Apple season is in full swing, and that means apples are crisper, sweeter and riper than ever, with dozens of varieties available at pick-your-own orchards and farmers’ markets. And if you find yourself trying to decide between Mutsu, Empire, Cortland, Pink Lady and other unfamiliar apple varieties, wondering which is good for cooking, baking and eating out-of-hand, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso is the perfect book to have by your side.
Amy includes a reference section that describes 59 great apple varieties in-depth (with pictures!), but for ease of use, she also divides all apples into four general categories: firm-tart, firm-sweet, tender-tart and tender-sweet. There’s even an “apple varieties cheat sheet,” dividing the apples into these categories, that I may Xerox before heading to the farmers’ market.
The recipes, which span from savory meat pies to apple tarts and breakfast through dinner dishes, all include a general apple category suggestion (and occasionally a specific variety suggestion), so you’ll know you’re using the best type of apple for each recipe. It’s amazing and sure to get you out of the familiar Granny-Smith-for-baking rut.