Cooking With Apples

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Fall is, hands down, the BEST season of all.  Not too hot, not too cold.  The trees are beautiful.  And most importantly…there are tons of apple and pumpkins and recipes to use them in.   I definitely love my pumpkins (especially carving them), but even more I’m loving Fall apples.  Especially honeycrisp apples.  They’re the best apple on the planet… in my opinion.  Each year I get so excited for the Fall apple season to come!  Dario and I go pick apples at local farms and scoop up bushels at our farmer’s market too!

apples2 Last night I got so excited for the giant honey crisp apples that are  sitting in our fruit bowl!  All day long, I was thinking about how delicious they’d be baked up with some brown sugar, nuts, dried fruit and a touch of butter.  SO yummy.  Love baked apples!  But my happy thoughts were torched as I remembered my baked apples from last year…didn’t go so well.  For me or the apples.  I loaded them up with goodies, baked them off and then was rewarded with wrinkly apple skins filled with mush…they didn’t even stay in the shape of an apple.  It was like apple sauce.  Which is delicious, but totally not what I was going for.

Ugh.  What I needed to do, was some hardcore apple research.  I wasn’t wasting any honey crisp if it was going to turn out like last years baked apple disaster.  No way.  Not worth it.  I needed to know what type of apples were good for baking and cooking purposes.  Here’s what I found out:

Best Baking

Worst Baking Apples:

Great for Apple Sauce:

  1. Golden Delicious
  1. Red Delicious
  1. Empire
  1. Granny Smith
  1. McIntosh
  1. Gala
  1. Honey Crisp
  1. Pink Lady
  1. Honey Crisp
  1. Jonathan
  1. Fuji
  1. Fuji
  1. Gala
  1. McIntosh
  1. Cortland
  1. Rome Beauty

So now I got down the types of apples to use for a variety of different cooking methods.  Whew.  I can stuff my honey crisps and bake them up without disaster.  Well…at least theoretically speaking.  In addition  to my nice little chart up there, I picked up some really great apple cooking tips.  Which are definitely coming into play soon…with baked apples and possibly a cinnamon apple compote!  Yes…those sound awesome.  You’ll have to come back to the blog to check them out!

Apple Cooking Tips:

  • Choose the apple best suited for your needs.  Making a pie?  Check out the best baking apples.  Interested in making home made apple sauce?  Choose a variety like empire or gala apples.
  • Consider the flavor.  Every apple has a unique flavor, from tart to super sweet to light with more floral notes.  Depending on what you’re making or the flavor you want, choose the apple that best suits that dish.  For example, you want a nice sweet baked apple without having to add a lot of sugar.  Choose something like honey crisp or golden delicious as these apples are naturally super sweet.  Granny smith apples on the other hand are more tart and acidic and require more sugar to sweeten them up!
  • Peel the very tops of apples when baking and stuffing them.  This helps prevent the skin from splitting open while it’s baking!
  • Prevent your apples from browning by gently tossing slices in acidulous water – some cold water mixed with lemon juice or commercially made products.  This will keep your apples looking beautiful until cooked!

You tell me!  What is your favorite type of apple?  Do you have any good apple recipes to share?  What’s your favorite apple dessert?

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