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Apple Varieties

Apple Varieties

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Braeburn: Found as a chance seedling in New Zealand in the 1950s. It is believed to be a cross between Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton. Braeburn is both sweet and tart, stores well under good conditions and can be used in cooking similarly to Granny Smith.

Cameo: Probably a chance cross between Red and Golden Delicious. Cameo is similar in flavor and appearance to the original Red Delicious. It is both tart and sweet and stores for several months under optimal conditions. It is delicious eaten fresh or can be cooked, sauced or used in pie filling.

Cripps Pink (Pink Lady): This variety originated in Australia and is a result of a cross made from Lady Williams and Golden Delicious. In certain countries, this apple has been successfully marketed specifically to women as a healthy snack. It is useful in salads, peas and sauce, but is not as useful for baking or freezing.

Fuji: Originally bred in Japan from Red Delicious and Ralls Janet. Fuji is ultra-sweet, and is best eaten fresh or used in salad. It is less useful for pies, baking or freezing. Its color varies from striped red and green to almost solid red.

Gala: This apple has been grown in the United States for the last 15 years. It is from a New Zealand breeding program and is the result of a cross between Golden Delicious and Kidd's Orange. It is a very good variety for salads and sauce but may be less useful for freezing, desserts and pie. It stores well for several months under optimal conditions.

Golden Delicious: Introduced in 1914, Golden Delicious, due to its smooth, sweet flavor, has had the staying power of few other varieties. It is suspected to be a cross between Grime's Golden and Golden Reinette. It is becoming slightly less popular as new varieties are constantly introduced; it is still a very useful, utilitarian apple. It is often eaten fresh, and is excellent in sauces, baked, in desserts and frozen.

Granny Smith: Granny Smith originated in Australia from unknown parents and is the ubiquitous cooking apple. It has a very tart flavor but is excellent however it is processed. It additionally can be stored for several months under optimal conditions.

HoneyCrisp: This newer apples is a product of a University of Minnesota breeding program, and is the result of a cross between Macoun and Honeygold apples. It is one of a few newer varieties not included in the "club" system. It is great eaten fresh, baked, frozen or in pie.

Jonagold: A result of a cross made in the 1940s in New York between Jonathon and Golden Delicious. It has a more complex flavor than many other varieties, being both sweet and tart. Its color varies from mostly green to mostly red. The fruit will not store for more than a few months, but can be used in baking, pies and other desserts. This apple has been losing popularity and its availability is slowly becoming more limited.

Macintosh: A mostly red variety found in Ontario, Canada, over 200 years ago. It is most commonly grown in the Northeastern U.S. and across the border into Canada. Macintosh has a very distinctive flavor, as compared to many other apples, that some has described as having hints of wine. It is best eaten fresh off of the tree and does not store longer than a few months.

Red Delicious: This variety was introduced commercially in the 1890s by Stark Brothers Nursery. It was originally just called Delicious and had a green and red striped color. It was reportedly a truly delicious apple. New strains that emphasize redder color are most often nearly flavorless and mealy. If the original delicious variety or at least older strains can be found from before the 1980s, the apple has very good flavor.


Newer apples are often released through a "club" system, where certain growers cooperatives have exclusive rights to the new variety. This system is meant to keep prices higher by limiting availability. An advantage to this system is that, due to higher price that can be obtained, these apples are often not treated as a commodity like older varieties, such as Red Delicious, and are often of better quality in stores. A disadvantage though is that homeowners are highly unlikely to be able to purchase trees to plant in their yards of these varieties until several years after their introduction, if ever.

Ambrosia: Likely a cross between Jonagold and Golden Delicious. It was found growing in an orchard in Western British Columbia. Flavor is similar to Golden Delicious but slightly less sweet. Skin color is dark pink to almost red with green undertones. It can be used in cooking or processed similarly to Golden Delicious. Jazz: The result of a cross between Braeburn and Fuji. Its flavor is very sweet yet more complex than either parent. If stored correctly, it will last for several months. Its color is very beautiful, being mostly red with orange, pink and green undertones. The flesh is colored butter-yellow. Jazz can be used for cooking, where it reportedly holds its flavor and does not become mushy.

Lady Alice: Discovered as a chance seedling in Washington, its parentage is unknown. This is a newer variety and its availability is very limited. It is so sweet that some suggest that the sweetness overwhelms some of the delicate flavors. It is slow to brown, which lends its use to salads. It also can be cooked. Pacific Rose: The result of a cross between the Gala and Splendor varieties, it is very crisp and sweet. It is thin skinned, being rose-pink, and is sweet enough to be used a dessert apple.

PiƱata: This variety is the result of a cross between Cox Orange Pippen (a variety popular in Great Britain), Golden Delicious and Duchess Oldenburg. It is very juicy and sweet. It can be eaten fresh or used in sauces, baked or in desserts.

Sonya: The result of a cross between Gala and Red Delicious, this apple has pink to red skin, has an oblong shape and is very sweet. It stores well and can be used in salads, desserts and in pies. It is quickly becoming very popular.

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