As the weather gets crisp and the crispness of apples signals the sweet, fleeting passage of fall, it's time to get cooking. You may find eight varieties of apples for sale in a good grocery store these days, and a dozen or more in a big farmers' market. All this means you have a bumpercrop of fruit to cook with--and apples are a great cooking fruit. We matched some favorite varieties to recipes designed to unlock the unique charm of each fruit.
Pink Lady Apple
Crisp and tangy-sweet, the Pink Lady is very good for eating raw or baking. They also work wonderfully well in applesauce or purreed soups.
A cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious apple, this variety is crisp and sweet yet balanced with acidity. Jonagolds are good for both raw and cooked applications.
Balanced sweet-tart flavor makes this a good apple for eating raw. Liberty apples also hold up well to being sautéed for compotes.
Slightly crisp, sweet, and low in acid, this variety is slow to oxidize, so the flesh will stay white longer in raw applications. For a delicious and satisfying alternative to dessert, make a Liberty apple and cheese plate to enjoy after dinner. It will be a light and healthier alternative to the typical post-dinner fare.
This mild-tasting variety is best for baking because the raw flesh can sometimes be soft or mealy.
Every bit as sweet and firm as the name suggests, this juicy apple is great for raw uses but also holds its shape very well and develops complex flavor when baked.
This sweet juicy hybrid variety is descended from McIntosh apples. It's a good all-purpose apple, suitable for baking, sauces, or eating raw.
The candy-sweet, crisp Fuji is best for raw uses. In our recipe for Brie, Apple and Arugula Quesadillas, they offer a crisp counterpoint to the rich, creamy cheese.
Notes of fresh, tart cranberry and wine with a pleasant perfumy, floral scent.
Tart and crisp. Tastes of citrus and Champagne.
Best for juicing and baking. Sweet-tart flavor with hints of wine and spice.
A juicy jumbo-sized apple with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
If you're baking a whole apple, choose carefully. We baked nine varieties for one hour at 350° and found that the firm Granny Smith apple (the mess, right) collapsed and turned to complete mush. The Honeycrisp, however, retained its shape and had a pleasing, slightly firm texture and full apple flavor, faring the best of the nine varieties. Other varieties that kept their shape: Rome, Jonagold, and Spartan.