Soon I will go to visit my parents who own a large orchard. They live several hours away, so I don’t get there as often as I would like. They are picking apples now and making cider. Of course, I will load up my truck! This spring I planted 3 apple trees my father had grafted and gave to me, but they won’t be producing for a couple of years.
Right now the Gold and Red Delicious are just getting ripe. I like Gold Delicious for eating and cooking, but won’t touch a Red Ddelicious. One of my favorites, Honeycrisp, are already gone for the season. Jonagold are a good substitute. It will be a couple of months before my favorite apple, Pink Lady, is ripe. I guess I will have to make another trip.
Pink Lady along with Granny Smith and Arkansas Black are the best keepers. Pink Lady has the advantage of also being one of the best eating apples there is. They are very crisp and full of tart/sweet flavor. They were also the be best tasting dried apples that I dehydrated last year.
Arkansas Black are an extremely hard apple–I mean REALLY hard. We experimented with them and kept them in the refrigerator for several months.
Mutsu’s are a good, big apple. They didn’t work very well for drying because they are too big to use in my peeler/slicer. I also didn’t like McIntosh for drying. They were too soft and got mushed in the peeler/slicer. They turned browner than the Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, even using lemon juice on them.
Jonathan apples are a good, versatile apple. They are not large, but are good for eating or cooking. They tend toward tart, but not as tart as Granny Smith, another good cooking apple. Jonathan is the apple my mother has always used to make her really good apple sauce. They are my favorite for fried apples and pies. They hold their shape beautifully without breaking up and are tart enough to provide some great flavor. Jonathan apples are the ones we always used to make caramel apples when I was a kid. They are a perfect size for that–small enough that you don’t have a bunch of apple left after eating off all the nuts and caramel.
For those of you who prefer sweet apples, I recommend Gala, Fuji, and Gold and Red Delicious.
Here is a chart I created that describes most of the variety of apples that my parents grow.
NC Preppers Apple Varieties
|Sweet Eating Apples||Sweet/Tart Eating Apples||Cooking Apples|
|Gala (early Aug.) One of the sweetest eating apples. Good for people who don’t like any tartness. A favorite for children.||Ginger Gold (late July)
Crisp, green and may have a blush on the skin. Slightly tart, but good to eat. May also be used for cooking like Early Gold.
|Early Gold (early July)
Tart, crisp, green color. Good for applesauce and apple butter. If used for fried apples or pie, cook about ½ as long as you do later apples like Granny Smith so they hold shape.
|Golden Delicious (early Sept.)
One of the most popular eating apples but also good for cooking, particularly for people who don’t want to use added sugar. Holds its shape when cooked.
|Honey Crisp (mid August)
A newer variety that is quickly becoming a favorite. Exceptionally crisp, juicy, and sweet with a tasty bite of tartness. May be used for baking.
|20 ounce Pippin (late August)
Our largest apples! Tart, green and great for cooking or drying.
|Red Delicious (early Sept.)
A beautiful dark red apple that has crisp flesh. Sweet taste with fairly thick skin. Stores and keeps very well.
|Ozark Gold (mid August)
Another early variety similar to the Ginger Gold that is good to eat and use for cooking.
|Jonathan (late August)
One of our favorite cooking apples and also good to eat! Fairly tart, it holds its shape very well making it great for pies, canning, drying, and fried apples.
|Mutsu (mid Sept.)
A large, yellowish-green fruit that is juicy, crisp, and spicy-sweet. It is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Japanese Indo. Great for eating or cooking.
|Jonagold (early Sept.)
A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Ranks high in taste tests with a juicy, crisp texture that is sweet with a nice balance of tartness. Like its parents, holds it shape well when cooked.
|McIntosh (late August)
A favorite since it was discovered in 1811. Macs are sweet and juicy with a pleasant tanginess. The tender white flesh is good for cooking into pies or sauce. Some customers love them for making apple cake.
|Fuji (early Oct.)
Popular for its sweet flavor and crispy texture. A good choice for people who like Galas.
|King Lusk (late Sept.)
Similar to the Honey Crisp and Jonagold. It is crisp, juicy, and has a sweet/tart flavor.
|Rome Beauty (late Sept.)
A large, tender sweet apple great for baking.
|Braeburn (early Oct.)
A crisp, juicy apple with a sweet/tart flavor.
|Winesap (early Oct.)
A slightly tart, hard apple traditionally a favorite for cooking.
|Arkansas Black (mid Oct.)
Our hardest apple. It is a very dark red, almost black in color.
|Granny Smith (early Oct.)
A tart, green, hard apple. Holds its shape well when cooked making it a favorite for drying, pies, and canning.
|Pink Lady (late Oct.)
Quickly becoming a favorite. One of the last to ripen, it is juicy, crisp and flavorful. It keeps extremely well.