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Take a Trip Down Apple Lane and Explore Different Apple Varieties

varieties of apples with their names below them.
If you tend to only reach for one variety of apple as you stroll through the produce department, wake up your taste buds to different varieties of apples.


As you stroll through the produce section you’ll notice the many varieties of apples. You might see the ever popular, familiar Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Yellow Delicious. But what about those you might not be familiar with, like the Braeburn, Winesap, Fugi, Rome, or even Jonathon. Which is best for cooking, which is best for eating, which is the best all-around apple?

If you tend to only reach for one variety, it’s time to wake up your taste buds and take them on a trip down apple lane. Next time you go to the grocery store or farmers market, buy one of each variety and try them out.

When shopping for apples, look for those that are firm, crisp, and well colored. If they are soft, leave them; they will have a mealy texture. If the apple has brown streaks on the skins (called scald), it’s perfectly fine to eat. This doesn’t affect the flavor or texture and is safe to eat; it just won’t win any beauty contests.

Apples should be stored in a dry, cool place for up to 1 week. The humidifier compartment of your refrigerator is the place to store them, in an unsealed bag. If stored there they should retain their quality for about 1 month.

There are over 2,500 apple varieties grown in the United States and available on the market today, although most people have only tasted a few of the more popular ones. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth, or crisp and crunchy, depending upon the one you choose. There is an apple to suit almost everyone’s taste. Try these different varieties and see which one you like best.

Braeburn is great for snacks and salads. It has high impact flavor and blends sweetness and tartness. It's good in baking, applesauce and for freezing. Its color varies from greenish-gold with red sections to nearly solid red.

Fuji's crisp sweetness and firm flesh make it an excellent eating apple. It's equally good in baking and is a favorite for applesauce. Fuji store well and, like fine wine, the flavor improves in storage. Skin color varies from yellow-green with red highlights to very red.

Gala are crunchy, with a flavor that is sweet and tart with elements of tropical fruit that make these apples versatile and able to be paired with bold flavors. They can be put in salads, paired with poultry and served as a main dish, or boiled down to make savory sauces. 

Golden Delicious has white flesh and a sweet-tart flavor that can be enjoyed fresh or for baking. Add them to green salads, fruit salads or grain salads. Or bake them into crisps, crumbles, tarts, cakes, and breads. These pair well with savory items as well, such as cheese, onions, cabbages, and pork.

Granny Smith is green, tart, juicy, and crisp. An all-around apple excellent for pies, sauces, baking, freezing, snacking and salads. Thought to have descended from an Australian grandmother named Maria Ann Smith.

The Honeycrisp apple has a bright red and pale green outer skin with a cream colored inside. It's crisp yet juicy flesh has a sweet yet slightly tart flavor that makes it great for salads, baking, cooking or snacking. It does not freeze well.

Pink Lady has a firm, crisp, tangy-tart, sweet flavor. Great for baking and snacking, it is only available November to August. The apples get their distinctive bright pink color from the crisp fall Washington nights.

Arkansas Black will keep up to four months in cold storage and improve in flavor and texture. The color is a vivid red to dark purple with golden hued flesh and a juicy fine grained, crisp texture. Its aromatic sweet-tart flavor mellows and becomes more palatable with storage. The flesh also softens during storage. It can be baked, sautéed, roasted, and juiced to make cider and jams. These originated in Benton County AR, and are available at roadside stands and farmers markets in Northwest AR.

Regardless of the variety you buy, apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the lining of blood vessel walls, while the insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract.

When eating out of hand, eat apples with the skin on to increase your insoluble fiber content. Also almost half the vitamin C content is just below the skin. So peeling your apple means peeling away great nutritional benefits.

Get your free copy of Arkansas Fresh Apples by contacting the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in Miller County at 870-779-3609, room 215 in the Miller County Courthouse, or e-mail me at

This Double Apple and Dried Cherry Salad is very easy and colorful. It was recently made for a Diabetic class and everyone loved it.

Double Apple and Dried Cherry Salad

1 large tart apple, diced

1 large sweet apple, diced

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 Tsp each ground cinnamon & nutmeg

1Tsp vanilla    

1/3 cup dried cherries  

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Add apples to medium bowl. In a small bowl add pineapple juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir well. Pour over apples and add cherries and walnuts. Mix well. Let stand 10 minutes or longer before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Calories 107, Sodium 4 mg, Carbohydrate 16g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Fat 5g, Protein 1g

Yield: 8—one half cup servings

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609

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