New Varieties of Apples

Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith... these apple varieties are old standbys, but as new apple varietals and old heirlooms get more popular, you'll find yourself wanting to explore. Learn more about some of these other varieties — what they're like and how to use them.

Newer apple hybrids: A lot of the newer apple hybrid varieties being developed are mostly right for eating out of hand—they're crisp and juicy, sweet and a bit tart. Look for these on grocery shelves and markets near you:

  • SnapDragon and RubyFrost are two varieties developed by Cornell University and released to market last year, in farmers markets across New York. You should be seeing them at the grocery store in 2015. SnapDragon is a spicy-sweet, crisp apple that’s related to the Honeycrisp. It keeps well and is best for eating out of hand. Try it paired with a sharp, salty cheddar cheese. RubyFrost is a juicy apple with red skin, whose sweet-tart quality makes it reminiscent of Empire or Granny Smith — two apples that do particularly well in cooking. Try it in an apple chutney.
  • SweeTango was developed at the University of Minnesota, and became widely available at stores around the country last year. It’s a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar and combines the crunch and sweetness of both.
  • Jazz is a hard, crisp apple with a pear-drop flavor. It’s related to Braeburn and Gala apples. This variety is best eaten fresh, and it keeps well.

Heirloom apple varieties: There are hundreds of heirloom apple varieties—ones with a long history in the US and around the world. Some varieties have been lost, but many are being cultivated by smaller growers. Look for them in farmer's markets and stores that sell local produce. Here are a few to find:

  • Cox’s Orange Pippin: Creamy flesh and blushing orange skin. Good for eating fresh or juicing. Add to a beet-carrot-ginger juice!
  • Rhode Island Greening: This is one of the oldest American varieties of apples and has been grown since the 1650s! Its tart flavor makes it best for cooking. Use it as you would Granny Smith apples.
  • Baldwin: The Baldwin apple was very popular in colonial America. It’s a good choice for cooking, juicing, or eating fresh.
  • Roxbury Russet: This is the oldest known variety grown in North America. It is a keeper apple, whose flavor and texture changes from the early season (when it's assertively tart) to early winter (when it mellows into a sweeter, softer-fleshed apple).
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