Ontario Apples 101
Ontario offers some of the most flavourful apples in the world with more and more varieties becoming available each year. Here is everything you need to know about Ontario apples.
Ontario Apple Varieties by Month
Apples become available at varying times based on their variety. Here is a breakdown of when each variety is in season with a brief profile about their flavour and uses:
- Paula Reds: These green to red apples are sweet yet tart and are the first apples of the season. They are perfect for snacking and cooking but must be eaten quickly or they will go mealy.
- Jersey Macs: A cousin to the classic Ontario McIntosh these apples can be used for cooking as well as a tart, crisp snack.
- Gala: Yellow fleshed apple similar to the Delicious variety best for eating fresh.
- Honeycrisp: Large apples that are quite sweet and crisp and are best eaten fresh.
- Jonagold: Cone shaped apple that is green to yellow in colour sometimes with orange or reddish streaks. Can be eaten fresh but are wonderful for cooking.
- McIntosh: Ontario’s trademark apple these are medium in size, round and red with hints of green. Tart and sweeter as they ripen perfect for just about any recipe or eaten fresh.
- Ambrosia: A lovely sweet apple that is crisp and juicy perfect for eating fresh for kids due to their sweetness.
- Cortland: This is a very large variety that is quite red and very mild in flavour which makes it good for cooking. They are one of the few varieties that can be sliced for salads and fruit plates as they do not brown like most varieties.
- Crispin: Another larger apple, this one is tart and then sweet and makes a great snack. It is ideal for pies and a chunkier style apple sauce.
- Empire: This is like a tart Red Delicious perfect in apple sauce and snacking but not for baking.
- Golden Delicious: This is a juicy sweet apple great for pies if you like a firmer filling and perfect for snacking.
- Northern Spy: Longer in shape these apples are crisp and ideal for pies and baked apples. These are one of the best apples for baking.
- Red Delicious: Very sweet and juicy they are great in Waldorf salads, snacking but not for cooking.
- Spartan: Perfect for snacking and pies.
- Fuji: A pretty apple that is almost pink in colour and great when eaten fresh.
- Russet: One of the oldest varieties of apples these are perfect for a sweet and tangy snack or a classic apple pie or sauce.
Tips for Picking Ontario Apples:
An apple picked fresh from the orchard will far surpass the flavour of not only a grocery store apple but even a farmers’ market apple. When apple picking there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Bring cash to be safe in case the farm does not take interact
- Beware of wasps that are often low to the ground where the sweet windfalls lie
- Look for apples that come off the tree easily
- Do not be discouraged by brown markings as this will not affect the flavour
- Beware of bruising as this will cause the apple to go bad more quickly
- Watch for windfalls so you don’t turn an ankle
- Store apples in a cold place immediately to maintain the crispness
A Quick Recipe for Ontario Apples:
Even if you do not consider yourself a baker you can make baked apples. Simply core the apple and stuff with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon (You can also add nuts, oats, or raisins to the mixture).
Place a daub of butter on each apple and bake in a pan with about ¾ cup of warm apple cider in the bottom. Remove from the oven once the skin becomes slightly wrinkled and the apple is tender. Serve warm with juice from the pan and a dollop of whipped cream, spoon of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of evaporated milk.