A Guide to Choosing the Best Apple for Preserving

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Fall is in the air! Shorter days, cool, crisp mornings and APPLES. Local orchards are bustling with folks wanting the freshest, sweetest (or tartest) apples to snack on, cook with and preserve. From homemade applesauce, to apple butter to dried apple chips, apples are one of the most versatile fruits for preserving. There are thousands of apple varieties around the world and over 100 varieties grown in the United States. Each apple variety has its own unique flavor, texture, color and cooking properties. Knowing the best apple to choose is key to preserving a quality product. Here is a guide for choosing the best apple.

-Applesauce – Select apples that are sweet, juicy and crisp such as Golden Delicious, Pink Lady,Gala, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia. For a tart flavor, add 1 to 2 pounds of tart apples, such asGranny Smith, McIntosh, Jonagold or Winesap to each 3 lbs of sweeter fruit.

-Apple Jelly – Choose really sweet varieties such as Fuji, Gala or Ambrosia.

-Apple Jam – The best apples for jam will encompass a variety of flavors. Try mixing sweet and tart varieties such as Pink Lady and Granny Smith.

-Apple Butter – Because the cooking process is slow, select apples with a softer flesh such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn and McIntosh.

-Apples for Freezing – Select sweet varieties that are hardy with a strong texture such as Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Empire.

-Apples for Dehydrating – Choose sweet, firm texture such as Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp. If you prefer less sweetness, choose Granny Smith, Cameo or Winesap.

Of course, this is only a guide. It is perfectly fine to mix and match apples of different flavors and textures. It’s all about personal choice and what your taste buds prefer! Regardless, there are an abundance of apple varieties grown right in here in N.C.! Visit a local orchard today to pick your favorites.