Best Apples For Eating and Cooking


Best Apples For Eating and Cooking

Tanners Orchard grows some of the best apples for eating and cooking, many of which can be made into caramel apples

6 of Tanners Orchard’s best apples for eating and cooking

When fall arrives, our minds start turning to the delicious flavors of the season. From pumpkin spice to fresh apple pies, who doesn’t love the sights, sounds, and flavors of autumn? And right as the promise of cooler weather starts to kick in, that’s when those fall fruits start to become readily available. That includes a massive variety of apples. With so many kinds of apples, you may be wondering about all the variations, and which are the best apples for eating and cooking. Here are the six most popular varieties from our orchard, the details on their wonderful flavors, and insights on how to use them.

Honey Crisp

A Honey Crisp apple ripens early in September, ready to be enjoyed as soon as the weather starts to cool. This apple is known for being exceptionally crisp, yet juicy, and it has a mild but aromatic flavor people love. Originally developed at the University of Minnesota, this delicious apple can be stored for up to seven months in your refrigerator. Stock up and use them for snacking or for making apple sauce. Or try them in something even more adventurous: a salted caramel apple pie. In this pie, you’ll enjoy the tart flavor of these apples in a seasonal favorite dessert.


One of the best apples for eating and cooking is a Jonathan apple. This dark red apple is fragrant and fruity, and they are so juicy that they can feel heavy because of their high juice content. Ripe early in September, they are tart apples that get sweeter toward the end of the season. Don’t let them sit in a refrigerator for too long because they’ll lost their crisp juiciness. To best store them, wrap them in newspaper and a plastic bag, which will prevent them from drying out. Jonathan apples are a great addition to fresh salads and served on cheese boards. They’re also a great option for an easy apple crisp that just screams fall.

Golden Delicious

The yellow Golden Delicious apple is a mild, sweet, yet tart apple that was first discovered in West Virginia in the 1900s. The flesh of this apple is soft, with a balanced blend of sugar and acidity. They will keep for several weeks, and up to five months if stored properly in a cool, dry, or dark location like your refrigerator. The Golden Delicious apple is also the quintessential apple for baking. This apple is often used baked into pies, cakes, and breads. They can also be simmered into sauces, jams, soups, and turned into toppings. They are also a wonderful option for making a fall staple: fresh apple cider.


The Jonagold apple is a blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, and it was first discovered in 1953 thanks to researchers from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This variety is crispy and juicy with a honey sweet flavor and a hint of tartness. These apples ripen in mid-September and can be stored easily in the refrigerator and even sliced and frozen for later use. These apples work well in pretty much any application, including being eaten fresh and cooked with a bit of cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar for a delicious side of skillet apples. It’s also a great apple for making a homemade apple butter.


The popular Fuji apple is a Red Delicious hybrid that was developed in Fujisaki, Japan in the 1930s. They have a sweet flavor and crisp texture. And because their skin is so dense, they can be stored for up to six months in a refrigerator. Another good note about that dense skin is that the flesh doesn’t break down very well in pies or sauces. However, they are great options for snacking and for adding a sweet layer of flavor in salads. They’re also the perfect apple for making caramel apples, which is always a fun addition to the season.

Granny Smith

A bright green Granny Smith is another one of the best apples for eating and cooking. These tart apples, first cultivated in Australia in 1868, might just make your mouth pucker. Best of all, they are crisp and firm when you take a bite. The Granny Smith apple can be stored for up to eight weeks in your refrigerator. Because of their tartness, they are wonderful when eaten alongside sharp cheeses like gorgonzola and blue cheese. They’re wildly popular in caramel apples. And they are used in numerous popular desserts, including this apple cake.

Get These Apples and More at Tanners Orchard

Tanners Orchard is proud to offer all the best apples for eating and cooking. While Honey Crisp, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, and Fuji apples are six of the most popular varieties, our farm has over 17 total varieties of apples and over 11,000 apple trees you can pick from. Apple picking season kicks off with our Festival Days in September. Then, our fun U-Pick orchards are ready for you to choose your favorite varieties. U-Pick is $5 per person, and the apples you pick can go home with you for $12 for a half peck or $20 for a peck.

Apple crisp with ice cream is just one of the things you can do with apples from Tanners Orchard, which grows the best apples for eating and cooking

Tanners Orchard offers more than apples, too. In September, we offer U-pick pumpkins with six varieties of pumpkins to choose from. Plus, we have our Back 40 Fun Acres, which features swings, slides, a petting zoo, putt-putt, face painting and more. And if you want to taste those apples before you get them home, our Farm Market is open with fresh-baked goods, jams, apple cider, and more. We also offer numerous fall events to enjoy, such as Grandparents Weekend, our Sunflower Experience, and a Peach and Pancake breakfast. It’s fun the entire family w ll enjoy. Tanners Orchard is located at 740 IL-40 in Speer, IL, just north of Peoria. To learn more about all we offer, call