An apple for every day  

Familiar fruit has multiple faces, flavors

As the story goes, Adam and Eve were tempted out of the Garden of Eden with an apple. You can have the apple of your eye. Just one a day can keep the doctor away. And then there’s sitting under that tree …

Americans, as is evidenced by the language, may be more familiar with apples than with any other produce. It’s among the first fruits many of us ever tasted, cooked and puré ed into a baby-friendly sauce.

Durable and inexpensive whole apples accompanied many of us to school in our lunchboxes, and became a traditional gift for our teachers. Trendy adults may have sipped apple martinis.

Grandmas, as the saying reminds us, are meant to bake apple pies.

But how many of us know about the apples we eat (and talk about)? Is that a Jazz or a McIntosh? Gala or Honeycrisp? Is there really a difference? The short answer is yes, there is. The long answer requires advanced degrees in subjects hard to pronounce.

Granny Smith

In common parlance, a green apple. It gets its name from the woman believed to be its inventor, Australian grandmother Maria Ann Smith. It’s an old variety, entering the market in 1868. Tart and tangy, this apple is good for eating out of the hand or in salads where a bright flavor is desired. Usually available every month except June and July.


A popular apple for eating just as is, this apple is commonly juicy and crisp. Developed by the University of Minnesota, it was created to grow well in northern climates. It may be almost wholly red or a combination of red, green and yellow, and is typically available August through January.


Imported to the U.S. from Japan in the 1980s, this apple’s sweetness is its hallmark. Like the Honeycrisp, it also comes in a range of colors. Availability usually runs from September through April.


Tangy and juicy, this apple is exceptionally round and aromatic. It comes in a vibrant red-and-green combination. These apples are usually available every month of the year except August.

Red Delicious

Probably among the most familiar apples and commonly called just a red apple, the Red Delicious is known for its deep red color and golden flesh as well as its characteristic shape. It was discovered on the Iowa farm of Jesse Hiatt and was originally known as the Hawkeye. It entered the market in 1874, and is available year-round.


This unusual golden colored apple has a similarly colored flesh. Developed in Canada, the Aurora is a light and fresh-tasting apple that keeps well. Available in fall and winter.

Pink Lady or Cripps Pink

Developed in Australia and entering the market in 1985, this increasingly popular apple is slightly fizzy in taste and reddish to pink in color. It is usually available October through April.


Hailing from New Zealand, this apple is a product of a cross between the Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. It is known for its sweet, dense flesh. Jazz apples are available domestically except during the summer months, when the fruit may be imported.

Information from the U.S. Apple Export Council, the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, and the Washington State
Apple Commission.