Trip to the Apple Orchard – Picking the Right Apple for the Job

Apple Orchard

“You & I can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in each seed”

There’s something so heart warming about the aroma of apples cooking in the kitchen! Maybe it’s because of the memories of childhood when, as a little girl, I would “help” my mom & grandmother peel the buckets of apples on my great-grandma Pearl’s farm. I remember watching great-grandma Pearl put an apple in her hand sitting out on the front porch of her little farmhouse. Then, she would peel it as she spun the apple around and around in her hand. When she finished the entire apple, there would only be one very long piece of apple peel that would drop into the big pile of peels, as the apples made their way to the canning kitchen. Although I tried and tried to “get the big long peel” as a youngster, I’m only just now attaining that great skill 😉 Perhaps it’s the knowledge that Autumn, which is my favorite season of the year, is finally here that makes the onset of apple season so special? Or, could it just be the anticipation of getting a little taste of the delicious dish of apple goodness that is baking in the oven? Knowing me and my nostalgic outlook on life, I’m sure it’s a mixture of all of the above 😉

Even though great-grandma Pearl has long since passed, and I don’t currently have my own orchard, each year our family travels a few miles up North to pick apples at our favorite orchard. We usually wait until the end of October, but this year we decided to go up with some friends to see what we could find earlier in the season. I was amazed to find so many different types of apples available! I guess our trip will be an earlier one from now on, because when we wait until the end of October, most of the variety is already gone. But, that’s not to say that we can’t go up more than once and make the season last as long as possible 😉

I just love going to the apple farm, because besides apples, they have so many other things to see, smell, and taste! There’s the rows of corn stalks lined up like a marching band along the children’s corn maze, keeping the little ones continually guessing how they’re going to find their way out. There’s crate after crate of colorful pumpkins, guards, and squash, and I think the bunches of Indian corn must have every color imaginable, because they aren’t just brown & red anymore! And I mustn’t forget the luscious aromas that escape out of the big red barn, and somehow find their way right to our little noses! The scents of popcorn, cotton candy, apple cider, chocolate fudge, fresh baked donuts, and caramel apples all seem to mingle together and scream come & find me… and of course we must!

Even though I know what “type” of apple that I like the best, when we get to the farm, we still have to ask the same question every year – which is the best kind of apple for eating, and which is the best for baking?

Since I ask this question every year, I thought you might face the same questions when you get to the store, apple orchard, or farm stand in your area. So… I wanted to put together a little list of the different kinds of apples, their descriptions, and what they might be best suited for.

* My little secret… I love a crisp, tart, apple that is great for both eating & baking – so Jonagold wins the “Apple of my Eye” award 😉

Jonagold: An apple that is both tart and sweet. It’s firm texture makes it one of the world’s most preferred eating apples
Jonagold Apple

Golden Delicious: Mild sweet flavor – eating, salads and apple sauce
Golden Delicious Apples

Cortland: Tangy Taste – snacking, salads, and baking
Cortland Apple

Empire: Unique sweet/tart flavor, crisp and juicy – eating and salads
Empire Apples

Ginger Gold: Sweet but mildly tart – eating and salads
Ginger Gold Apples

Golden Delicious: Mild sweet flavor – eating, salads and sauce
Golden Delicious

Honey Crisp: Big juicy and sweet – great eating apple
Honey Crisp Apples

Ida Red: Highly flavored and crisp – eating and baking
ida red

Jonamac: Sweet/tart flavor – eating and sauces

McIntosh: Juicy tangy and aromatic – Most popular eating apple
Macintosh Apples

Macoun: Mild tart taste firm apple – snacking and fresh desserts
Macoun Apples

Northern Spy: Tart apple – eating, sauces, baking
Northern Spy Apple

Red Delicious: Juicy and sweet taste – eating and salads
Red Delicious Apples

Rome: Firm mildly tart flavor – Perfect for baking and sauce, keeps very well
Rome Apples


23 thoughts on “Trip to the Apple Orchard – Picking the Right Apple for the Job”

    • Well Kristy… Now is the PERFECT time to come visit! The trees are simply gorgeous – covered in every color imaginable! And while you’re here… you can pick all the apples you want 😉

  1. Thank you for sharing, what lovely apple stories, and beautiful photos, and the bit of education, too. I always forget which apple is best for the pie and have to ask each season. Thanks for the tips.
    Happy Autumn!

    • Rachel – You’re welcome! Hopefully I remember next year & don’t have to ask again! I’ll just have to refer to my apple post so I don’t forget 😉

  2. What a beautiful apple tree picture. It reminds me of my own apple trees. What we don’t pick, the deer eat. At 10 pm every nite, a herd of deer come on our property to visit the fruit trees 🙂

    • Carrie – Our property used to be an apple orchard. We’ve heard stories about how the town Fathers would come up to the old farmhouse (still on the property – we’re going to fix it up and make it available to another family to rent), go down into the basement, and make “many – a – decision” over a cup of hard cider.

      But… our apple trees are very vintage, and haven’t been kept up in many years. The orchard has since turned into a forest – in the middle of which is where we decided to build our home. The old trees do still product apples, which I really hope help keep the deer away from the new trees that we want to plant 😉

  3. What a fabulous post. I love how sensory you made it for us. And thanks for the descriptions of the apples – what a help! I had no idea some were better for baking than for eating.

    • Michelle – Thanks for your kind words. And… lets face it, no matter what kind of apple it is… a spoon full of brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, and a quick bake in the oven… and any apple becomes a masterpiece 😉

    • Kim – You must come for a visit! We have so many different orchards in our area, along with the different farms, quaint shops, salmon fishing, sugar maples & maple syrup, stone walls …. ok …. ok …. can you tell that I love our area? *Big Smile*


      • You are such a gracious and warm person Pearl to share this wonderful life and beautiful Orchards . Just loved your fantastic post on apples , the pics and the description was a real treat.

  4. Finally here to check on what was done with my photo (the Northern Spy apple). What a beautiful collection you’ve put together! I am extra happy because this weekend I found out that the only organic apple farm within a 75-mile radius has just started Northern Spys. Yeah!!

  5. What a treat! Your apple narriton is just beautiful. I love all apples, and the Empire is just beautiful. But Jonagold and Winesaps get my vote. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. I look forward to a trip to the local orchard every year.

  6. What a fabulous post! There’s something so romantic about an orchard full of trees ripe with fruit. Your review of apple varietals is wonderful! Macouns remain my fave,

  7. Wow, I could just jump into the picture with the trees so full.. and all of the windfalls! I’m just itching to do some baking now..

    My family and I went to an apple festival at a historic farm recently. I’ve never seen so many varieties before.

    You and I love the same apple.. Jonagold is my numero uno as well, perfect!

    Thanks again :).


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