Johnny Appleseed wouldn’t recognize the apples harvested today. The once favored Pipin and Winesaps popular over a century ago have been replaced with Honeycrisp, Jonathan and Red Delicious. Each variety has a unique flavor profile and texture that defines them as eating or baking apples.
Few varieties as the Jonathan are considered an all-purpose apple - good for eating and cooking because of its semi-tart flavor and firm texture. Honycrisps, now the most sought after eating apple have dethroned the Red Delicious while the Golden Delicious tangy firm flesh remains a favorite among bakers along with the Granny Smith for apple pies.
Galas and Jonagolds have continued to grow their fan base since their market introduction few decades ago. Galas are orange-yellow and have a pleasant sweet, crisp taste and are great for tossing in the lunch bag. Jonagolds, a cross between the Johnthan and a Golden Delicious has an orange-red blush over a yellow skin with a sweet, subtle tartness similar to vintage apple varieties that have been making a comeback.
My personal old-time favorite is the Winesap, a late season apple that requires cooler autumn nights to ripen. A tart apple with an aroma some describe as wine-like, Winesaps were considered "good keepin’ apples” since they can be successfully stored throughout the winter.
No matter which apples you pick proper storage is the secret to keeping apples through the season. If apples are purchased in plastic bags simply keep them in that bag and place them in the crisper section of the refrigerator. The plastic bags help retain the apples moisture. Just make sure the plastic bag has a few vent holes to allow the apples to breathe and the air to circulate.
Most apples keep well when stored in cool conditions. So how cool is cool? According to apple growers cool is between 35 and 55 degrees. Good to know since after a day of apple knockin’ you might find yourself with more apples than your refrigerator can hold.
To store larger amounts place apples in a cool garage or basement in corrugated boxes or on plastic or wooden racks. Cover apples with an old blanket if stored outside in a garage to safe guard them from freezing.
Finally, don’t forgot what your mother said, “one bad apple can spoil the bunch.” One bad apple, undetected, can spoil your entire apple bevy. Before and during storage it’s important to sort and use apples with defects immediately. Remember, only prefect apples free of bruises and decay should be stored for latter use.