Get to Know Our Washington-Grown Apple Varieties
Oct 31, 2016
Washington State’s annual apple harvest season typically runs from August until November, though exact harvest windows and growth patterns vary depending on several factors such as variety, weather conditions, and more. Now that many statewide orchards are deep into harvest season, the Carpinito Brothers produce market is teeming with seasonal apples of every size, shade, and sweetness level.
Before you shop, do you know which varieties should be on your list if you’re picking up ingredients for a pie? How about which apples are best for juicing?
As of late October, we’re proud to offer weekly specials on our freshest supply of locally grown Washington apples. Stop by the market to get yours before they’re gone! New crops go fast, and our produce market season will soon come to a close in December.
Here’s what you need to know about a few common Washington-grown apple varieties before you hit the produce stand (plus some delicious recipes to put them to good use)!
Though most of the varieties we carry make delicious snacking apples, the Honeycrisp is one of the most popular for eating straight. Extra sweet with just a hint of refreshing sharpness, this variety can be used for baking, but is often best enjoyed in its purest form: fresh and sliced. Because it stands up well to cold-weather climates, it is considered a mid- to late-season apple, and is often harvested even through November and December.
Gala apples are some of the most versatile, especially when it comes to cooking. They are a sweet-sharp aromatic variety, which makes them perfect for salads, sauces, and home juicing. Use them for homemade applesauce (recipe below) or run them through a juicer to make apple cider (add mulling spices such as cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and star anise on the stovetop for a winter warmer the whole family will love!).
Homemade Applesauce Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
- 3 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup apple juice or apple cider
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Nutmeg (optional)
- Allspice (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes (or until apples are tender). Allow to cool slightly, then carefully puree in a food processor or blender until smooth (don't fill too full; split into two portions if needed). Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
3. Granny Smith
When you think “green apple,” the fruit you’re envisioning is likely a Granny Smith. This sharp variety is firm and crunchy, which allows it to hold up well to cooking and baking. Its tart flavor brings balance to sweet confections such as apple pie (recipe below), and can also add some dimension to apple juice or cider (consider pairing it with your Galas for the latter).
Country Apple Pie Recipe from Carpinito Brothers recipe collection
- Pastry for 1 double-crust (9-inch)
- 6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
- 1 tbs. Lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbs. All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. Ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 2 tbs. Butter or margarine
Roll half of pastry to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; fit into a 9 inch pie plate. Set aside. Combine apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, mixing well. Spoon over apple mixture, tossing gently. Spoon filling evenly into pastry shell, and dot with butter.
Roll remaining pastry to ¼ inch thickness, and place over filling. Trim edges; seal and flute. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil. Bake at 450˚ for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚ and bake for 35 more minutes. Makes one 9 inch pie.
As its name implies, the Fuji apple originated in Japan. Lucky for us in the states, it has since become a popular variety cherished for eating fresh and baking. Fuji apples are known for their very late harvest period. The apple’s crisp crunch makes it a refreshing snack when sliced, and many swear by its sweetness when baking pies, cobblers, crisps, and dumplings. If you prefer a more balanced baked good, try a blend of Fujis and Granny Smiths in your pie. Follow the recipe above and adjust the ratio according to your sweet vs. tart preference.
The Jonagold is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan apple -- an early American variety. The result is an extremely versatile, sweet-sharp, and aromatic fruit. Whether you’re snacking on a Jonagold or using your haul for a home kitchen adventure, you’re likely to get a lot of bang for your buck, as this variety can be quite bulky in size.
6. Pink Lady
Though often marketed using the trademark moniker Pink Lady, this variety’s true name is the Cripps Pink. Regardless of what you see on the sticker, don’t hesitate to bite right into one, because they are excellent snacking apples. Sweet-sharp and aromatic, Pink Ladies usually have a characteristic and refreshing crunch that can inspire cravings all (late) season long.