a bit more robust flavor. Some nursery suppliers are now calling the Orange Pippin and “antique” apple because it originated in old England in 1825.
Finding any of our favorite varieties, or Europe’s “Old English” favorites, in stores is difficult these days. Due to it’s high ranking among apple enthusiasts, there are a great many Pink Lady imposters on the market. Although this variety is starting to make a big comeback, true Pink Lady cultivars were almost extinct due to the lack of interest in them a few decades ago. So finding a true Pink Lady apple takes really knowing what to look for in appearance and taste. Unfortunately, due to crossing it with so many other varieties to try and replicate it when the supply of true root stock is limited, you will be hard-pressed to find a true Pink Lady in the stores.
Granny Smith and Sour Apples.
A recent study revealed that Granny Smiths are the best apples to help you lose weight. That is one reason to eat them. There are some people who love the tartness of a good green apple. Newer variations of the Granny have come out to tone down the tartness a bit in some sour apples. They are not as green with a slightly yellow tinge to the skin. However, you will rarely find the more mild sours in your local supermarket either. Our Grannys have a one-of-a-kind flavor since they are pollinated with the other varieties in our orchard. They are sour with an sweet spicey after taste. If you like green apples, you will love these.
There are new varieties of apples being created constantly. You may notice that the varieties in the stores change their names every couple of year. Many of them are the same apples but just given a new name to make them seem new and different. The best apples will always come from an older orchard that does not grow apples for the commercial grocery industry. Until Americans get off the sugar kick and realize sweet is not better, develop their tastes a bit more, you will not find a really good apple in the grocery stores. A good apple should have a sophisticated flavor, and not be all about tasteless sugar and mushy textures.
And now I’m sure you want to know which are the best pie apples. Right? See our post on pie apples.