Pennsylvania orchards boast nearly 100 different apples varieties. With so many delicious options it’s easy to find one pleasing to the palate. Often, apples are simply described as green apple varieties or red apple varieties. But, there are many golden yellow and bi-color apples too. Most importantly, what makes an apple unique is much more complex than its exterior skin.
Each apple variety has a number of unique characteristics that define it. An apple’s flavor, crispness, juiciness, flesh texture, skin thickness and acidity set it apart from other varieties.
Some apple varieties like the Stayman have thicker outer skins. If a thinner-skinned variety is your preference, the McIntosh fits the bill. But it’s not just the skin that determines the bite and crunch of an apple. The inner flesh of each apple variety varies as well. Some varieties have very firm, clean breaking flesh that is less juicy while others have creamy, super juicy inner flesh. Even the inner color of an apple varies among varieties. A bite into a Cortland reveals a crispy, bright white flesh. Bite into a Cameo and you’ll discover a dense, creamy yellow interior.
Of course, one of the most distinguishing characteristics of an apple is its flavor profile, which is far more complex than sweet or tart. From the sweetest Fuji to the mouth-puckering Granny Smith, there is a favorite apple variety for everyone. Some apples are sweet with only hints of tartness, like the Cameo, which has notes of honey and citrus. A Pink Lady has a crunchy, tangy bite that is effervescent. The ever-popular Honeycrisp is becoming more in-demand because of its delicate balance of sweet and tart and complimented by its soft honey flavor. A Jonagold starts with a rich sweetness and finishes with a faint, but refreshing tartness.
An apple varieties identity doesn’t end with its physical description. Certain apple varieties are better suited for different uses. With the just the right amount of sweetness, Ginger Gold and Golden Delicious apples are favorites among bakers. Honeycrisp and Fuji are excellent options for no-sugar added applesauce, while the McIntosh boils into a sauce with a beautiful blush color. Red Delicious delivers when it comes to fresh snacking.
So, whether you enjoy the sweetest apples varieties like the Gala with its vanilla-like flavor or prefer the fizzy finish of a Pink Lady, you’re bound to find a Pennsylvania apple variety—or varieties–that you love. With so many options, we encourage you to venture out of your varietal comfort zone and try different Pennsylvania apples. Get started by learning more by with our apple varieties list.
Embarking on a tasting journey is a great excuse to pick up some ‘new to you’ apple varieties at your local farm market or grocer!