In times past, you could only buy a few different kinds of apple trees, which all originate from a common ancestor, the wild apple, or Malus sieversii. This wild apple grows native in Central Asia, but looks a lot like the apples you eat today. The choices were so limited back then, but due to hybridization and genetic engineering, there are thousands of apple cultivars in existence today. Let’s take a look at 6 of the commonest types of apples.
The Fuji apple was first introduced in Japan in 1962. They are large sized, and can last a long time even without refrigeration. Bred from hybridization of the Red Delicious and the Ralls Genet, the color is a dark red with small light colored dots. The flesh is crunchy, sweet and firm. During September it ripens, but will taste better if left until October and November to fully mature. In Japan, Fuji apples are the de facto apples, being consumed more than any other, although the biggest producer now is the United States. Fuji apple trees can grow well in many kinds of soils, although the quality of the flesh will then depend on the soil (and climate).
Gala apples are light reddish in color, with a lot of yellow streaks on the skin. Originating from New Zealand, they were introduced into the market in 1965, and are a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Cox’s Orange Pippin. One of the characteristics of the Gala is its juiciness and aroma, although it isn’t very crunchy. They become ripe in late July and harvesting occurs shortly thereafter, in August. For cooking, they aren’t used very often, being considered more of a “snacking” type of apple. The Royal Gala is a more reddish, popular, type of Gala.
Red Delicious apples are one of the most popular apple cultivars in the market, having a long, established history. They have a large size, and are dark red in color with 5 knobs on the bottom. The Red Delicious was first discovered in 1868, by an apple grower named Jesse Hiatt and originally grown in East Peru, Iowa. Back then, it was known by the name of “Hawkeye.” They become ripe in mid to late September, and harvested sometime in September of October. Considered to be the classic amongst the apple types, it is a firm favorite the world over.
As its name implies, the Golden Delicious is colored golden to yellow all over. Introduced in 1914 in Clay County, West Virginia, its parentage remains cloudy till today, thus it is regarded as a chance seedling. It bears no resemblance to the Red Delicious, and is sweeter and easier to bruise, than many other types of apples. The flesh of the Golden Delicious is great for cooking and salads, because it retains its great taste and shape, even though the skin is thin and soft. They are harvested in late September.
Who can forget the green Granny Smith once they have tasted it? Like many other apple types, the Granny Smith is a “chance cultivar,” first grown by a certain Maria Ann Smith in Australia, around 1868. Unlike other apples, this one tastes more towards the sour side, and its flesh is quite hard, thus it is favored for salads and your classic apple pie. Harvested around October, the Granny Smith ranks amongst the most favorited of apples.
The Braeburn may looks superficially similar to a Gala from afar, but that’s where the similarity ends. Its color varies from gold with red streaks, to a deep, dark red. Introduced in 1952 in New Zealand,the Braeburn’s parentage is uncertain, considered once again as a chance seedling, a hybrid of Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith. The insides are firm and juicy, with a slight tart taste. The Braeburn is amongst the most popular apples in the world, although they were only mass produced in the United States around 1980.