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What are the Best Apples for Eating, Baking and Sauce?
For us, fall means apple picking and last weekend we picked three bushels. Some might say we are crazy and after processing them all week long, I might agree - for the moment anyway. But we just love apples, so it doesn't seem like too much. Because I have apples on the brain I thought it would help people if they knew which apples were good for what. There are thousands of varieties of apples, but fortunately we don't have that many to choose from at the grocery store. Whatever your tastes may prefer, there is an apple you will like.
I spent much of the week making applesauce. We picked three types of apples (McIntosh, Jonathon and Spartan) and I have definitely found that having more than one type of apple in your sauce really enhances the flavor. You can make applesauce with just about any type of apple, but some are better than others. McIntosh and Golden Delicious are the best as they make such a smooth sauce. I like to use these as a base for my sauce and add other varieties in small amounts to give it a zing. Braeburn and Empire apples are good for sauce as well.
I laugh when I remember the time I made a huge pot of applesauce out of nothing but Granny Smith apples. It was so tart we could hardly eat it. But add a few to the pot of McIntosh and it gives it a great flavor. Ida Red apples make a very pretty sauce, if you cook the apples with their skins on. The applesauce I ended up with this week was a golden yellow color. The Ida Red apples would give it a pink color.
While McIntosh is great for sauce, it tends to turn to complete mush when used in baking. Golden Delicious on the other hand is a great apple for anything and has a nice sweet flavor. I have found that most apples work well for baking (except Red Delicious and McIntosh), so it is really up to you as to what flavor you want. I prefer tart apples and I like to bake with Cortland, Jonathon, Spartan and Braeburn. Granny Smiths are good if paired with something else, but too tart for me alone. Whatever you choose, you want the apples to hold their shape when cooking. When I make muffins or cobbler I like a tarter apple and try to use just one kind. If I am making a pie I like to use at least two different varieties. I will also use apples in cooking and honestly I just use whatever kind I have on hand at the time. There are just so many apples to choose from and when I buy them from the grocery store, I am usually just buying them to eat out of hand.
The best eating apples we have tried are Granny Smith, Braeburn and Honeycrisps (fairly new to the market and quite expensive compared to other apples). Many people love Red Delicious.
The way I figure it is you can't go wrong with apples. They are delicious and nutritious. Apples are high in fiber and low in calories - exactly what you want in a food. I am sure you have heard the expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and I have to agree with it. It is also good in stopping nausea, so we always keep them on hand. With four kids the stomach flu is never far away and eating a whole apple (peel and all) will keep the contents of your stomach right where they should be. Apples have been around for thousands of years and hopefully they will be around for thousands more, because to me they seem like the all around perfect food.