The Ultimate Guide To Apples

While cooler weather and shorter days may make some folks yearn for the return of summer, even for just a day, it's important to remember that autumn also has its advantages — one of them being the appearance of crisp, refreshing apples harvested at their peak.

Click here to see The Ultimate Guide to Apples Slideshow

With such an abundance of apples, though, how does a home cook figure out what to do with all of them? That's why The Daily Meal has rounded up 31 of its best apple recipes to help take the guess work out of the equation. Here are some highlights:

If you're looking for something sweet and easy, look no further than this Apple Pinwheels recipe; for something special, try Aliya LeeKong's Apple Pie with Star Anise Brown Butter; and for a true challenge, try Holly Herrick's Butterscotch and Caramel Apple Tarts.

Those who prefer something savory might want to try this Sausages with Apples and Onions recipe for a quick weeknight dinner, Apple Grilled Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Fontina for a kicked-up version of a familiar favorite, or, pull out all the stops with this Traditional Roast Pork with Crackling and Applesauce (although a bit of help from the butcher wouldn't hurt).

And finally — the healthy stuff. Meatless Monday's Apple Molasses Bran Muffins are the right way to start off the morning, while this Savoy Cabbage, Radicchio, and Apple Slaw is a perfect side dish. And, if you're looking for "just a salad," look no further than this refreshing Apple and Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts.

What to Buy
Once you've figured out what to make, though, how do you decide what kind of apple to buy? Based on some extensive research, The Daily Meal has put together this nifty chart of commonly found apple varieties that may come in handy:

Type of Apple Best Use Flavor/Aroma Texture
Fuji Eating raw; add to salads and slaw Very sweet Crisp
Red Delicious Eating raw Mildly sweet Soft, sometimes dense and mealy
Granny Smith Baking and sauces; also pairs well with savory foods like grilled cheese Tart when raw; sweeter when cooked Firm and crisp
Golden Delicious Pies, salads, and sauces Sweet when from warmer climates; more tart when from cooler climates Soft with thin skin; fragile and bruises easily when raw, but holds its shape when cooked
Gala Eating raw, all-purpose cooking, and bobbing Mildly sweet Thin-skinned and crisp
Braeburn Eating raw and baking Sweet and slightly tart Crisp
McIntosh Eating raw, applesauce, or apple butter Sweet-tart and grows sweeter later on in the season; season runs from fall to early winter Soft
Honeycrisp Eating raw and pie Sweet-tart Crisp
Jonagold Pie, smoothies, and all-purpose cooking A cross, this apple gets a sweet-tart flavor from the Jonathan and the aroma of honey from the Golden Delicious Crisp with thin skin
Cameo Eating raw, baking, and all-purpose cooking; can make a "cameo" appearance instead of Golden Delicious Sweet-tart with hints of honey and citrus Thin-skinned with dense flesh
Empire All-purpose cooking Sweet like Red Delicious and tart like McIntosh Firm with thin skin
Cortland Eating raw, baking, and all-purpose cooking Sweet-tart Soft, but firmer than McIntosh

(Photos courtesy of flickr/Shaw Girl, flickr/Selbe B, flickr/Hanoian, flickr/Selbe B, flickr/vintagecat, flickr/LuLu Witch, flickr/Quasimime, flickr/ahemler, flickr/prorallypix, flickr/Dan.., flickr/Selbe B, flickr/MMarsolais, respectively)

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.