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Are you trying to choose the right variety of apple for your needs? There are many to choose from. There are heirloom varieties that have been around for hundreds of years and apple growers are constantly creating new varieties to meet consumer tastes and 2016 is no exception. Scroll down this page for a table of dozens of apple varieties includingphotos and their characteristics and best uses. This page has tips about harvesting and storing apples. And if you bring home some apples and want to make applesauce, apple butter, apple juice, apple pie, apple cobbler, apple crisp, even apple cider, just click the links for each to follow directions and recipes or see this page see this page for a master list of simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, such as this list of local regional and apple festivals - click on the resources dropdown above.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know!  

What's in season in June 2016, and other timely information:

Notes for June 2016: Strawberries have a very brief season; and they start in early April in the South, May in most of the US, and early June in the North - don't miss them! And blueberries and blackberries are ready NOW in most areas; tomatoes and corn will be starting soon: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Cold weather crops, like spinach, some lettuces, peas, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks and early onions being harvested in all but the coldest regions. Many farms and markets still have fresh winter squash, stored from last Autumn.

You may noticed the new appearance to the website! Simpler, cleaner and mobile-friendly! I'm rolling it out, page by page over the next 2 months. Everything is still here; you can access it from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me!

Apple varieties - which apple to pick and why; sorted by typical ripeneing date!

2016 looks to have apples ripening on their normal schedule. There have been few late frosts in the main apple growing regions, rain and temperatures have been good, so the year is shaping up well for a good apple crop. It's too early for prices, but I expect most areas to see $14 to $30 a bushel, depending on variety! Scroll down the page to see the chart, or click here for a PDF print version. And for an explanation of why apple slices turn brown and how to stop it, see this page!  To see how to properly store apples for the winter, see this page!

Varieties which are exceptional for a trait are noted in the chart below (Best, very good, etc.). Varieties which are at least good and well-suited have an "X" in a column.  A blank box simply means that they are average for the quality. Ultimately, it is personal preference and cultural traditions. that often determines which varieties of apples are used for which purpose. That said, sweeter and softer apples make the best applesauce (like Gala), harder, drier apples are often used for baking and storing (like Rome and Arkansas Black), and tarter, more crisp and juicier apples are often eaten fresh (like Honeycrisp).

If you would like to print a clean PDF version of this table, click here.

Apple Varieties Guide - Which Apple to Pick and Why!

(Sorted by typical ripening date - see this page for sorted alphabetically on variety name)

Name Ripening Date
Dates are approximate and vary CONSIDERABLY with weather, location and more!
Eating fresh Cooking Apple Sauce Apple Pie Apple Juice Apple
Butter
Storage
Gala appleGala mid August to
early September
Very
good
X BEST X X X Must refrigerate; even then only keeps for a few weeks
Lodi Mid July  X    GOOD        Must Refrigerate
 
Mollies_delicious appleMollies Delicious
August
  X           Must Refrigerate
Jersey Mac apple Jersey Mac August X  X          OK 
Earligold apple Earligold
August X  X   X   X        Must Refrigerate
Akane August    X           
Pau;a Red applePaulaRed mid August to
early September
X X X X   X  
SweeTango appleSweeTango  mid August to
early September
X   X X   X  
McIntosh September X   good   X X  
Ginger Gold   September               
Honeycrisp September Very
good
X  good, but watery X BEST X  
Jonathon_appleJonathan mid to late
September
X X Very
good
X X X  
golden_delicious_appleGolden Delicious mid to late
September
X X Very
good
X X X  Should Refrigerate 
Ultra Gold mid to late
September
X X X X X X  
cortland_appleCortland mid to late
September
X   X X X X  
Jonalicious mid to late
September
X X Very
good
X X X  Must Refrigerate 
ambrosia appleAmbrosia  mid to late
September
X X good X X X  Should Refrigerate 
red_delicious_appleRed Delicious mid to late
September
X   good     X  
Jonagold_appleJonagold mid to late
September 
X   Very
good
  X    
Jubilee Late September
to early October
X X X X      
Mutsu, also called Crispin   Late September to
early October
X X Very
good
X   X  
keepsake appleKeepsake Late September to
early October
X X   X      
Northern Spy appleNorthern Spy Late September to
early October
X X         Very good for storing
Shizuka appleShizuka Late September to
early October
X X X X X X  
Braeburn   early to
Mid October 
X X X X       
Cameo early to
Mid October 
Very
good
X Very
good
X    X  
Rome early to
Mid October
  X   X      
Sundance appleSundance early to
Mid October
X X     X X  
Blushing Golden early to
Mid October
X X   X X X  
stayman_apple Stayman                  
Enterprise appleEnterprise early to
Mid October
X X          
melrose_appleMelrose early to
Mid October
X X Very
good
X X X  

StaymanStayman Winesap

mid to late
October

X X good   X    
grannysmith_appleGranny Smith mid to late
October
X X     X    
Macoun mid to late
October
X X          
Liberty appleLiberty mid to late
October
X X          
Pink Lady mid to late
October
X X good X X X  
Jazz appleJazz  early to
Mid October
X X Very
good
X X X  
Suncrisp mid to late
October
X X   X X X  
Yates appleYates mid to late
October
X X   X X   Stores very well
fuji_appleFuji mid to late
October
Very
good
X BEST X   X Great keeper; stores well in garage or basement
Black Twig apple Black Twig   mid to late
October 
X X X X X X  
Arkansas Black mid to late
October
  Baking too hard       Great keeper
 

Of course, each region of the country and each season varies. Variations in rainfall and temperature greatly affect the usual ripening date. So call ahead!


Alphabetical List of American Apple Varieties and Characteristics 

Click here for a PDF print version of the following list. And for the following list on a page by itself, click here.

 

ambrosia appleAmbrosia

  • Sweet, crisp, aromatic flavour reminiscent of pear and low acidity.
  • Mostly red colouration, with yellow patches.
  • Flesh is cream-coloured, firm meat
  • Medium to large in size
  • Developed in British Columbia in the early 1990s.
  • Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious.
  • Ripens mid to late season

Ashmead Kernal appleAshmead Kernal

  • A small heirloom apple, covered with a thick russet, often found in Virginia, originated in England around 1700 and was brought to the United States much later.
  • Very sweet and acidic
  • Ripens from late September into October

Arkansas Black

  • A medium to large apple
  • dark purple to almost black
  • Very, very hard texture and an excellent keeper.
  • Almost too hard-textured at harvest. Best after some storage time.
  • Great for baking; and terrible for applesauce
  • A Winesap type.
  • Late season

Baldwin

  • good quality large red apple
  • An old variety, subject to cold injury in the winter
  • late mid-season
  • medium sweet

Blushing Golden

  • Medium-sized waxy coated modern yellow apple with a pink blush
  • Jonathan/Golden Delicious cross.
  • Firm flesh with flavor like Golden Delicious, but tarter.
  • Keeps well
  • Late season

Brae Burn

  • Rich red color with white flesh
  • Sweet
  • Best for eating
  • Late season
Cameo
  • A large, round sub-acid apple with red blush stripe over yellow.
  • Late ripening

Cortland

  • A Ben Davis/McIntosh cross
  • large flat, dull red apple with a purple hue and soft, white flesh
  • Less aromatic than McIntosh
  • Good keeper.
  • Very good in salads.
  • Mid season

Cox's Orange Pippin

  • Popular in English markets. 
  • Medium sized, golden yellow skin, with brownish orange
  • often russeted. 
  • Flesh tender, crisp, semi-tart
  • early

Crispin/Mutsu *

  • Light green to yellowish white
  • Sweet, rich, full flavor
  • Firm, dense texture
  • Best for: eating fresh
  • Mid - late season

Empire*

  • A McIntosh type apple
  • Long shelf life
  • Aromatic and crisp with creamy white juicy flesh.
  • Best for: eating fresh
  • Early - Mid season

Enterprise appleEnterprise

  • Large, red apple
  • Disease resistant
  • Ripens 3 weeks after red delicious
  • Stores well, flavor improves in storage

Fuji.Fuji 

  • Very sweet, aromatic flavor
  • Yellow-green with red highlights 
  • Originated in Japan.
  • Best for: eating, salads, best applesauce apple
  • Late season

Gala.Gala 

  • Developed in New Zealand.  
  • Sweet, aromatic flavor
  • Best for: eating, salad, best applesauce apple
  • medium to smaller in size with a distinctive red and yellow striped heart-shaped appearance. 
  • Early to mid season

Ginger Gold.Ginger Gold 

  • Very slow to turn brown, so it's a great choice for apple slices.
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad

Golden Delicious.Golden Delicious

  • Firm white flesh which retains its shape
  • Rich mild flavor when baked or cooked. 
  • Tender skin
  • Stays white longer when cut; 
  • Best for: salads, blend in applesauce
  • Early season

Grimes Golden

  • Firm white flesh which retains its shape
  • Rich mild flavor when baked or cooked. 
  • Tender skin, with a "grimy mottled surface"; (but there IS also Mr. Thomas Grimes, who developed the variety, see Wikipedia)
  • Stays white longer when cut; 
  • Best for: salads, blend in applesauce
  • Early season
Granny Smith.
Granny Smith
  • Very tart
  • Bright green appearance, crisp bite and tart apple flavor. 
  • Best for: people who like tart apples rather than sweet ones :-)
  • Mid to late season
  • Not good for applesauce unless you add sugar (or like a very tart applesauce)

Gravenstein appleGravenstein

  • Greenish-yellow with a lumpy appearance
  • A good, all-purpose apple,
  • Good for applesauce and pies.

Hokuto

  • A Mutsu/Fuji cross
  • crisp texture of Fuji,
  • large size and shape of Mutsu,
  • sweet flavors
  • late mid-season

Honeycrisp

  • Introduced in Minnesota
  • Very sweet and aromatic
  • Great for juice, as it is a very juicy apple
  • Best for: Eating, pies, baking  
  • Mid season

Jazz appleJazz

  • Cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn, developed in Australia
  • Very sweet, more flavor than Gala
  • Vewry good fresh eating and applesauce, apple butter
  • A "Club" variety, meaning licensed with limited commercial growing, first appeared on the shelves in 2004.
  • late ripening

 

Jonathan.
Jonathan
  • One of the first red apples of the falll
  • Sweet-tart taste with firm texturee
  • Light red stripes over yellow or deep redd
  • Best for: eating and cooking  
  • Early seasonn

JonaliciousJonalicious

  • Flavor like Jonathan but a little less tart and darker red skin. 
  • Larger, crisper, and juicier than Jonathan, and a better keeper.
  • Slightly sour/acid balance.
  • early midseason

Jonamac

  • A medium-sized Jonathan/McIntosh cross
  • Sour flavored, aromatic and tender fleshed like McIntosh.
  • Early season, a few days prior to McIntosh.
  • Poor keeper.

Jonagold *

  • A cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious.
  • Best for: eating, sauce, pies, salad, baking  
  • Mid season

Jubilee

  • Best for: eating, sauce, pies, salad
  • Mid season

keepsake appleKeepsake

  • Best for: baking, sauces or eating raw.
  • Small apple with a red outer skin and a cream colored fine textured flesh.
  • very sweet flavor with a high sugar content

Liberty appleLiberty

  • A highly disease-resistant introduction from Geneva New York. 
  • Liberty has superior dessert quality, similar to one of its parents, Macoun
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad
  • flavor improves in storage
  • late season

Macoun

  • Named after a famous fruit grower in Canada
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad
  • Very good, sweet, all-around apple

McIntosh *

  • Popular in America since 1811
  • Best for: eating, sauce, salad, good as part of a blend for applesauce
  • Sweet, mild flavor

Melrose

  • The official apple of Ohio
  • Similar to a Jonathan but sweeter.
  • Good for pies: the slices hold together in pies
  • Keeps well

Mutsu

  • Lousy name, but a great apple
  • It is sweet and crisp
  • A lot like a Golden Delicious
  • Best for eating fresh and it makes a great applesauce

Northern Spy appleNorthern Spy

  • Large, high quality fruit
  • Good for storage 
  • Mid-late season

PaulaRed

  • A tart apple with light to creamy flesh.
  • Good for eating, in pies and sauces.

Pink Lady

  • Rich red/pink color with white flesh
  • Very sweet and crisp
  • Best for eating and makes a naturally sweet, smooth applesauce and it is good in salads and pies.
  • A cross between a Golden Delicious and a Lady William. 
  • Late season

Red Delicious.Red Delicious  

  • WAS the most popular apple variety in the world! for December ades (now being replaced by Fuji and Gala)
  • Best for: eating, salad, very good  as a base apple for applesauce
  • Thin bright red skin with a mildly flavored fine-grained white flesh. 
  • Bruises easily and does not keep well.
  • Early to mid season
  • There are many, many varieties of red delicious, so there is a range of properties.  Not all red delicious are the same!


Rome

  • Best for:  baking and cooking - but not applesauce - not sweet enough, and it has a fairly bland flavor
  • Very smooth red apple with a slightly juicy flesh. 
  • Very hard flesh
  • Mid to late season

Shizuka appleShizuka

  • A sister to Mutsu developed in Japan, with milder flavor.
  • Mid season.

Spartan appleSpartan

  • A cross between the McIntosh and Pippin apples. 
  • Good all-purpose apple.
  • medium size and has a bright red blush, but can have background patches of greens and yellows.

 

Stayman
Stayman or Stayman-Winesap

  • Juicy, cream-colored to yellowish flesh with a tart wine-like flavor. (often also called winesap)
  • Good storing apple, bruise resistant, dull red coat. 
  • Best for: Cooking, pies and cider

Suncrisp

  • A hard tart, long keeping apple.
  • Red over orange color; Golden Delicious-type
  • Ripens late in the season
  • Best for: Baking, storing

Sundance appleSundance

  • Sweet, tart yellow apple with reddish highlights
  • Late season
  • Good for eating frssh, applesauce

SweeTango appleSweeTango

  • Similar to Honeycrisp
  • Ripens mid August - September
  • Developed at University of Minnesota
  • Tightly licensed

Winesap.
Winesapp

  • Rich red color with white flesh
  • Crisp texture and juicy
  • Best for cooking

Yates appleYates

  • Mid to late season
  •  
  • Rich red color with white flesh
  • Sweet
  • Best for eating
  • Late season
  • Small


York.
YorkYork

  • Crisp and flavorful
  • "lop-sided" shape
  • Deep red with green streaks
  • Best for eating. holds texture during cooking and freezing

Images from the U.S. Apple Association (mostly)!


English Apple Varieties

These links take you to photos on GardenAction.co.uk

 

More about apple varieties can be found:

University of Illinois Apple page

More Apple Varieties

Apple Photos
Over 100 photos of apple varieties

Apple photos and brief descriptions

Credits:

photos:
Jonamac, Macoun, PaulaRed: Courtesy of New York Apple Association, © New York Apple Association

And if you are looking for shipping containers for apples and other fruit, see this page.

 

Ball home canning kit water bath canner

Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
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Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

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