Don't know which apples to use for cooking and baking? Try these 5 recipes

A bowl of oatmeal with apple slices on top
(Los Angeles Times)

Experiment with different apple varieties — crunchy, tangy, juicy, sweet or tart — for the best flavor in these oatmeal, salad, and dessert recipes.

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American farmers grow about 2,500 types of apples — of those, only about 100 types are grown commercially. We encounter only a dozen or so in an ordinary grocery store, though farmers markets and produce stands typically offer a broader range and new options seemingly each year. In shades of red, green and yellow, apples also vary in their crispness, juiciness, sweetness or tartness. Which to eat out of hand is a matter of personal preference (Red Delicious and Gala are two of the most popular), but which to use for cooking and baking involves more consideration. For baking, firmer apples such as Granny Smith, Rome and Jonagold are good choices; juicier, very crisp, sweet-tart apples such as Fuji, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady are better suited for salads and drier apples such as Hokuto and Gravenstein are best for applesauce.

Shaved Apple and Peanut Salad

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Crunchy and tangy, this Shaved Apple and Peanut Salad calls for sweet-tart varieties such as Melrose, Mutsu (also called Crispin), Pink Lady or even Granny Smith.


Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Time 10 minutes
Yields Serves 1 to 2

Instead of adding sugar to your oatmeal, try simmering it with fresh Fuji or Gala apples, which will impart sweetness along with apple flavor through the cooking. For added texture, garnish with a few uncooked slices. Spice it up by adding cinnamon at the end of cooking, where the bright flavor will shine (the heat from cooking will mellow its intensity).

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw With Yogurt and Cumin

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4

A riff on the French céleri rémoulade salad, this slaw pairs tart green apples with fresh kohlrabi and dresses them with yogurt enhanced with Dijon mustard, cumin and red onion. A handful of freshly chopped herbs adds color and dimension to the crunchy mix, which gets better the longer it sits. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days. Make a big batch that you can serve with several meals and enjoy how the flavor develops along the way.

APL Kale Salad

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Apples and radishes lend crunch and a play of sweet-tart and peppery flavors to this kale salad. Gently massaging the kale breaks down its fibrous texture, making it easier to chew, and also softens its flavor, which can be too bitter for some. Parmesan cheese adds a savory richness substantial enough for the salad. It can be a full meal and is also a great accompaniment to grilled meats.


Apple Schalet

Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Derived from an Old French word meaning warm (chald), the term schalet was used to describe the Sabbath stew called cholent, which is baked overnight in an oven at very low heat. It also refers to what one might call a cross between noodle kugel and bread pudding. In this apple schalet, day-old challah is hydrated with water, mixed with sauteed baking apples, eggs, vanilla and sugar, and baked until golden brown and puffed. Is it a side dish or a dessert? That’s up to you.