October is National Apple Month, and orchards around the country are teeming with apple fans who know that the fruit is ripe for the pickin'. But the question remains: Which varieties do you pick for what?
Before you go load up your produce bags, here's a quick rundown on some of the most common apple varieties.
Braeburn: A popular commercial apple, Braeburns have a crisp, spicy-sweet flavor. They originated in New Zealand, and they're typically available October through July. Their best month -- November.
Fuji: As the name suggests, these apples came from Japan. They're often large in size with a mild, sweet flavor and great for cooking since they have a thick skin that holds its shape without becoming too mushy. In the U.S., these apples are harvested in October.
Honeycrisp: This apple has exceptionally crisp and juicy flesh with just a hint of tartness that makes it great for eating fresh out of hand. You can also use it for baking -- it makes a nice flavorful apple pie.
Gala: This variety was discovered in Canada and is considered one of the best apples to eat raw. The flesh is firm and crisp with a sweet vanilla-like flavor.
Golden Delicious: These apples are typically medium to large with a pale flesh that's prone to bruising. They're harvested in September and are the second most grown variety. Golden Delicious are perfect for making salads and applesauce since they don't brown easily.
Granny Smith: For many, this is their go-to baking apple. This variety is crisp and tart and its flavor holds up well in recipes with spicy notes, plus the flesh is firm enough to retain its shape when cooked.
Jazz: These apples are a cross between Gala and Braeburn. Developed in Australia, this type is excellent for preparing applesauce, but less popular for eating raw.
Red Delicious: Originating in Peru, Iowa, this is the most widely grown variety in the U.S. The Red Delicious appears appealing with its dark red skin, but its flavor tends to be bland. These apples are harvested in September and October and are popular for salads.
Jonathan: Jonathan apples have a rich, almost creamy texture and a particularly tart, spicy flavor. If you prefer a tart apple this is an excellent choice for eating raw since Jonathans are so juicy. They also bake well.