Apples 101: A guide to fall’s favorite fruit
Bite into a refreshing taste of autumn with these apple varieties.
It’s that time of year again – the time when fall brings the cool, crisp air, breathtaking color changes and a much-anticipated trip to the apple orchard. Whether you are itching to make grandma’s famous apple pie, homemade applesauce or simply munch on apple slices and peanut butter, it’s time to grab your boots, basket and get picking!
Did you know?
According to the U.S. Apple Association, the voice of the American apple industry, there are more than 100 varieties of apples commercially grown in the United States; however, only 15 popular apple varieties comprise 90 percent of production.
Apples: Get the nutrition facts
Not only are apples deliciously sweet and satisfyingly crunchy, but they also are nutritious and make for a perfect snack. Apples are a good source of fiber, providing nearly 20 percent of the Daily Value. Apples contain soluble fiber, a type of fiber that helps you feel full for longer, aids in digestive tract regulation and may protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Some of the most popular apple varieties mentioned by the U.S. Apple Association include, but are not limited to:
Braeburn: Crisp, juicy, spicy-sweet; possible cross between Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton; best use: all-purpose; availability: October – July.
Crispin (Mutsu): Sweet, very crisp; cross between Golden Delicious and Indu; best use: applesauce, baking, cooking, eating fresh, freezing, pies, salad; availability: September – October.
Empire: Crisp, juicy, sweet-tart; cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious; best use: all-purpose; availability: September – July.
Fuji: Crunchy, firm, sweet; cross between Ralls Janet and Red Delicious; best use: eating fresh; availability: August – July.
Gala: Crisp, juicy, very sweet; cross between Golden Delicious and Kidd’s Red Orange; best use: eating fresh; availability: August-July.
Golden Delicious: Mild, sweet (buttery, honey flavor); possible cross between Golden Rinette and Grimes Golden; best use: all-purpose; availability: August – July.
Granny Smith: Crunchy, very tart; possible descendant of French crabapples; best use: all-purpose; availability: August-July.
Honeycrisp: Crisp, juicy, sweet; cross between Honeygold and Macoun; best uses: applesauce; eating fresh; salads; availability: September – May.
Jonagold: Crisp; honey-tart; juicy; cross between Golden Delicious and Johnathon; best use: cooking, eating fresh; availability: October – July.
McIntosh: Juicy, tangy, tart; possible cross between Detroit Red and Fameuse; best uses: applesauce; eating fresh; availability: September – May.
Cripps Pink (Pink Lady): Cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams; best uses: applesauce, baking, eating fresh, pies, salad; availability: November – July.
Red Delicious: Crisp, juicy, sweet; unknown parent varieties; best uses: eating fresh, salad; availability: August – July.
Support your local apple growers
Interested in apple picking with your family or grabbing a bag of fresh apples before the fall season is over? Check out these orchards that still have apples available within 60 miles of downtown Nashville:
- Bottom View Farm – Portland, Tennessee. A variety of apples currently available for purchase and picking.
- Hurricane Hollow Orchard – Buffalo Valley, Tennessee. A variety of apples currently available for purchase (no pick-your-own)
- Morning Glory Orchard – Nolensville, Tennessee. A variety of apples currently available for purchase (no pick-your-own).
- Pratt’s Orchard – Lebanon, Tennessee. Hope to have apples available for purchase on or after Oct. 8 (no more pick-your-own this season).
- Shade Tree Farm & Orchard – Adams, Tennessee. A variety of apples currently available for purchase.
To find apple orchards in your local area, please visit:
For additional information on apples, please visit:
Lindsay MacNab, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and health nut. She was a dietetic intern at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.