apple [ap–uhl] noun
Malus domestica, from the rose family Rosaceae. The apple is one of the world’s most widely cultivated fruits. There are over 7,500 cultivars known at this time, the bulk being grown in China. Common supermarket varieties of apples include Red Delicious (not recommended by the test kitchen for flavor, texture or looks), Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Granny Smith, Gala and Braeburn.
Rome Beauty is often recommended for baking, as it holds its shape and is visually attractive, but our experts have found this variety mealy and tasteless. With better access to farmer’s markets, orchards and growers these days, it pays to become familiar with local varieties. Ask growers for recommendations depending on your usage – eating out-of-hand, baking, pie, sauce, etc. The apple that is best raw is not necessarily the best for sauce. Some varieties store very well, which is great for the seller, but not necessarily the end user. If you are buying apples in North America or Europe, know what apples are coming from where, depending on the season. In the fall, look for apples from North America, Austria, China, England, France, Italy and the Netherlands. In the spring, look for apples from Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa.