For apple pies, apple butters and apple tarts, baking apples far outstrip eating apples. A good baking apple holds its shape when baked, where eating apples disintegrate. The cooking process rounds out the flavor in a baking apple with a blend of sweet and tart notes. Select baking apple trees or versatile trees with fruit good for both baking and eating fresh.
This heirloom apple has bright red skin and sweet flesh. These apples have a mild flavor and are not very tart. Rome Beauty apples get more complex when they are baked or cooked; apple slices retain their shape when they are cooked and do not get mushy. These apples are native to the United States and have been grown since 1816.
Mutsu, also known as Crispin, developed in Japan in the 1930s and has Golden Delicious as one of its parents. These apples have bright green skin and yellow flesh. They have a crisp texture and sweet flavor and work well for baking and cooking as well as eating fresh.
Jonagold was created in the 1940s as a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan apples and it features firm flesh and a sweet and sour flavor. These apples have yellowy skin with red streaks and crisp white flesh. These apples hold up well for cooking and also taste great when eaten fresh.
Cortland apples developed as a cross between Ben Davis and McIntosh in 1915; they are grown throughout the United States, with large plantings in New York. These apples have green and red dappled skin. Cortland apples have a sweet and slightly acidic flavor and firm flesh and are better baked than eaten fresh. They hold their shape well when baked.