Lanthorn guide to Michigan apples

GVL / Matt Raupp
Fall weather means apple picking at orchards around Grand Valley

GVL / Matt Raupp Fall weather means apple picking at orchards around Grand Valley

Susie Skowronek

Lanthorn guide to Michigan apples


Texture: crisp

Flavor: hint of tartness

Uses: baking and salads

Season: September to early October

Parentage: McIntosh x Ben Davis

Specialty: does not easily brown


Description: firm, waxy skin with juicy interior

Flavor: sweet and tart

Uses: baking, cider, caramel apples, or eating fresh

Season: September to January

Parentage: McIntosh x Red Delicious


Texture: juicy

Flavor: sweet and tart

Uses: eating fresh

Season: late October to January

Parentage: Ralls Janet x Delicious

Specialty: maintains crispness for weeks

Gala (Royal Gala)

Texture: crisp and firm

Flavor: sweet and tart

Uses: baking or eating fresh

Season: October to January

Parentage: Kidd’s Orange Red x Golden Delicious

Ginger Gold

Texture: crisp

Flavor: sweet and tart

Uses: eating fresh

Season: August to September

Parentage: Golden Delicious x Albermarle Pippin

Specialty: can be stored up to six months

Golden Delicious

Texture: thin-skinned, firm, crisp

Flavor: sweet

Uses: applesauce, cider, salads or eating fresh

Season: October to December

Parentage: seedling of Grimes Golden

Specialty: easily bruised, shrivels when stored

Ida Red

Texture: crisp and juicy

Flavor: tangy and tart

Uses: sauces, pies, desserts or eating fresh

Season: November to March

Parentage: Jonathon x Wagener

Specialty: maintains texture when baked or stored


Texture: crisp, firm and juicy

Flavor: rich, sweet and tart

Uses: cooking, baking and eating fresh

Season: September to November

Parentage: Golden Delicious x Jonathon

Specialty: will maintain texture for three months when refrigerated

Jonathan (Philip Rick)

Texture: juicy, crisp

Flavor: spicy tang

Uses: blending with other apples, cooking or eating fresh

Season: October to January

Parentage: original apple

Specialty: good for storage

Northern Spy (Red Spy, Red Northern Spy)

Texture: fine-grained, firm, tender and crisp

Flavor: tart, acidic

Uses: applesauce, pie and eating fresh

Season: October to February

Specialty: good for storage

Red Delicious

Texture: crisp

Flavor: full and sweet

Uses: eating fresh

Season: September to November

Parentage: Delicious

Specialty: known for five bumps on bottom


Texture: crisp, firm and juicy

Flavor: spicy, tart and tangy

Uses: display and eating fresh

Season: October to January

Information compiled from the Michigan Apple Committee and

West Michigan cider mills and orchards

Husted’s Farm Market and Cider Mill

9191 West Main Street, Kalamazoo

(269) 372-1237

Apple-picking is available in addition to hayrides, doughnuts, pies, caramel apples and cider brewed fresh each week.

Moelker’s Orchards and Farm Market

9265 Kenowa Avenue SW, Grand Rapids

(616) 453-2585

Besides apples and other in-season fruits and vegetables, Moelker’s offers apple cider, maple syrup and honey.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery

3142 Four Mile Road NE, Grand Rapids

(800) 400-8100

The Apple Haus includes a cider mill and bakery that serves fresh breads, doughnuts, pastries and pies. Customers can purchase home-grown, in-season fresh fruits. Robinette’s also has a corn maze open through October.

Vander Mill Cider Mill and Winery

14921 Cleveland Street, Spring Lake

(616) 842-4337

Vander Mill features several varieties of cider, including cider made from only honey crisp apples, apple cherry cider, apple cider slushes and different forms of hard cider.

Eight ways to enjoy autumn’s apples

1. Caramel Apple – Originating in the 1950s, the apple is skewered on a stick, covered in caramel and rolled in nuts, M&Ms or another treat of choice. The apples are commonly red delicious, but the tartness of McIntoshes and Granny Smiths contrast well with the caramel’s sweetness.

2. Candy Apple – Before the caramel apple, trick-or-treaters received apples dipped in a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, water, cinnamon and red food coloring.

3. Baked Apples – Throw a partially divided apple in the oven or microwave and add toppings like sugar and cinnamon, brown sugar and butter, melted peanut butter, or sweetened condensed milk.

4. Apple Cider – Containing coarse pulp and sediment, apple cider does not go through a filtration process like apple juice.

5. Apple Juice – Unlike apple cider, apple juice undergoes filtration and pasteurization. The resulting product appears clearer and lasts longer. The juice also contains additional ingredients, such as water.

6. Apple Butter – The sweet spread is made from boiled down sweet cider and apples.

7. Apple Pie – Nothing says American like this sweet dessert, known by its cross-hatched top pie crust.

8. Apple Crisp – Whether eaten as a dessert or as a breakfast food, the cinnamon, nutmeg and apple mixture with the margarine and oat topping blends well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How to select apples

1.Choose an apple that suits your personal taste. Find varieties that work best for you and your purposes – baking, salad-making or eating fresh.

2. When selecting a fruit from the market, buyers may come across scars and blemishes on the apples. Often, these marks are damaged by weather, such as hail. The scars do not affect the taste of the fruit.

3. On the other hand, bruises do affect the quality of the product. Watch for brown, soft patches on apples during selection. Bruised fruit should be sold as “seconds,” or in a later and separate batch from the ideal selection of apples. The seconds should have a reduced price and, while not ideal for eating fresh, are good for baking purposes.

Information courtesy of Ruth Smiley, owner of Frozen Creek Farm and Frozen Creek Florals

Apple recipes

Peanut Butter Apple Dip


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup milk


1, In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients.

2. Serve with apple wedges. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy

Applesauce Recipe


3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored and quartered apples (use one of the Michigan apples recommended for making sauce)

4 strips of lemon peel

3 to 4 teaspoons of lemon juice

3 inches of cinnamon stick

¼ cup dark brown sugar

Up to ¼ cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

¬? teaspoon salt


1. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Remove pot from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels from pot. Mash ingredients in pot with potato masher.

Serve either hot or refrigerated. Lasts up to one year when frozen.

Recipe courtesy

Information compiled by Susie Skowronek, GVL Staff Writer