Apple flavor is a matter of individual taste, but sweeter is definitely a draw. There are 100 varieties of apples commercially grown in the United States today, with sizes ranging from those small as cherries to others as large as grapefruits.
Apples are a member of the rose family. According to the New York State Apple Grower's Association, the sweetest varieties are Honeycrisp, Fuji and Macoun. Apples that are sweet but mildly tart as well include Acey Mac, Crispin, Braeburn, Cameo and Gala. Varieties not on this list are best used for baking and cider production.
The fruit's age when picked and the length of time it is stored help determine how sweet an apple is. During ripening, the starch in apples converts to sugar, which intensifies sweetness.
The sweetness of an apple is also determined by the ratio of sugars to malic acid; ideally, an apple should contain 13.5 percent soluble sugar to acid, according to the Washington State University Post Harvest Newsletter.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Michigan State University created a device to measure the "taste" of fruit, including sugar. The device uses prototype laser beams to diffuse light photons through the fruit. A computer measures how much light is absorbed by the apples to determine sweetness.
The red delicious apple is considered the quintessential apple for its deep color and form; however, it is not particularly sweet in flavor. Apple growers consider the lesser-known varieties listed above to be a sweeter tasting "eating" apples.
- The University of California at Santa Cruz: Consumer Guide on Apples
- The New York State Apple Growers Association: Apple Varieties Explained
- Washington State University: Apple Industry Newsletter
- Knouse Foods: Apple History and Recipes
sweetest apples, varieties of apple, sugar content of apples
About this Author
Maureen Green was the primary news anchor for WTVH-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. In her 27-year career her reporting assignments took her across the country and overseas to write about subjects of interest to her Upstate New York audience.