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Sweet Apple Varieties

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Apples are an easy-to-grow fruit that come in three colors: red, yellow and green. Sweet apples tend to have less acid in them than their tangier relative; therefore, these fruits are used commonly for snacking. Over 7,500 varieties of apples exist worldwide. The United States produces 100 of these varieties commercially in 36 states; Washington State is the top harvester of apples for American. Most top-selling apples are of the sweet varieties.

Red Delicious

The Red Delicious first appeared in the U.S. in Peru, Iowa, in 1874. Since then, it has become an American favorite. The Red Delicious apple is the top-selling apple in America, according to the Washington Apple Association. It is a heart-shaped, deep red apple with a firm, moisture-enriched skin. The fresh crispy sweet inside is an off-white color. This apple is used for snacking, sauces or for baking cobblers and pies. Red delicious apples are harvested in September and October.


In 1811 John McIntosh planted the first McIntosh apple seedlings. These apples are native to New York; although, they can be grown in most cool northern states. The McIntosh is a sweet apple that has a slightly acerbic tang. The tender syrupy inside of the fruit is very moist and the skin is an off red with some green coloring mixed in. Best used for baking and sauces; they are harvested in September and available until June. McIntosh apples are a popular choice in the market nationwide.


In 1962, the Japanese Fuji apple entered the commercial market for sale. It is a cross between the Red Delicious apple and Ralls Janet apple. Fuji apples didn't hit the U.S. until the 1980s. This fruit is a larger apple that has a distinctive fresh, highly sugary taste. This type of apple is used mainly in salads and baking. Harvest time for the Fuji apple is in October.

Golden Delicious

In 1914, the Golden Delicious apple was discovered in Clay County, West Virginia. Golden Delicious apples are a multi-purpose fruit; they are used in baking, sauces, snaking and salads. The appleā€™s inside tends to stay extra fresh and takes longer to become discolored than most other varieties of sweet apples. The skin is a golden color and has a mild honeyed taste. This apple is typically harvested in early fall.


In 1965, the Gala apple from New Zealand entered the U.S. market. These apples have a heart shape and a lighter red color that is tinged with pink and orange banding. Gala apples have a cloying aroma and a crisp slightly sour flesh inside. These apples are used in making sauces and baking. Starting in late summer and ending in early fall, the gala apple is harvested for nationwide markets.

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