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Cooking Vs. Baking: 8 Apple Varieties & What to Use Them For

Though you may have thought the only difference between apples was the color (green or red?), there is so much more to them! There are thousands of different apples in the world (though these days less than 50 are mass-grown), each with their own color, flavor profile, and uses. Here we’ve rounded up eight types of apples you’re likely to find for a quick and easy guide to common apples. So go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and pick out a few varieties for a quick taste test. If you’re lucky, they’ll be more options than just what’s on this list.

Cooking Apples

Golden Delicious

These light green or bright yellow apples are work horses in the kitchen. They have a thin skin and don’t store well (liable to bruising) but they are incredibly versatile in recipes: pies, salads, sauces, even freezing.

Jonagold

Jonagold apples are a hybrid of the ubiquitous Golden Delicious apple and the lesser common Jonathan apple. It’s red with hints of yellow and has a smooth skin and tart flavor. Use this for any recipe calling for apples.

Empire

This apple was developed in New York State in 1966 (hence the name) and it’s a cross between the McIntosh and Red Delicious. It’s almost perfectly round with a bright red skin and white flesh. It’s also firm, which makes it great for cooking.

Granny Smith  

You’ll likely find this apple in your pie. Granny Smith apples hail from Australia, they have a bright green skin and are quite tart. These apples are also quite crisp, making them ideal candidates for baking (they can take the heat). Also use them for savory dishes.

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