The flavor of apples depends on the malic acid in them. So, the dominating flavor of apples with higher acid levels is tart. Such sour apples taste good in salsas and salads. But what apples are sour?
The most popular tart apple is the Granny Smith apple. Other tart apple varieties include Newtown Pippin Heirloom, Pacific Rose, Mcintosh, Empire, Cortland, Envy, Lady, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, and Jazz. Less known tart apples like Winesap and Gravensteins have a spicy undertone to their taste.
Let’s delve deeper into this now.
What Makes Apples Sour?
There is a stunning variety of apples, each with a distinct flavor profile. These different flavors arise from the differences in their make-up.
To understand how this works, you should first know that all apples have sugars and acids in them.
Sugars are present in the form of fructose and glucose. Acids present in apples include malic acid and citric acid.
The balance of sugar and acid in an apple determines its prominent flavor.
So apples with acid content taste tart while those with more sugar are sweet. Both acid and sugar levels are balanced in certain varieties.
The balance of sweetness and sourness of apples can change during storage. The tartness level of an apple is highest when it’s just ripe.
It gradually reduces over time, and the longer it’s stored, the sweeter it becomes.
Sour apples are better for cooking and baking. The high acid level enhances other flavors and creates a complex taste profile. Thus, tart apples can make a dish tastier.
Now that we know what makes apples sour, let’s learn about the different varieties of sour apples.
Which Apples Are Most Sour?
Every apple has some level of sourness because it contains acid. Nonetheless, some apples are sourer than others.
It’s a general misconception that green apples are sourer than red or yellow varieties. It’s not the case. You can find both red and green apples that are sour.
Let’s now explore the different green and red apple varieties that are sour.
Which Green Apples Are Sour?
Given below are the green apples that are sour in taste.
1. Granny Smith Apples
Granny Smith apples are one of the sourest apple varieties. They’re incredibly tart due to their high acid content.
These apples have thick light green skin and firm flesh.
The apples are juicy. They hold their shape and don’t disintegrate during cooking. You can eat them raw. However, they taste better when cooked.
Granny Smith apples are widely used to prepare pies, cobblers, crumbles, and cakes.
They’re at the peak of their flavor when their color is bright green. They turn yellow when stored for too long.
2. Newtown Pippin Heirloom Apples
These apples are picked when their skin is green, and they become yellow in storage.
Newtown Pippin Heirloom apples are very tart when they’re ripe. They become sweeter as they sit.
These apples taste best in pies and crisps.
3. Rhode Island Greening Apples
The Rhode Island Greening is the closest replacement for Granny Smith apples because of their citrusy tart flavor and firm texture.
Their dense flesh turns soft and sweet when you put them in storage. They do very well in applesauce and pies.
4. Shamrock Apples
Shamrock apples are a cross between the Golden Delicious and Red-green Macintosh apples. They’re true green apples with pale green flesh.
You can eat the Shamrock apples raw despite their sour taste. They’re also suitable for making tart applesauce.
5. Golden Noble Apples
The Golden Noble is a popular variety of English apples. These apples have a beautiful light green color.
These apples are widely used for cooking. They find wide use in English recipes involving pureed apples and applesauce.
6. Lady Apples
The Lady apple is a beautiful decorative variety with skin that changes from lime green to ruby and crimson with an ombre effect.
It’s firm on the outside but has juicy, tender flesh. Although sweet, this apple also has a strong tart taste.
The flavors of the fruit are best when the apple is cooked or baked.
Which Red Apples Are Sour?
The below red apples are sour.
1. Pink Lady Apples
Pink Lady apples have a bright and attractive reddish-pink color. They have juicy, crisp white flesh.
The core of this apple is larger than in other varieties.
2. Macintosh Apples
The Mcintosh is an apple variety that is available all year round. Within the hard skin, this apple has soft and juicy flesh.
It’s very tart and hence used widely to prepare apple sauce and cider.
3. Empire Apples
The Empire is a hybrid apple variety with sweet and tart flavors. However, the tartness is at its peak when the apple is ripe and freshly plucked.
This combination of sweetness and tartness creates a distinct and complex flavor. It’s an all-purpose apple that finds extensive use in cooking and baking.
4. Cortland Apples
The Cortland apple is an offspring of the Mcintosh apple. It has both sweet and tart tones but leans closer to tartness.
It has bright red skin with dark red streaks. The flesh is white, juicy, and crisp. It has a complex, mature taste.
This apple shines in cakes, tarts, cobblers, and other baked goods. It also makes good cider and works in charcuterie and cheese boards.
5. Braeburn Apples
Braeburn apples are perfect for baking, and they do very well in pies, cakes, tarts, and crumbles.
This variety has a striped red and yellow appearance. The flesh is juicy white.
Braeburn apples are tart with a delicious hint of spice. They have a distinct and refreshing cinnamon-like taste that lingers.
Their delicate sourness is balanced beautifully by the crispiness of their flesh.
It’s one of the more expensive apples because of its rich and complex taste. The flesh doesn’t break down into mush, making it good for cooking.
6. Jazz Apples
Jazz is a cross between the Royal Gala and Braeburn apple varieties. It’s a delicious apple with complex flavors.
The flesh is predominantly tart with hints of sweetness. It has firm flesh.
The balance of sweetness and sourness in Jazz makes it good for snacking. It’s hard and crunchy.
The flesh holds its shape, and hence this apple is good for cooking.
You can use it to prepare delicious crisps and crumble. However, it will not turn mushy and may not be a good choice for applesauce.
7. SweeTango Apples
The SweeTango is a beautiful red apple with white polka dots on the skin. The super juicy flesh bursts with flavor.
The sourness is strong and overpowering initially. However, it gives way to a delicious sweetness.
This complexity of flavors makes it very appealing. It’s an excellent choice for snacking, but you can also cook with it.
8. Winesap Apples
Winesap is a less known variety of red apples. It’s sweet and tangy. Although it isn’t widely available now, Winesap apples used to be very popular in the 1950s.
It’s well-suited for cider. The firm but moist flesh holds up well to heat. So it works well in baked dishes.
9. Gravenstein Apples
Gravenstein apples are excellent cooking apples. They hold up incredibly well and last longer than other apple varieties.
The skin color is yellow or green with dense red and orange stripes. They have white, honey-scented flesh.
Gravenstein apples are mildly sweet. They taste delicious in sauce, cider, and various baked goods.