Apples are grown in every state in the union, including Alaska and Hawaii. Although there are more than 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S., only the crab apple is native to the continental U.S., according to the University of Illinois Extension. Washington is the top apple-producing state in the U.S. Among the most popular varieties of apples produced in the U.S. are the Red Delicious, the Gala and the Granny Smith.
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The Red Delicious is the most popular apple export from Washington, according to the Washington Apple Commission. This variety was originally produced commercially in the late 1800s in Peru, Iowa, where it was known as a Hawkeye apple. Red Delicious apples are identified by their bright red color, heart shape, crunchy texture and sweet, mild flavor. This variety of apple is harvested in the fall but is available year round.
Gala apples are a somewhat recently introduced variety of apple in the U.S. This variety was developed by New Zealand growers who crossed the Golden Delicious variety with a Kidd’s Orange. Gala apples are distinguished by their pinkish-orange flecked skin and crisp, sweet flesh. Gala apples are harvested in late summer and are typically available in U.S. grocery stores from September through May. Gala apples are good for eating raw, but are also a good choice for using in salads, sauces, pies and other baked goods, according to the Washington Apple Commission.
Granny Smith apples first came to market in Australia in the 1860s, according to the Washington Apple Commission. These tart, crisp green fruits were originally believed to be developed from French crab apples by Maria Ann Smith. Granny Smith apples are prized for their versatility. They can be baked into pies, frozen, cooked for sauces and used raw for salads and snacks. Granny Smith apples are harvested from late fall to early winter, but are available in U.S. markets year round, according to AllAboutApples.com.