Kids & Company Blog

One for the teacher’s desk and another for the pie

Fall is in the air and farmers are busy harvesting their crops.  One of my family’s favourite fall road trip outings is apple picking in our local community.  Did you know that there are over 7,500 varieties of apples with various flavours, colours, and textures, and when deciding what type of apple to use in what you’re making with all of this variability, it becomes nearly impossible to know which ones are best to cook with and which are best to eat. Luckily we can help with a guide that categorizes apples into those that hold their shape, those that soften, and the ones you shouldn’t cook with at all! Now you’ll know which apples to pick this fall for cooking, and which to pick to brighten a teacher’s desk!

The most popular four apples that hold their shape when used for cooking are the Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith, and Rome. While these are all similar in that they hold their shape, their flavours are far from being singular. The Golden Delicious is the sweetest of the four, but its flavour isn’t as bold as the others, while the Braeburn prizes itself of its perfect amount of sweetness with a wonderful texture. Additionally, while the Granny Smith has a flavour that is the least apple-like and more tart, the Rome is a mixture of sweet and tart for a complex bodacious flavour that will pack a punch in whatever you bake it in!

These apples are best in pies, as they won’t become too mushy and will maintain their charming sweet and simple, or tart and tangy flavours! But, in order to make a robust apple pie, many chefs will also add a softer apple to even it out creating the perfect texture and flavour. These apples are also great for soups as well. A Granny Smith and Butternut Squash soup is a great fall delight that will be a perfect mix of sweet and sour!

For the apples that soften, there are the Empire, Cortland, McIntosh, and Macoun apples. The Empire and the McIntosh are both fairly tart, while the Cortland and Macoun are a bit sweeter. The McIntosh is the softest of the four when cooked, making it the perfect apple for a homemade apple sauce! It is also great for making a Honey-Spice Apple Butter when added to brown sugar, honey, and apple cider. The Macoun is a perfect choice to add to a pie along with one of the harder apples as it is not very juicy but has a very rotund taste. On the other hand the Empire apple is great in an apple crisp because of its tart, yet soft texture.

Most importantly, here are the apples to avoid cooking with: the Fuji and the Red Delicious; save those for the teacher’s desk! These two are both flavourless and taste dry when cooked. So this fall pack up your family and head to your local apple picking farm and enjoy fresh apples in your cooking or just biting into a juicy, delicious variety of your choice………enjoy!


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Chef Lisa Ruscica

Chief Food Ambassador


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