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A Guide to Fall Apples

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More apples are grown in Washington than any other state, so it’s no surprise that we are overflowing with fresh local apples throughout fall. Picking the perfect apple can be overwhelming with so many options, with new varieties coming almost weekly. Use this guide to help you choose your new favorite, and learn which apple is best for what.

Ambrosia

Discovered by chance in the 1990s, this apple has been carefully cultivated by a single producer until very recently. Its moderate crispness, mild tartness, and honeyed floral flavors make this one a staff favorite.

Best uses: truly all-purpose, great for eating out of hand, slow oxidation makes it ideal for slices in a lunch or on a salad, it holds its shape well for baking, and presses nicely into a honeyed floral juice.

Cosmic Crisp

Originally bred as a long lasting and late season Honeycrisp, Cosmic Crisps have only been available commercially since 2019, and are only grown in the state of Washington. Crispy, with well balanced sweet and tart flavors.

Best uses: Best eaten out of hand, but bakes well too.

Fuji

The Fuji, named for its hometown of Fujisaki, Japan, is world famous for its sweetness. A lovely light rose or a rich crimson, Fujis always have a pretty pink flush. Ultra sweet, flavor forward, refreshingly juicy.

Best uses: not a standout in any specific arena, but its versatility makes it a welcome addition to snacks, salads, pies, ciders, and whatever else you’ve got planned.

Gala

Galas are a popular choice, and can be found anywhere. Holds mildly sweet flavors with hints of vanilla. For a mellow, easy-eating apple, you’re in the right spot.

Best uses: great for dipping, as part of a snack spread, tossed with salad. Better fresh than baked

Granny Smith

The quintessential tart apple. Beyond the iconic light-green skin of this apple awaits a lemon-like acidity with just enough sweetness to satisfy. Discovered by none other than Granny Smith on her farm in Australia.

Best uses: all-purpose, when you want an extra tart apple flavor. Bakes exceptionally well in pies, and is what we use for our caramel apple pies

Honeycrisp

Crisp and famously sweet—the name really says it all. This popular, versatile apple can satisfy most anyone. The best Honeycrisp apples are yellow with a red blush covering the whole fruit. Look for them earlier in the season.

Best uses: Best eaten out of hand or pressed into juice or cider

Pink Lady

Notably pink in color, this apple’s acidity and sugar give it an initially tart flavor, which develops nicely into a sweet and floral finish. The acidity also provides a refreshingly bright “fizzy” sensation on the palate, leaving a lingering floral aftertaste.

Best uses: Popularly eaten out of hand, for its effervescence, but also holds its shape exceptionally well when baking. Also great in savory recipes

Tsugaru

This apple is named for its origin, Tsugaru, a farming community in northern Japan. They have a firm skin and ultra-sweet flavor.

Best uses: best eaten out of hand or sliced, to showcase its sweet flavors

Heirloom Varities

Looking for more apples to try? The Co-op also stocks a wide array of heirloom apples from OPMA, a small farmers co-op in Okanogan County. Many of these varieties have been around for over a century, and have been carefully cultivated to last long into the future.

Ida Red

A recent study found that the Ida Red packs more antioxidants than nearly any other variety out there! Originally cultivated in Idaho in the 1930s, the Ida Red is both sweetly tart and juicy, great for eating out of hand. Or cook it down with the skin on to make a stunning pink applesauce.

King David

Small to medium sized, King Davids are an old cultivar, discovered in the late 1800s. Their flavor is sweet and tart, with notes of wine. Cook down to really bring out the wine flavors.

Spartan

Spartans were developed in the 1930s in British Columbia as a premiere cooking apple. They hold their shape well under heat and add nuanced flavors to both sweet and savory dishes.

Wagener

One of the oldest varieties you’ll find, the Wagener was first grown in 1791 in New York, and was one of the most popular of its time. Very crisp and sweet-tart. Generally eaten out of hand or cooked into applesauce.