Braeburns, Fujis, Galas, oh my! Whether they're drizzled in caramel sauce or baked into a pie, apples are an undeniable temptation. And with thousands of varieties grown around the world, there's one -- or two or three -- out there for every recipe. Not sure which to choose? Check out this primer on which varieties best suit your favorite homemade pie, sauce, and salad recipes for a guaranteed flavor burst.
Apple Pies. Choose crisp apples that won't get mushy after being in the oven for an hour. Tart varieties are key since sugar and cinnamon are big components of most recipes. Granny Smiths are most common, but mixing tart and sweet varieties makes for the best flavor. Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gravenstein, Cameo, Pippin and Pink Lady apples are all great options.
Caramel Apples. Almost any apple works for these sweet treats, and Granny Smith is once again a favorite choice since the tart flavor balances the sugary topping. For kids who find the grannies too puckery try Pink Lady, Jonagold, Cameo, Fuji or Honeycrisp apples.
Applesauce. Opt for soft varieties that will cook fast like Gala, Ambrosia, McIntosh, Macoun, Golden Delicious, Jonathon or Cortland.
Salads. Kick up the flavor of any salad with some ripe apple slices. Toss in a variety that won't go brown right away, like Fuji, Goldrush or Liberty. If you're using a sweet dressing, use a tart apple like a Granny Smith, Braeburn or Pink Lady. Or chop up a sweet Fuji, Gala, Crispin or Jonagold if your dressing is savory.
Baked Apples. By far the easiest apple recipe is the baked apple. Just core the apple and add cinnamon, sugar and a pat of butter, and stick it in the oven. You can also stuff the apple with nuts, raisins or oats. Just use a variety that will hold its shape when cooked, such as Rome Beauty, Jonathan, Jonagold or Empire.
Juicing Apples. Homemade apple juice tastes great and is way more nutritious than any store-bought brand. Apples that produce the most juice and flavor are Red Delicious, Empire, Winesap, Golden Russet, Gala, Pink Lady, Jonagold and Cripin.
Cakes and Muffins. Once again, use firm apples that are somewhat tart when baking cakes, scones and muffins. Whether they're sliced, chopped or diced, you can't go wrong if you use Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Rome Beauty or Fuji apples.
Bobbing for Apples. Throw a bunch of apples in a galvanized tub, fill it with water and keep the kids happy for hours. Just make sure you use buoyant, soft, thin-skinned apples or no one will be able to grab them will their teeth. Gala, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Jonagold apples work best. Don't trim the stems, they give kids something to bite!