Apples: A Guide to Selection and Use

57576191Apples are a versatile and appealing fruit of widespread popularity. Many enjoy growing their own apples in backyard planting, while other prefer to purchase quality apples grown by professional fruit growers. Whether you plan to grow your own apples or purchase them from someone else, it is desirable to have information descriptive of the various types enjoying popularity today. Such information can be used to make important decisions concerning the type of trees to buy for planting or fruit to purchase for family use.

Ohio’s Leading Apple Varieties

The trend today is toward red apples, especially when the apples are grown for sale to others through commercial marketing channels. In cases where the apples are being grown primarily for home use, yellow apples such as yellow Transparent, Lodi and Grimes Golden may be used. Golden Delicious, the most popular yellow variety today, in not only well suited to the home fruit planting, but to commercial as well. The popular red varieties of apples at the present time in order of number of trees in the state are Red Delicious, Rome Beauty, Jonathan, Stayman and McIntosh. Red apples becoming increasingly popular as people try them and like them are the varieties Franklin and Melrose.

Franklin is a cross between McIntosh and Delicious and has a fine flavor and aroma. Harvest is normally during late September. Melrose is a cross between Jonathan and Delicious. The fruits are large with good flavor and texture. They ripen around the middle of October. Other newer apples growers may want to try are Ruby, Holiday and the various strains of Red Delicious. Also worth trying are Tydeman’s Red, Paula Red, Prima, Priscilla, Surprize (yellow) and Empire. At present, there is a trend to plant trees on dwarfing rootstock, both in commercial orchards and in backyard planting. By planting small trees, the home gardener can get several trees of different cultivars (varieties) in the same space that one or two large trees would require.

Most of the popular varieties, including those mentioned above, are now available on dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstocks. Dwarf trees, normally do not get much over 10 to 12 feet tall at maturity, while semi-dwarf trees may grow to be 15 to 18 feet tall. Dwarf trees begin to bear earlier than the larger, standard trees. Dwarfing does not affect fruit size or quality.

Apples for Specific Use

Apples are a favorite fruit of many people for eating out of hand or in fresh salads. The fruit of many apple varieties are also excellent for making a wide variety of cooked products. Apples best suited to particular uses are indicated below.

Fresh

  • McIntosh
  • Cortland
  • Jonathan
  • Red Delicious
  • Golden Delicious
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Melrose
  • Franklin
  • Prima

Applesauce

  • Golden Delicious
  • Melrose
  • Yellow Transparent
  • McIntosh
  • Cortland
  • Jonathan
  • Grimes Golden
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Rome Beauty
  • Lodi

Pies

  • Cortland
  • Jonathan
  • Grimes Golden
  • Melrose
  • Rome Beauty
  • Yellow Transparent
  • McIntosh
  • Golden Delicious
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Lodi

Baking

  • Jonathan
  • Golden Delicious
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Rome Beauty
  • McIntosh
  • Cortland
  • Grimes Golden
  • Melrose
  • Stayman Winesap

Freezing for Slicing

  • Jonathan
  • Golden Delicious
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Red Delicious
  • Grimes Golden
  • McIntosh

Freezing for Sauce

  • Yellow Transparent
  • Wealthy
  • Cortland
  • McIntosh

Freezing for Baking

  • Baldwin
  • Northern Spy

Cider

The best cider is usually made from a blend of different varieties of apples. Varieties are grouped into four groups according to their suitability as cider material.

Sweet Subacid*

  • Rome Beauty
  • Delicious
  • Grimes Golden
  • Cortland

Astringent (Crab apples)

  • Florence Hibernal
  • Red Siberian
  • Transcendent
  • Martha

Aromatic

  • Red Delicious
  • Golden Delicious
  • McIntosh

Mildly Acid to Slightly Tart

  • Stayman Winesap
  • Jonathan

General Use

  • Jonathan
  • Golden Delicious
  • Stayman Winesap
  • Melrose

* Usually furnish the highest percentage of total stock used for cider.

Written by Richard Funt, Professor Emeritus, Horticulture and Crop Science, College or Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Originally prepared by James D. Utzinger, Extension Horticulture, The Ohio State University.

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