The real beauty of apples, is that they possess a wide variety of flavours that can provide as many subtle nuances as the grapes used in creating the best wines. New Zealand is known for its wine industry and apples are just as iconic with many home grown varieties for which we can be very proud.
All apples have a balance between tart and sweet, but with varying degrees. The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavours as well as flesh that doesn't break down in the oven. We always recommend using a few varieties in your baking and cooking, it makes for a more flavourful and complex taste and texture profile.
Now choosing the “best” apple is a bit more complicated, as besides individual preferences for tart or sweetness, there are over 7,500 known varieties from which to select. Some are better for eating and enjoying raw in fruit salad, cheese platters or lunchboxes, some are best for baking, some for creating smooth and sumptuous applesauce, and still others are most popular for making flavourful cider. So do you know your apples?
Here are some of the best tasting more popular apples along with their various flavour profiles and what they are best used for (i.e. eating fresh, making apple sauce, pies, baking , etc):
Granny Smith; Grannys are known for their distinctive green skin, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavour. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack but are also perfect for adding more depth of flavour and will not break down when baked or cooked.
Red Delicious; This sweet, crispy, juicy apple varies in colour from striped red to solid midnight red. This apple is best eaten fresh or in salads.
Golden Delicious; Goldens have a pale yellow skin, sometimes with a red blush. Mellow and sweet, all-purpose Goldens are great for eating, baking and salads. Their crisp, pale yellow flesh resists browning, making them a good choice for salads and other dishes.
Gala; This crispy, juicy, very sweet apple is ideal for snacking and best enjoyed fresh. Galas can vary in colour, from cream to red- and yellow-striped.
Braeburn; Braeburn apples are the predecessor of Fuji and Gala apples. Richly tart with hints of sweetness, very crisp and juicy and are best for eating fresh, making fruit salads but will also give beneficial flavour and texture when baking pies. They are equally excellent for juicing and drying.
Fuji; They are sweet off the tree and become sweeter and richer in storage. Very popular apples to eat fresh as they store well for longer periods of time. We do not recommend using these apples for baking, as their softer texture does not hold its shape but does make it suitable for a smooth apple-sauce.
Ballarat; A blast from the past! A traditional cooking apple with an intense flavour and light, fluffy texture when cooked – perfect for cooking with pork, stewing or baking in your next pie, crumble, donuts or shortcake.
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