Apples came to North America when European settlers brought apple trees with them and planted them in their new homeland. These trees cross pollinated with native crab apple trees which created some unique varieties for North America. Now there are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.
Apples are very nutritious. They are high in soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels. They contain flavinoids, which reduce the risk of cancer; and they are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.
So what’s our best apple? You will get a different answer depending on who you ask! It’s really a personal preference. Apples have a wide variety of flavor. Not sure if you like sweet or tart, soft or hard, yellow or red? No problem, we’d be happy to supply you with a sample. Need some help choosing? See our “common questions” below or simply ask one of us at the stand. We’d be more than happy to help you!
What’s Karen’s favorite apple? It’s a tie between Gala, Jonagold, and Fuji. What’s Dan’s favorite apple? Any kind that Karen cooks into apple crisp!
Types of Apples Grown at Mt Airy Orchards
- Ambrosia – Crisp and juicy with a sweet flavor. All-purpose apple good for snacking, baking and sauce. Harvested in late September.
- Cameo – Medium to large size. Crisp, creamy white flesh. Tangy flavor that gets better while in storage. Good for snacking, salads, baking and sauce. Harvested mid October.
- Cortland – Red, very large, pure white flesh. Flesh stays white longer than many other apples. Mildly tart. Good for snacking, salads, baking and sauce. Typically harvested in late September.
- Crimson Crisp – Mostly sweet flavor with a blend of tart. Great snacking apple. Harvested in mid-late September.
- Daybreak Fuji – An early variety of Fuji. Crisp and Sweet, very firm. Good for snacking, salads, baking and sauce. Harvested mid September.
- Empire – Juicy and crisp with a blend of sweet and tart flavor. Good for fresh eating and cooking. Also good for candy and caramel apples. A cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious. Longer storage life than McIntosh. Good for snacking, salads, and sauce. Harvested in Late September to October.
- Evercrisp – A juicy, crisp multi-purpose apple; hybrid of Fuji and Honey Crisp. Harvested in October.
- Fuji – One of our absolute favorites! Big, Crisp, and sweet. Very firm. Juice slightly subacid. Outstanding texture. Stores extremely well – and gets sweeter as it stores. Good for snacking, salads, baking and sauce. Harvested in late October.
- Gala – Very pretty, medium sized apple. One of our most popular. Fine textured with a mildly sweet flavor. Excellent for fresh eating. First picking around Labor Day.
- Ginger Gold – Sweet, spicy taste with a light texture and a pleasant crunch. Good for fresh eating and apple sauce. Keeps up to 6 months in storage. First picking in mid August.
- Gold Rush– Similar to Golden Delicious. Mildly sweet and crisp. Good for fresh eating, baking, and apple sauce. Picked in mid October.
- Golden Delicious – Fine textured, sweet, and juicy with a mild flavor and thin skin. The most popular yellow apple. Good for fresh eating, baking, sauce, and dried apples. This apple is a great choice for any use. Harvested in early October.
- Granny Smith – Green tart apple. Harvested in early November. Storage life similar to Fuji. Used for baking.
- Honeycrisp – Sweet, crisp, juicy apple. Extremely popular. Cross of Macoun and Honeygold. A new apple, first introduced in 1991 at the University of Minnesota. Good for snacking, salads or sauce. Harvested in September.
- Jonagold – Highest sugar of any apple with perfect balance of acidity makes this a delicious choice. Juicy, crisp, and often very large. Brings great flavor to many dishes. Cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious. Harvested in mid-September to late October. Good for snacking, pies and sauce.
- Jonathan – Pretty apple, good for snacking, salads, and cooking. Somewhat tart. Good blending quality for apple cider. Makes a pink applesauce. Harvested mid September.
- Jonamac – Cross of Jonathan and McIntosh. Medium in size. Firm, crisp.
- Lodi – Early apple, tender, juicy. Available mid July.
- McIntosh – Slightly tart and juicy white flesh. Good for fresh eating, salads, and sauce. Slices loose shape when baked. Harvested mid September.
- Mutsu – Also known as Crispin. Good eating apple, sweet and juicy, firm texture. Good for cider and sauce. Large apple. Harvested in October.
- Nittany – Developed by Penn Sate. It is similar to York Apples. Stores well. Best for snacking and baking. Harvested in early October.
- Pink Lady – Crisp with a sweet-tart flavor. Beautiful pink blush skin. Stores well. Harvested in late October/Early November.
- Red Delicious – Most purchased apple variety in the U.S. Coarse textured, firm, and sweet. Not recommended for baking. Good for fresh eating, salads, and dried apples. One of the best keeping apples. Harvested in late September – October.
- Rosalee – a cross between Honeycrisp and Fuji. Sweet & crisp. Harvested in early October.
- Ruby McIntosh – Sweet/Tart blended flavor. Bright white flesh. Harvested in early September.
- Ruby Rush – Juicy & crisp. Sweet with a little tart edge. Harvested in early October.
- Stayman – Also known as Stayman-Winesap. Firm apple, juicy, rich flavor. Mildly tart. Good for cider, baking or sauce. Harvested mid October.
- Summer Rambo – Exceptionally juicy. Crisp. Mostly used for cooking. Greenish-Red Apple. Harvested in August.
- Summerset – Crisp & tangy. A cross between Honycrisp and Fuji. Harvested in mid-September.
- Yellow Transparent – Early yellow apple. Early July. Tender, juicy. Excellent flavor for sauce. Does not store well. Available mid July.
- York – Crisp, firm, and tart. Good for snacking and cooking. Harvested in mid-October.
- Zestar! – Crisp, blend of sweet and tart flavors, similar to honey crisp, excellent for fresh eating and cooking. Available early to mid August.
Common Apple Questions:
- I want to make applesauce. How many apples should I buy?
A half bushel will make 8-10 quarts of applesauce.
- I’ve never made applesauce. Is it hard to do?
Not at all. Wash the apples, chunk the apples, and put them in a large stock pot. Add a couple of inches of water and cook on med-high , stirring frequently, until you have the desired consistency. We use a “Tomato Sauce Maker and Food Strainer” to remove the skins, stems, and seeds. If you do not have one, you can purchase one at the stand or remove the skins, stems, and seeds before you cook the apples. If you prefer an exact recipe, we have one in our Recipe section!
- What apples should I use to make my applesauce?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions and it is really a matter of personal taste. Any apple can be cooked down – some are not recommended because they take a much longer time to cook. The most popular varieties used are Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Summer Rambo, Jonagold, Jonathan (makes a pink sauce), McIntosh, and Yellow Transparent. A number of people like to mix the varieties.
- Do I need to add sugar to my applesauce?
No. Especially if you start with a sweet apple. We often use Ginger Gold or Golden Delicious and no sugar is needed. But if you prefer a tarter apple, you will most likely want to add sugar.
- How long can apples be stored?
Store your apples in your refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag or container to prevent them from drying out. You can add a couple of tablespoons of water to help the humidity stay high. Most apples kept this way will be good until Christmas. Summer apples, such as Lodi, Transparent, and Summer Rambo, are not good keepers. Some apples are excellent keepers, such as Fuji or Red Delicious, and will last much longer than Christmas. We have successfully kept Fuji until late July by keeping them in a regular refrigerator. A general rule of thumb is the later the variety, the longer amount of time it will keep.
- What kind of apple do you recommend for pies?
This is another frequently asked question about apples and one that I hesitate to answer because we all have very different personal tastes. Are you looking for a hard or soft apple? Sweet or Tart? Our family tends to go with hard and sweet, making Fuji one of our favorites, but we also love soft and sweet Golden Delicious and Jonagold in pies as well. Many bakers prefer a tarter apple to balance out the flavor of the pie, such as Cortland, Granny Smith, Mutsu, Rome, and Stayman…. So… Experiment and find your personal favorite!
- Can Cider be frozen?
Yes, up to a year. Be sure to remove 1-2 cups from each gallon before freezing.
- Is there any truth to the saying “all it takes is one bad apple?”
Yes, there is. When an apple is damaged, it emits ethylene gas, which will cause the other apples to ripen too fast.