Apply the Terminology
They’re not just a red fruit with a juicy center. Apple folk (breeders, growers, obsessive consumers) know that each variety necessitates a separate set of descriptors – ones for taste as well as appearance, texture (inside and out), keeping quality, and aroma. Here are some of the most popular “Northern” varieties.
Decent eating apple, but better to cook with. Attractive, larger-sized apple with greenish yellow skin splashed with vivid red stripes and russeted dots. Expect firm, fine, juicy flesh. Flavor is tart, brisk, and refreshing. Keeps for only a few weeks.
Bountiful trees produce large, dark red apples that are superior for eating raw. For northern areas like ours, this keeps well late into the season.
This variety is red with even brighter red striping. Imagine a “floral” taste with a “sweet kick.” When you slice it, it resists browning.
The bright white flesh yields a sweet, crisp texture. Even the non-connoisseur will notice a distinct non-apple flavor. Apple textbooks call it “vinous,” but think of it as a hint of melon, pineapple, or elderflower. Not prone to bruising.
Boxy fruit that has a yellowish green skin and an orangey-red blush and dark stripes. Juicy, crisp white flesh; a little acidic. Good for keeping.
The best way to enjoy it is right off the tree. Characterized by bright orange-red patterns on the skin. Compact, juicy, fine textured flesh with a yellow-white color. Sweet with a hint of tartness. Hangs well on tree.
Want to make cider? Eat it off the tree? Bake some crisp? This one does it all. Flesh is crisp, juicy, firm. Just a wee bit tart, but not acidic. Retains good flavor in keeping.
Exceptionally crisp and juicy texture with a unique cream-colored, coarse texture. The flavor ranges from mild to well-balanced and is often strongly aromatic. It ranks high in consumer sensory tests.
Like a Golden Delicious, but well-built for our cold northern areas.
Gold to greenish fruit with reddish-bronze blush. More sugary and bland than its warm-weathered counterpart. Eat ‘em and store ‘em – it’s all good.
A large yellow apple with lots of red striping. Expect a bit of a crackle from the flesh, and a slight tartness accompanying the full, rich flavor. Put them in desserts, and store them in the refrigerator for 3 months.
One of the first red apples of the fall, this firm textured apple has a good sweet/sharp balance, making it an excellent variety for eating and cooking.
You can probably smell its heavenly perfume before you take a bite. Its surface is polished and the reddest of reds with many dots and slight yellow blushing. Snow-white flesh is crisp tender, “sprightly,” and sub-acid.
For those that like tartness, this creamy-fleshed apple will do the trick. Good for eating, in pies and sauces.
A superior early apple that keeps well, from a tree that produces quite a bit. Look for the lemon-yellow coloring.
If you can imagine a cross between McIntosh and Pippin apples … that’s what the Spartan is all about. Good all-purpose apple.
Thin dark-to-bright skin with a meekly flavored compact white flesh. Bruises easily. Does not keep well. Was the most popular variety in the world (until the rise of Fuji and Gala)
Bright red outer skin with celadon streaks. Off-white crisp, juicy inside. Totally sweet flavor.
A darkly colored apple – maroon to purple color. Highly scented. Crisp and juicy, richly flavorful with acid component. Outstanding flavor retention when cooked. Keeps about one month.