If I had to choose a favourite fruit, I wouldn’t hesitate to say apples. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t
enjoy an apple in one form or another. But if I had to choose a favourite type of apple, I’d have a much harder time selecting just one.
I love that apples come in so many varieties and that you can make so many different dishes with them. From our intensely flavoured Prairie apples, to the large commercial apples grown in warmer locations, apples are always a great choice.
This time of year is perfect for tasting local Prairie apples. The varieties available are simply amazing. There are crabapples like Rescue, Dolgo, Trail or the late-season Kerr apple crabs (slightly bigger than crabapples) that make amazing juice and jellies. Then there are the endless varieties of full-size apples like Goodlands, Norkent, September Red, Prairie Sensation, Prairie Magic, Honey Crisp, Norland, Good Macs and so on. Our Prairie apples come in all sizes, colours and taste profiles and are harvested from early August to mid-October. If you have a chance to harvest or taste them this fall, do it! You won’t regret it. In fact, grab an extra bag full and make something delicious.
If you don’t have access to local apples, take advantage of the new crop of apples being stocked in grocery stores this season. Here’s a look at some common apples you’ll find in stores today. Perhaps one of these will become a new favourite in your home:
Ambrosia – Pinky red and yellow. Sweet, crisp, juicy and slightly aromatic. It’s ideal for snacking, salads, baking, sauces and juice.
Braeburn — Red/orange streaks on a yellow background. Bold, tart flavour with a hint of sweet spice. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking and sauces. Empire — Dark red with a splash of yellow or green. Sweet to tart with crisp texture and bright-white flesh that does not bruise easily. Ideal for snacking, salads and baking.
Envy – Mostly red with yellow specks and fairly thick skin. Sweet, crisp, juicy and low in acid with creamy dense flesh that is slow to brown. Ideal for snacking, salads and baking.
Fuji – Pinky red with speckles on a yellow background. Crunchy, supersweet, mild-flavoured apple. The flesh browns quite quickly. Ideal for snacking, baking, sauces and juice.
Gala — Red/orange stripes on a yellow background. This crisp, aromatically sweet apple is becoming very popular and often most affordable. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking, sauces. Golden Delicious — Yellow- to golden-skinned apple that has been popular for a long time. Sweet, mellow flavour with crisp flesh and a tender skin. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking, sauces and juice.
Granny Smith — Bright-green large apple. Tart and firm with a pleasing crunch. Ideal for baking and any recipe where a tart, crisp bite is ideal.
Honey Crisp — Bright-red skin mottled with pale green. Crisp, sweet and juicy with a honey flavour that’s very popular, despite being one of the most expensive apples. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking, sauces and juice.
Jazz — Orange to red over a yellow to light-green background. Crunchy, juicy, crisp and dense with a sweet pear-like flavour. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking and sauces.
McIntosh — A classic red and green round apple with a thick yet tender peel. Soft flesh that’s juicy, tangy and sweet all at the same time. Ideal for snacking, salads, soups, sauces and any recipe where a soft apple that doesn’t hold its shape is required.
Pink Lady — A pink bumpy exterior on a yellow to green background. A crunchy texture with a tart taste and a sweet, “fizz-like” finish. Does not brown very quickly. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking and sauces.
Red Delicious — A classic heart- shaped, dark-red apple. One of the most economical apples but often found to be mealy and dry. At its best it has a crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavour. Ideal for snacking and salads. Smitten — A yellow apple with red streaks or blushes. Firm and crisp texture with a sweet, tangy and slightly spicy taste. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking and sauces.
Spartan — A small round apple with a dark-red blush over a green background. Fine textured, crisp, juicy and sweet with a bit of tartness. Similar to a McIntosh but retains its shape when cooked. Ideal for snacking, salads, baking, sauces and juice.
When it comes to cooking and baking with apples, don’t be afraid to mix and match varieties. Mixing tart and sweet, firm and tender, green and red apples in one dish adds visual interest as well as depth of flavour and texture.
Why not test that theory and some new apple varieties on one of these recipes from my new online apple cookbook?
Apple and Cranberry Cobbler
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. butter, diced
- 1-1/2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 5 tbsp. cold butter, diced
- 2/3 c. buttermilk*
- 1 tbsp. large-crystal sugar
Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C). Mix apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour into 7×11-inch (2- to 2-1/2-quart) baking dish and top with butter.
Mix flour, baking powder and sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture forms large crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir with fork until batter comes together. If batter is too thick add an extra tablespoon of milk.
Drop batter into 9 to 12 even dollops on top of apples.
Spread out slightly and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and baked through. Cool for 30 minutes to set.
*Substitute: Pour 1 tbsp. lemon juice in measuring cup, add milk to make 2/3 cup. Stir and rest for 15 minutes.