Even the most ardent apple-a-day believer would need more than 20 years to sample all of the world’s apple varieties. More than 7,500 types of apples grow around the globe, according to the Best Apples.com website. Breaking down those choices according to their most common uses simplifies things considerably. Classifications rate an apple's eating, baking, pie, sauce, salad and freezing qualities. Some versatile apple varieties earn high marks in several categories.
Scoring excellent ratings across the board in the U.S. Apple Association's Apple Guide, Golden Delicious apples first came to market in West Virginia during the early 20th century. These apples have crisp, white flesh that holds its color exceptionally well in salads. Named for its sweet flavor and golden yellow skin, Golden Delicious is always commercially available.
Also getting excellent ratings on all Apple Guide counts is Granny Smith, an Australian apple dating to 1868. Legend has it that the fruit is a descendant of grandmother Anna Maria Smith’s crabapples. Like Golden Delicious, this apple finds its way into lunch bags, pies and applesauce at any time of year. A chartreuse green skin protects white flesh that stays crisp over a long shelf life. Granny Smith has a refreshingly tart taste.
Cameo is a Washington State apple that's not available in September. First marketed in 1987, it’s a crunchy, sweet fruit with distinctive, golden-pink red-marbled skin. Its creamy white flesh remains crisp over a long period, notes Allaboutapples.com. While Cameo doesn’t freeze as successfully as Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, it matches their excellence in all other categories.
Red Delicious is America's best-selling snacking and salad apple variety, according to Bestapples.com. The apple is native to Iowa and arrived on the market in 1874. Always available, it's very crunchy but not overly sweet. Red Delicious, however, gets low marks as a sauce, pie, baking or freezing apple.
Rated good as a cooking apple and excellent in all other respects, Honeycrisp is a light green and red fruit from the University of Minnesota. It was bred to handle the short growing season and cool summers of the northern United States, and has a long shelf life. Pleasantly sweet and tart, Honeycrisp’s flesh is juicy and crunchy, states Bestapples.com.
An Australian apple introduced in 1985, tangy, sweet Cripps Pink is an excellent snacking, pie, salad and sauce apple. It's rated good for freezing and baking. A late October harvest means that the fruit isn't available during September and October. Because it remains on trees for a long while, this apple develops the rosy pink color for which it is named, according to Bestapples.com.