Fall is in the air. Time to pick the apples. What does one do with all those apples? Apple pie, cobblers, cakes, tarts, applesauce, apple crisp, baked apples, caramel apples. There are alot of posibilities; not to mention eating apples fresh from the tree.
I have fond memories of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. The campground there is sourounded by apple orchards. The deer come down into the orchards and graze.There are at least 5 years that I remember going there with my family during a fall break. You could pick all the apples to eat while you were there, and any you wanted to take home were sold at a minimal price. Those memories are very pleasant.
Some apples are good for cooking and some are better for eating, but how does one tell the difference?
There are some lists and guides out there that are helpful. I have included a link to one below
link to a list of apple varieties and uses
What if you don't know what kind of apple it is? Take Grandma's orchard for instance. We do not know the names of any of those apples growing there. One of the best tips I have heard. Look at the base of the apple. A dimpled bottom is more suited for eating fresh. A smooth bottom apple is one that is better suited for cooking.
Take the picture above. The red one on the left has a dimpled bottom. It would be better for eating. The one on the right seems to have a smoother bottom. It would be better suited for baking. The taste will also tell you alot about the the fruit. Eating apples will tend to be sweeter and have a light juicy texture. Cooking apples will be more tart with a heavier more dense texture that holds up better in cooking.
There is no real harm in using an eating apple to cook with; just as there is no real harm in eating a cooking apple. So what is the big deal? There can be some texture differences, for example; if an eating apple is used, apple pie may turn into an applesauce pie. (Still very yummy). A baked apple is another example. For a nice presentation you want an apple that will hold its shape,and look like a baked apple and not a baked apple mess.
All this apple talk has made me want to go out and pick a fresh apple from our tree.