An Orchard Afternoon


One activity we look forward to each autumn is journeying to our local orchard for a day of apple picking. On average, orchards will have up to a dozen varieties available on their trees, based on the local climate. In our area, growers are currently offering up Mutsu (often known as Crispin), Stayman’s Winesap, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp apples fresh for the picking. Of course, the only thing better than picking apples is eating them, but it can be hard to keep track of which type works for a particular dish. After a day at the orchard and farm, above, we broke down a list of our current favorites, detailing what sets each variety apart and how it is best incorporated into fall treats.

Mutsu/Crispin – As its name would suggest, this apple offers a great crunch. A hybrid of Golden Delicious and Japanese Indo apples, it is a large, yellow-green apple with a conical shape. Great for eating, its juiciness and an alluring hint of tartness also make for a great pie or apple sauce.

Stayman’s Winesap – This medium-sized, round, red apple is known for having a long shelf life, remaining firm and tender. It was first cultivated and sold in the United States in 1895. With a rich, tart, and wine-like flavor, it makes a great apple cider.

Jonagold – Developed in New York in 1953, this yellow-green and red variety is a cross between Golden Delicious and crimson Jonathan apples. With sweet fruit, a thin skin, and just a hint of tartness, Jonagolds are ideal for homemade pies, thanks to their large size and universal appeal.

Golden Delicious – The Golden Delicious variety is firm and sweet. Originating in West Virginia, this yellow-hued apple must be handled carefully, as it bruises easily, but its rewards are many as a favorite for incorporating into apple sauce and apple butter.

Honeycrisp – A favorite around the terrain offices, the Honeycrisp apple is sweet with a touch of tartness, and of course, offers a satisfying crunch. Whether eaten fresh, baked in a pie, or used to top off an autumn salad, this juicy variety is as versatile as it is delightful. We love to eat them sliced with peanut butter as an afternoon snack!

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