Apple season is here and so is learning more about various varieties of apples available here in Virginia. You have to think of apples as a wine where there are good years and there are great years. Every apple variety will have a different taste, texture and juiciness. Also, remember that the flavor of any single variety may vary from season to season. Mother Nature has a big say as to what each year has to offer. For instance, this year, due to the summer weather we’ve experienced, the apples are maturing around two weeks earlier than normal. Here are descriptions of 15 apple varieties. The first 5 are yellow fruit color while the last ten are red fruit color.
- Caville Blane fruit are the perfect choice for tart aux pommes. Its spicy aeromatic flavor makes it one of the world’s top culinary apples.
- Ginger Gold was discovered as a chance seedling growing near a Golden Delicious orchard in Virginia in the 1960s. The color, shape and distinctive long stalk all identify it as a relative of Golden Delicious, yet it has a much earlier season – ripening in mid/late August. Unusual for an early apple, but again reflecting a Golden Delicious parentage, it is a good keeper and will last several weeks in the fridge. The flavor is fairly mild, and a bit sharper than Golden Delicious but still sweet for an early variety.
- Goldrush is a modern disease-resistant apple variety related to Golden Delicious, with crisp hard flesh and a good sugar/acid balance.
- Pristine apples are picked in July. They are a sweet yellow apple with a glossy skin and are good keepers for early apples.
- Shizuka is a sister apple to Mutsu (Crispin) but with a sweeter flavor.
- Arkansas Black is a long-keeping apple from Arkansas that goes almost entirely black during storage.
- Cameo are a firm crisp sweet and aromatic apple.
- Crimson Crisp are medium sized apples with a sweet/tart taste and a very crisp texture. It stores very well.
- Crimson Gold apples are a medium in size apple with a sweet tart flavor. Stores very well.
- Day Break Fuji is an early ripening sport of Fuji. Matures six to eight weeks before conventional Fuji and has the same taste.
- Gala is one of the most widely-grown apple varieties, with a sweet pleasant flavor and good keeping qualities.
- Spitzenburg is one of the great American apple varieties, thought to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite. Noted for its spicy flavor, and for its susceptibility to any and every disease that affect apples.
- Stayman is an old American dual-purpose apple variety and is popular in Virginia. Descended from Winesap and in most respects an even better apple.
- Winesap, often known as Virginia Winesap, a tart small apple, and like many US heirloom varieties, keeps well in storage. It can be eaten fresh but is primarily a culinary apple, also popular for juice/cider production.
- WineCrisp apples are medium to large apples with a deep purple-red color. The flesh is very firm and juicy. Sweet, tart and spicy flavor.
Keep your fork