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Best Apples For Cider

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Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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General | Latest Info

Welcome to Cider Cultures column about DIY cider making. Our intrepid Cider reporter, Samantha, will share her tips, thoughts, frustrations, victories and insights into the DIY magic it takes to turn Apples into a mind-bending beverage. Check out her first, second and third installments to catch up on topics discussed so far. Yes, it may be the name of the best party game, but can you actually compare Apples to Apples? In yet another example of the magical power of Apples, when it comes to flavor, no two varieties of apples are quite alike! The flavor profile of each apple is broad; specific varieties are enhanced with their own unique characteristics. All Apples have some kind of balance between tart and sweet, but varying degrees of each property, including texture and flavor notes, play a part in differentiating styles. Some apples are best for eating raw; some have flavors that can take your apple pie to the next level. Most apples can be used in creating flavorful hard cider, but there are a few specific varieties that work best as Cider Apples. Galas, Gravensteins, Newtown Pippins, Rome Beauties and Winesaps are a few common varieties that can add amazing nuances and depth to hard cider. Though you wont often find more than a few standard apple types in regular grocery store, some specialty markets have expanded their selection. This also offers great reason to go apple picking at a local orchard, check out your neighborhood farmers market or to get to know local farmer who may be willing to sell you heirloom apples in bulk. Are you trying to choose the proper apple for your cider making or holiday baking? It doesnt have to be difficult! Take a look at our apple style chart:

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Putting It All Together

If you want straight-up good ol, classic Apple Pie, then this is one that mom used to make! Of all our Apple pies, this Caramel Apple Crumb Pie is the winner! The Cinnamon-spice oat topping is wonderful. And caramel sauce adds that special taste of fall! Our homemade Cinnamon Applesauce can be eaten straight from the jar or paired with grilled pork chops or potato pancakes. Making homemade Applesauce is a favorite fall tradition of ours. Heres how to make applesauce-and how to can it for year-round deliciousness. Learn how to grow Apple trees in your garden! Apple Cider Vinegar Drink recipe Apple Health Benefits and Uses


The Best Apples for Baking

Below is a list of the best apples for baking and cooking. Note that some familiar Apple varieties may be missing because they are best eaten fresh. If you have Apple varieties in your region that arent list here, please comment below and let us know what you prefer to use! Best Apples for Pies and Crisps The list of best apple varieties for pie and baked dessert, which has some good geographical diversity in it: Best Apples for Applesauce Below is a list of apples which are best for sauces and fresh preparation. Softer apples tend to work best for sauces as well as baking dishes that cook quickly, like muffins. Use firmer apples for dishes that cook 45 minutes or more. Best Apples for Apple Butter Soft Apples work best for Apple Butter because they cook faster. Use any mix of apples.


New England Cider Pie

Combine the flour, butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and egg yolk. Process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes or longer. Roll dough out on lightly flour surface into 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold in overhanging dough to form a high-rising border. Flute edges. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To make filling: Put cider in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the cider reduces to 1 / 2 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add sugar, water and butter to cider and return pan to high heat. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat and cook until the mixture reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to medium, heatproof mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk yolks into cooled cider mixture. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white until just firm. Fold them into the cider mixture in three additions. Spoon filling into prepared pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, and the filling has puffed and set and has become dark brown on top, about 25 minutes more. If the filling and crust are browning too quickly, cover the pie with a buttered sheet of foil. Cool to room temperature. To serve, place creme fraiche in a serving bowl, and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons cream to lighten slightly. Dust pie with confectioner sugar. Garnish with creme fraiche.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

A Note On Apple Diversity

Table

NameBest UsesFlavor Characteristics, Appearance
Firm-Tart
Arkansas BlackPieA favorite of many Southern cooks, with deep red skin that turns purple-black in storage. Aromatic, crisp, with a cherry-spice finish.
Calville Blanc dHiverPie, TartsA French apple that dates back to the 16th century, it is the classic variety used in tarte tatin.
Granny SmithPieClassic green apple is slightly sour and a favorite apple for pie. Availalble in supermarkers everywhere.
Newton PippinPieSweet-tart flesh, crisp, greenish-yellow skin
Northern SpyPieOur favorite apple variety for pie-making
Rhode Island GreeningPieVery tart, distinctively flavored, grass-green skin, tending toward yellow/orange
Roxbury RussetPieAmericas oldest apple, its heavily russeted and tastes like honeyed lemonade. Flesh is dense and rather coarse. A great keeper.
Sierra Beauty Stayman WinesapsPiePopular on the West Coast, Sierra Beauty is complex and tart-sweet with floral and spice flavors.
Firm-Sweet
BaldwinPieA New England favorite, this fruit is prized for both cooking and cider. Very aromatic, with spice and apricot flavors.
Ginger GoldPie, Muffins, CakesSweet and crisp. Great for pie and light baking.
Golden DeliciousPieFairly mild variety but easily found. Tastes best when paired with bolder apples.
GravensteinPieA California favorite, the Gravenstein ripens early. Sweet-tart with a hint of raspberry. Very juice and tender, but bakes well.
HoneycrispPieCrisp, with balanced sweetness and acidity. Doesnt brown quickly when sliced.
JazzPie, Raw snacksExceptional taste and found in supermarkets year-round.
JonagoldPieYellow top, red bottom. Tangy-tart-sweet combo. Cross between the Jonathan and Golden Delicious and could fill a pie on its own.
Pink LadyPie, Baking, SnackingBalance of sweet and sour undertones and widely available in supermarkets any time of the year.
YorkPieA great all-purpose apple popular in the mid-Atlantic region. Honey and vanilla flavors dominate and the flesh is juicy and fine-grained.

Perhaps my favorite eating apple, it was discovered as wild seedling growing along fence row at Hudson Nursery in Tangent, Oregon, in 1931. Large Apple, uniquely conical in shape, with dull Yellow-Gold Russet skin. Yellow Flesh is very crisp, juicy and sugary with a somewhat nutty flavor. Many people compare it to a fine firm pear. It is delicious Apple to eat fresh, or throw into salad with blue cheese and walnuts. King David was discovered by Ben Frost of Durham, Arkansas who found this Apple along fence row in the late 1800's. King David is a versatile Apple for cider, pies, sauce, and eating. Some claim it is the most wonderful eat Apple in the world. It is medium size deep dark Red Apple with firm, crisp, spicy, juicy Yellow Flesh. It is thought to be a cross between Jonathan and Arkansas Black. I think it should be call, True Red Delicious. Ashmeads Kernel is a very old traditional English Russet Apple. It remains popular for its distinctive pear-like flavor which is quite different from most other Apple varieties. Although often considered as connoisseur's dessert Apple, Ashmead's Kernel is actually quite versatile. It can be used for cooking, or sliced in savoury salads, and it keeps very well in cold storage. Ashmead's Kernel is one of the oldest Apple varieties in the UK, dating back to around 1700. The fact that it has survived for over 300 years is due to its unique and fabulous flavor, reminiscent of pears, spices and nuts. This is a classic English Apple, often regarded as the finest of all apples. It set a benchmark for flavor in apples to which all others aspire. This Apple cultivar was first grown in 1830, at Colnbrook in Buckinghamshire, England, by retired brewer and horticulturist Richard Cox. Apples are of medium size, Orange-Red in colour, deepening to bright red and mottle with carmine over a deep yellow background. The flesh is very aromatic, yellow-white, fine-grain, crisp, and very juicy. Cox's flavour is sprightly subacid, with hints of cherry and anise, becoming softer and milder with age. When ripe apples are shake, seeds make a rattling sound as they are only loosely held in Apple's flesh. This tree was discovered in the small reclusive town of Bolinas, CA by Jesse Schwartz. At the time, nobody could identify this Delicious Apple so it was named Cinnamon Spice for its rich, distinct Cinnamon flavor, taste similar to Apple pie. Exceptionally sweet, medium in size, wine-Red fruit with some Yellow hue. Originally it was named Laxtons Fortune, but that is less descriptive. This is another one of my personal favorites. Kidd's Orange Red is primarily sweet apple, but unlike most sweet apples, it has rich complexity to flavors too. Kidd's Orange Red is fairly crisp but also pleasantly chewy, and each bite seems to release yet more juice and flavor.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

Table2

NameBest UsesFlavor Characteristics, Appearance
CortlandApplesauceTender-sweet, these large purple-red apples with yellow streaks red-blushed apples are moderately juicy and fairly sweet compared to McIntosh.
MacounApplesauceStriated green and red color, these tender apples have snow white flesh and a sweet tart flavor with a hint of strawberry and spice.
EmpireApplesauce, Fruit SaladDoesnt brown quicky when sliced
Coxs Orange PippinApplesauceLightly red-striped with an orange huge, this medium-sized apple has a spicy or nutty fragrance.
DaveyApplesauceRed with some light yellow striping and small dots, this Mac-type apple is sweet-tart, very juicy, and crunchy.
JonathanApplesauceTart flesh, crisp, juicy, bright red on yellow skin
McIntoshApplesauceJuicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh with two-toned red and green skin. Slightly tart, and the most aromatic of all apples.
LibertyApplesauceA popular apple for organic growers, its naturally resistant to disease and pests. Tender and sweet, great for sauces, with a wine-like flavor.

Best Apples for Cider

NameBest UsesFlavor Characteristics, Appearance
BaldwinCiderCrimson red with coppery green skin, Baldwins cream-white flesh is crisp and juicy with a spicy, sweet-tart flavor thats great for cider.
GravensteinCiderHeirloom apple with a thin skin and a juicy, sweet flavor
Esopus SpizenburgCider
McIntoshCiderJuicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh with two-toned red and green skin. Slightly tart, and the most aromatic of all apples.
Coxs Orange PippinCiderLightly red-striped with an orange huge, this medium-sized apple has a spicy or nutty fragrance thats great for cider.
Snow AppleCider
GoldrushCider
Stayman WinesapCiderVery juicy, sweet-sour flavor, winey, aromatic, sturdy, red skin

Table3

NameBest UsesFlavor Characteristics, Appearance
BraeburnApple Butter
CortlandApple Butter
FujiApple Butter
McIntoshApple ButterJuicy, sweet, pinkish-white flesh, red skin
LibertyApple Butter
* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sharps

Table

SharpBittersharp
Low tannin < 0.2 High acid > 0.45High tannin > 0.2 High acid > 0.45

Bittersharp apples can serve to balance out the bland character of sweet apples found in the US. Traditionally, though, bittersharps are used to balance the low acidity of tannic bittersweets, essentially balancing tannic apples with other tannic apples. Result? Powerful, austere ciders with long, draw out finishes lingering on your tongue. Want to taste what bittersharp apple can do? Bittersharp usage is rare in America, but there are few domestic examples true to fruit. Farnum Hill Kingston Black If you have a cider-drinking bucket list, then Farnum Hill Kingston Black should be on it. Kingston Black is only produced in years with ideal conditions, but it's on the market now. Still, earthy, and almost spice-like at times, Farnum Hill Kingston Black's vinous complexity and lingering finish are benchmark example of this prized fruit. Distillery Lane Ciderworks Kingston Black. Further south, Maryland's Distillery Lane also produces impressive Kingston Black single varietal cider. Softer than Farnum Hill's, Distillary Lane Kingston Black drinks is bit like a bowl of summer fruit, with a few wet pebbles thrown in. This sparkling cider is tart and fresh, and will easily win over fans of fruity white wine. Tilt Shed Ciderworks lose Orchard Dry Cider Out in Sonoma County, California's Tilt Shed Ciderworks use a variety of traditional, English bittersharp apples in their lose Orchard Dry Cider including Foxwhelp, Porter's Perfection, and Kingston Black. Blending these apples with traditional bittersweets results in tannic, powerfully earthy cider that still retains some apple-y character. Alpenfire Flame Brut Cider Further north, Washington's Alpenfire put their natural fermentation stamp on English bittersharp fruit by blending Foxwhelp apples with Muscadet de Dieppe, French bittersweet apple variety. Austere though slightly less acidic than other ciders, Flame is bit like drinking a glass of cold morning air laid over flint stone and barnyard funk. This cider is one of our favorites for starting meal with adventurous friends. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

Table2

SweetBittersweet
Low tannin < 0.2 Low acid < 0.45High tannin > 0.2 Low acid < 0.45
* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sharp-sweets

Table

SharpBittersharp
Low tannin < 0.2 High acid > 0.45High tannin > 0.2 High acid > 0.45

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

Table2

SweetBittersweet
Low tannin < 0.2 Low acid < 0.45High tannin > 0.2 Low acid < 0.45
* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Sources

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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