No one wants to waste apples. Besides them going bad on you, the next most likely reason you waste them is because you don't like them.
Flavor isn't often the number 1 attribute that growers consider when producing apples. They want to find what is profitable for them and hopefully at some point flavor is considered.
In this episode I am going to point you towards some of the most delicious tasting apples that I have found from traveling all over the country. These apples may not all be easy to find but they are worth searching for!
You can listen to this podcast episode below or listen on any of these podcast players - Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts. If you would prefer to read the text, you will find a transcript below.
When the apple season starts getting into full gear, the two apples I tend to buy the most are Ginger Gold and Zestar. I am recording this in late August and that is when these apples are at their best. Both of them tend to go too soft as we get deeper into September, but they are great at this time of year. Ginger Gold apples should have some yellow color to them. The greener ones aren't as sweet. You don't want them to have a waxy feeling.
Zestar has a sweet-tart, brown sugar like flavor. It's one of the parents of the SweeTango apple with the other being Honeycrisp.
I found both of these apples in the Midwest. in New England, and in Utah. So they are widely grown and are popular varieties for farm stands and orchard u-picks.
If you have though that all crab apples are just tart, small apples that are only good for throwing at other kids when you were a kid, let me tell you about the Chestnut Crab. It's a larger size crab apple that has a sweet, nutty flavor. I love the skin of this apple. Their still small size makes them perfect for snacking. I have gotten them in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maine.
If you are a fan of Gala apples, then you must find yourself some Blondee apples. They are like the yellow Gala. They are sweet, not overly with a lovely floral honey flavor. They are growing in popularity with orchards and are just about perfection if you ge them in the first 3 weeks of September.
If you want an apple that is bursting with flavor, I am talking about an heirloom flavor that you don't find in modern apple varieties, then Rubinette is one you cannot miss. The apple skin has a mix of reds, yellows. oranges, and browns. I think it's one of the prettiest, but it's not that perfect red pretty that you find at grocery stores. The flavor is just so rich.
Why this apple isn't easy to find is that it's not perfectly uniform in color and it's not easy to grow. But it's so worth it. They even grow them at Capital Reef National Park in Utah. I am hoping to head there this fall to pick them directly off the trees.
If you are a McIntosh fan and love that kind of flavor, then Macoun is one you need to add to your bucket list. They can be hard to find with optimal flavor. If you get them too earlier they won't have enough flavor but if you find them at the perfect moment, they are one of the best. People say a perfect Macon will ruin your taste for other apples, I can see that for sure!
I have seen them in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The timing is hard, so this is one you really want a sample of first.
An apple that I think has the same kind if coloration of a McIntosh with that bright white interior that is one worth seeking out is called Snow Sweet. It might be the best apple to put into a salad. It really resists browning, so it stays looking good once cut.
I do have a special place in my heart for yellow skinned apples. I already mentioned Blondee at the start of the season, but at the end of the season there is an apple I love even more called Sun Crisp. It's a well balanced sweet apple with enough tartness to make it interesting. This flavor is just about as good as the Rubinette I mentioned earlier, but it stays crisp for a longer time.
I first discovered these in Ohio. They are a pretty yellow apple too as they can get a red blush on them. I love to fill my fridge with them in middle to late October.
Now for my tart apple fans, if you want something that will rock your taste buds, then you need to seek out Ashmead's Kernel. This is a true heirloom variety that originated in the 1700s. It's a russetted apple, so it has a brown skin over a green background. Think of what a Bosc pear looks like. This might be the most delicious tart apple I have tried. But it's tart, so be ready!
The apple has actually seen a resurgence in recent years as it's popular with craft apple cider makers.
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to share some apples for those that may live in a area where you can't make it to an apple orchard (like Florida!) or aren't going to make it out to an orchard or farm market.
Lucy Glo and Lucy Rose are new varieties that have been out for the last couple years. They are as close to an heirloom flavor in a modern apple you are going to find. Both of these have a red interior that makes for really pretty desserts. They are tart, but not to much for my tastes.
For sweet apple fans, the Green Dragon apple is one of the sweetest that has good flavor to boot. Make sure if you buy these, that they are green in color. They will turn yellow as they age and become too soft.
Here is the full list of apples I mentioned in this episode:
- Ginger Gold
- Chestnut Crab
- Snow Sweet
- Ashmead's Kernel
- Lucy Glo
- Lucy Rose
- Green Dragon
🛒 Before You Checkout
What you need to know before you checkout at the grocery store or market:
If you are looking up apples before you buy them or pick them at a farm, you want to look for two things - when is this apple normally harvested and how long does it store for. If it's early for that apple, it might not have developed full flavor yet. Or if you are buying an apple already picked and you find out that it stores for 3 weeks and it's about 6 weeks after they are normally picked, this could mean the apple is too soft. If you can ask for a sample before buying at an orchard or farm stand.
I am looking into options for my listeners, email subscribers, and blog readers to directly connect with me when they are wondering about buying an apple variety or to pass it by. If this is something you are interested in, let me know by reaching out to me via email at [email protected] or send me a message on Instagram either at @eatlikenooneelse or @eatshopwastenot