Apple Varieties

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Apple list – Antique apples – Ripening schedule – Keeping apples fresh – Reference materials on apples

A Cornucopia of Apples 
This section will discuss the many varieties of popular apples, antique apples and in particular which ones are best for making apple pies.Apple Varieties
While most of us are generally familiar with apples we can find in the grocery store, this is just the tip of the apple barrel. There are literally hundreds of apple varieties, many of which can only be found in selected orchards. However, with a little research or talking with an orchard manager you can probably find some new variety that will tantalize your taste buds. Visit the links page for more information on sources of apples.
Antique apples
Among the many unfamiliar apple varieties are those known as antique apples, primarily because their origins are in the past (sometimes centuries) and for reasons of “commercial selectivity” have gone out of favor. We believe that many of these antique apples are among the best for pie making. On this site we have created a separate section on antique apples, their historical importance and where you can find them today.
Keeping Apples Fresh
Apples look great, displayed in a pretty bowl or basket on your table. But don’t leave them there for long if you want them to stay fresh. It’s not rocket science, but you need to keep apples refrigerated, the colder the better BUT do not freeze apples! If you are buying eating or baking apples from the supermarket, be picky. Take the ones that have been closer to the cooling elements so that they are crisp.How do the pros do it?
You might wonder how you can get a pretty good apple at your grocery store in the middle of winter. Do they come from New Zealand? Well, yes some do. Many apples are imported into the US. But commercial growers all over the US store their apples in what is known as a controlled atmosphere environment (called CA), where the culprit of ripening, oxygen, is taken out of the equation. Huge sealed refrigeration rooms are flooded with nitrogen and the temperature brought down to about 33 degrees F. The apples will be kept in this state until they are ready to be shipped or processed. In years gone by, people in the colder climates (such as New England) would store apples in crates under the ice of a river, stream or pond. The effect was the same as CA, keeping the oxygen out and the temperature just above freezing. 
Apple List
Coming soon, a complete table of baking apples. For starters though, the following can be found fairly easily:Cortland – nice flavor, sometimes a bit jucy
Rome Beauty – keeps well and is excellent when mixed with other fruit such as pears, strawberries, or cranberries.
Braeburn – fairly common in stores now, good taste
Empire – larger ones are preferred but you can usually get the smaller bagged Empire apples for less money.
Pink Lady – these are usually for hand eating and are pricy, but they work well in a pie.
Granny Smith – the green apple. Occasionally these can be a bit hard, but they are a staple for pie making.Some of the antique apples are truly excellent for pies, such as Spitzenberg, Winesap, Russets and others. We strongly recommend staying away from Golden or Red Delicious or Macintosh. Macs are good for eating when fresh, and wonderful for cider, but break down in the baking process.

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