Apple Aptitude: You Either Have It, Or You Don't


In the fall, there's a lot at stake when you visit the apple stall at your local farmers' market or the apple section in the produce department. You may think I'm joking, but I couldn't be more serious.

With so many different apple varieties, how do you know which one to get? Some are better for baking; others are best eaten right out of the hand. Choose the wrong one and you risk a mouthful of tartness or a ruined pie. There's no room for error: You've got to be on your A(pple) game, so to speak.

Test your apple prowess with this handy quiz on the differences between apple varieties.


For each of the following descriptions, choose one apple variety from the following list: Ida Red; Granny Smith; Gala; Honeycrisp; Empire; Golden Delicious; Red Delicious; Cortland. (Answers below.)

1. This apple variety is the classic eating apple. It has a sweet, crisp, mild flavor and bruises easily. Under no circumstance should it be used for baking.

2. This apple variety is sweet and tender and -- at least compared to other apples -- stays white longer when cut into slices. It's excellent for eating in salads and cooking, particularly in pies.

3. My favorite variety of all time, this apple is really sweet, really crisp, really juicy, and downright amazing. It's best eaten raw but also works well for cooking.

4. This tangy apple makes a beautiful pink-tinged applesauce.

5. This apple variety is best known for being very tart and sour -- almost too sour to eat, unless you like that kind of thing. It's a good all-around cooking apple and is best in pies, crisps, cobblers, etc. when paired with sweeter varieties.

6. This slightly tart apple variety is a cross between a McIntosh and Red Delicious. It's very versatile, has a long shelf life, and can be used for whatever purpose you desire.

7. This apple variety has a dull skin and when cut into retains its white color more than other apples. Juicy and tart, it's perfect for both eating and cooking.

8. This very popular apple variety is found in almost every grocery store. It has a sweet flavor and is best for eating and applesauce.

What's your favorite apple variety?


Image via Barb McMahon

1. Red Delicious; 2. Golden Delicious; 3. Honeycrisp; 4. Ida Red; 5. Granny Smith; 6. Empire; 7. Cortland; 8. Gala

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