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Top 5 Foods With Surprising Qualities: Apples Part II

Updated on January 30, 2010

Apple Varieties

Braeburn
Imported from all those upside down people (who talk so funny that even the Australians can't understand them) in Kiwiland... er... New Zealand, the Braeburn is a very juicy apple whose smooth texture distinguishes it from the others. It's sweet, crisp, aromatic and moderately acidic. It has tart flesh that's cream-colored.
Selection: The ideal Braeburn is medium to large, and oval-shaped. It has a yellowish-green undercolor shaded by broad red stripes. The Braeburn is best eaten fresh as a snack or in salads. When selecting a Braeburn, choose flesh that is very firm. Braeburns are available from October through July.

Empire
Developed in New York state, Empire apples combine the McIntosh's mild tartness with the full-flavored sweetness of Red Delicious apples. Empires have juicy, firm white flesh and are well suited for dessert baking and general cooking. They also make superb snacks just the way they are.
Selection: Empire apples are smaller, firmer and darker in color than the McIntosh. Look for apples with a deep red skin brushed with gold and green. The surface should be shiny and firm to the touch. The Empire apple has a longer shelf life than the McIntosh, so it's a great choice to take on the road. Begin to look for Empire apples from late September through spring.

Gala
A relatively new variety, the Gala originated in New Zealand. It's dense, crisp and sweet with a mildly aromatic taste. Your best bet is to use these apples for salads, snacks or sauce. You can also use them for baking.
Selection: For the ideal fruit, look for a red-orange apple with yellow stripes. Gala apples are distinctly heart-shaped. The flesh should be firm. Galas will begin turning up at roadside stands or in the produce section of your supermarket beginning as early as August, and are usually available until May if they're grown in North America, or April through June if they're coming in from New Zealand.

Macoun
The Macoun's flesh is white, juicy and crisp. Since these apples tend to be sweet and tart, they're excellent for baking, cooking and snacking. Macouns may be a bit pricier due to their high demand and short growing season, but they are well worth it!
Selection: The Macoun is a medium-to small-size apple. Its coloring is predominantly reddish purple over a green background with gold flecks. Look for firm, brightly colored aromatic apples. Since Macouns bruise easily, they don't ship well. If you live in an apple-growing area, it's best to buy them from local growers or at supermarkets that purchase produce from nearby orchards. Look for Macouns beginning in September.

Pink Lady
Hailing from Australia, the Pink Lady apple is crisp with a sweet tart taste. Pink Lady apples are great in fresh salads and pies. They tolerate refrigeration and freezing well. For a sweeter, less-tart Pink Lady, allow the apple to fully ripen.
Selection: Look for apples that have a pink blush over a yellow to green background. The flesh should be firm. Pink Lady apples come into season beginning in late September, and are usually available through July.

Continued In Top 5 Foods With Surprising Qualities: Mushrooms

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