This has been written exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Reece Orchards, a family-owned and operated apple and peach orchard in Ellijay, GA.

If you’ve ever tasted a variety of apples, or used the wrong type of apples in a recipe, you know the difference apples have between types. If you’re considering cooking with apples this Holiday season, don’t just settle for any type of apples you find at the grocery, know what apples provide your recipe and how they have very different characteristics in your cooking.

Knowing the Difference
Determining the difference between apple flavors, textures and purposes is a must. Most apples fall within 3 categories; eating apples, cider apples and cooking apples. While some may overlap slightly, it’s possible to place apples in one of these three categories. Eating apples tend to have very simple flavors and lack certain characteristics such as juiciness, potent flavor or ideal texture for cooking. Cider apples tend to be apples that are softer and possibly past season apples that have already fallen or are unable to be used for eating or cooking. Cooking apples tend to be highly flavorful apples that unlike eating and cider apples hold their texture and flavors more when cooked.

Names to Look For
If you’re looking for some go-to apple choices this Holiday season, there are some names you can trust depending on the recipe. Again, when cooking apples, finding full-flavored, firmer types of apples is a must. Braeburn, Granny Smith, Jonathans, Jonagolds and Rome Beauty apples are popular cooking apples we feature from our orchard. When selecting these apples consider the flavor they carry. For example Jonagolds and Granny Smiths are tarter apples and perfect for tarts and pies. Others will carry flavors best used in cobblers and other goods.
If you’re looking to make some homemade apple sauce it’s important to determine your needs. Crisp apples such as Granny Smith and Jonagold apples will make a chunkier sauce, while Braeburn and MacIntosh apples will create a smoother, juicier sauce due to their softer composition.

Have Fun with your choices
Cooking with apples can be a fun way to experiment with cooking. Don’t be afraid to mix different types of apples in recipes to create one of a kind flavors and textures. If you have a juicy, soft apple you love, but want to add some tartness to the recipe, find another apple that provides the desired texture. If you live near an orchard or in a popular apple growing area find a local grower that might offer unique apples to your area. An experienced orchard should be able to direct you to the apples that meet your cooking needs. If all else fails, experiment and find your own one-of-a-kind apple mixture. Regardless, have fun and safe Holiday season this year.

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I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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