The Kitchen Think: Fall Into Apples


Bailey, Baldwin, Beacon, Cortland… sounds like roll call at an east coast prep school.

Every autumn I’m amazed at the varieties of apples I find at the farmer’s market. It’s like falling through the looking glass. The packaging is basically the same…round, red, green, yellow, or some combination thereof… but the taste is mind-blowingly different.

Grocery stores used to carry two, perhaps three types of apples: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and McIntosh. Sometimes Jonathan or Granny Smith would work their way into the crowd at certain times of year. Now, and especially in the fall, it’s like you’ve stepped into an orchard: Honeycrisp, Empire, Fuji, Macoun, Gala and Winesap… just to name a few.

There are thousands of apple varieties (more than 7,500 worldwide to be exact), from sugary-sweet to lip-puckering tart. Here is a mini-primer on a few you might not be familiar with, but may run across in the markets in the coming weeks.

Remember, all apples are created equal—delicious at their peak—but that doesn’t mean they can all be used equally. Different apples are good for different things!

(Many thanks to the folks at Boyer Nurseries and Orchards, Inc. in Biglerville, Pa. for the fantastic images of the individual apples!)

Arkansas Black

Arkansas Black is deep red, almost black. It tastes tart and crunchy. Great for eating.

Baldwin Apple

Baldwin has a yellow based skin, flushed with orange and striped red. Taste crisp, fresh and sweet. Great for eating, cooking and juice.

Cortland Apples

Cortland is mostly red with some yellow blush. These are crunchy apples with pale, snow white flesh… perfect for eating, cooking or juice.


Enterprise apples are cardinal red with a saffron yellow under color. They have a tough skin and the flavor is juicy, rich and spicy. They make great Candy Apples!

Lady Sweet

Lady Sweet apples are small, with a thin, smooth greenish yellow skin splashed with red blush. Tender, crisp, sweet and very aromatic, they are great for eating and cooking.

Mutsu (aka Crispin)

Mutsu apples had a name change a few years back to “Crispin.” These apples are initially green, but turn yellow as they ripen. Firm, crisp and juicy with a sweet flavor, these are perfect “eating” apples.

SweeTango… I love the name and I love the taste. These are deep red over a yellow background. Crunchy, juicy, sweet and balanced with just a hint of acid. Great for eating.

Twenty Ouncer

Twenty Ouncer is a huge apple with a green base overlaid with broad red stripes. Tender and sweet, these are great for baking and juice.

So… how do you like them apples? (I know, I know. But I just had to say it.)






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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: