Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Apple Picking

posted in Fruits by Kathy Maister

There are a gazillion different varieties of apples. When traveling overseas, I am often at a loss choosing apples as the varieties available in Europe and Australia are often very different from those sold here in the States.

Apples like Granny Smiths and Braeburns are usually available worldwide, but many other varieties are only available locally.

Different kinds of apples vary in taste and texture, which determine what they are used for. Apples are basically divided into three categories:

  1. Eating
  2. Cooking
  3. Cooking and / or Eating

Many stores have signs telling you how best to use the apples.

If you are unsure which ones to buy ask the Produce Person for help.

When cooking things like apple pie or apple crisp (video) the apples should end up being tender and soft to the bite, but still retain their shape. If you choose to cook with apples that are described just as *eating* apples, the recipe probably won’t come out that great. The apples may turn to a watery mush.

Apples used for cooking versus apples that you eat for a snack, vary considerably in how sweet or tart they are.

Granny Smiths are too tart for me to eat but I love cooking with them. Braeburns are both tart and sweet and crisp and are great for eating and cooking.

Cooking apples, like Bramley, Newton Wonder, and Grenadier (English varieties) are very sour and basically used just for cooking.

Tips for Working with Apples

  • Buy apples that are smooth and free of bruises.
  • If you are adding apples to fruit salad be sure to coat them with lemon or orange juice to prevent them from turning brown.
  • Apples will last longer if you store them in the refrigerator rather then leaving them on the counter top.
  • Put an apple in a paper bag with an avocado to help ripen the avocado.
  • A vegetable peeler works really well for peeling an apple.

How to Core an Apple

(In my Apple Crisp Video I demonstrate all the various ways one can core an apple.)

There are many ways to core an apple. You could slice around the core with a large knife.

Or you could use a melon baler to scoop out the core.

Or you could use an official apple corer. This odd looking utensil gets pushed down into the apple. (Be sure to leave the apple on the cutting board or you might end up coring the palm of your hand!)

Then you just pull out the core.

While people have preferences for different kinds, everybody loves apples!

Cheers!

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4 Comments

Shaula Evans said:

I grew up in the Okanagan Valley surrounded by apple orchards, and we are BIG apple crisp fans in my household. In fact, apple crisp was also one of the first recipes we learned in high school Home Ec class, too.

Tina Coupland said:

My husband has always bought the simple pre-picked “bag of apples” they have at the store, but they always seem tastless and dry.

I once heard that if you pick apples that are “heavy” they tend to be sweeter… Is this true for eating and cooking apples?

Thank you!

startcooking said:

Shaula, I think we agree that one can never tire of Apple Crisp!

Tina, perhaps you need to try a few different varieties than the one “in the bag”!

Joe said:

Very nice blog! thanks for the recipe!