Tart apples aren’t the best snacking apples because of their sour flavors.
However, tart apples are usually good for cooking and baking.
These apples are preferred over sweet apples for apple sauce, cider, pie, tart, and cake recipes because of their complex taste.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most well-known tart apples.
10 Types of Tart Apples
All apples have acids like ascorbic acid and malic acid.
However, the amount of acid differs from one variety to another.
Apples with higher levels of acid tend to be sourer than sweet.
Here, the acidity shines through the sweetness, making the apple sourer than sweet. Here are some examples.
1. Granny Smith
When you think of tart apples, the first name that comes to mind is the Granny Smith apple.
This iconic green apple is renowned for its extremely tart flavor profile.
We can trace its origins to Australia, where a woman named Maria Smith spotted it growing out of a pile of French crab apple cores.
She propagated the apple plant, and it produced tart green apples that soon became world famous.
Granny Smith apples are bright green when fully ripe. They hold up very well in storage and last longer than most other varieties.
These apples have complex and bold flavors. They have a strong tartness, with hints of sweetness shining through.
Granny Smith apples are widely used for cooking. They’re used in recipes like apple pie, crumble, cobbler, and cake.
2. Northern Spy
Northern Spy apples are large crimson red apples with streaks of yellow and white on their skin.
These apples originated in East Bloomfield in New York. They’re crisp and juicy.
Northern Spy apples are very tart with hints of sweetness.
The flesh is slightly acidic, which makes them good for apple juice and cider.
This apple matures late. It holds up well in storage and has good resistance to diseases.
Some of the uses of this apple include desserts like pies, tarts, and cobblers.
Braeburn apples have orangish-red skin with yellow streaks running all over their surface.
The skin color will change according to the growing conditions.
This apple variety was first noticed in New Zealand. It was later exported to other parts of the world.
The most attractive thing about Braeburn apples is that it requires less care but produces high yields.
Braeburn apple trees produce medium to large-size apples with both sweet and tart flavors.
Their sourness is more predominant.
The flesh of the apple is crisp and firm. Hence, it’s good for cooking.
The apples don’t release too much moisture and retain their shape during cooking.
This apple is widely preferred for making tarts.
The complex flavors of Braeburn add depth to dishes like cakes, tarts, and other apple-based desserts.
This apple is also widely enjoyed as a dessert apple.
4. Pink Lady
Pink Lady is an apple that leans toward tartness, though it also has sweet notes.
This apple originated in Australia but is now cultivated all over the world.
It’s as attractive as its name, with beautiful pinkish-red skin and a round shape.
The bright white flesh of Pink Lady apples is crisp and juicy. It has a good bite which makes it taste great in salads.
This apple can withstand oxidation better than other apples.
Hence, it doesn’t quickly turn brown when sliced. Pink Lady apples are versatile.
You can eat it raw or use it for cooking. It’s a good ingredient for pies and tarts.
It’s also used to make pink cider. This apple holds up well in storage.
McIntosh apples are small to medium-size apples with tart flavors.
They originated in Canada and are considered the national apple of Canada.
These apples have characteristic red and green colors and are round to oval in shape.
The color of the apple will depend on the growing conditions, with red being more prominent when they’re grown in abundant sunlight.
The flesh is soft and crispy. It tastes like cider with a strong acidic flavor. However, McIntosh apples also have sweet notes.
The skin of this apple is prone to bruising. Hence, you should handle these apples carefully.
You can use these all-purpose apples for eating as well as cook with them.
Their complex blend of flavors makes them an excellent choice for apple juice and cider.
Jonathan apples are an heirloom breed of apples that grow to medium size.
They have tough and smooth red and yellow skin.
The colors of this apple are not vivid; hence it doesn’t look very attractive.
However, the excellent flavors of this apple make up for what it lacks in looks.
These apples are crispy and very juicy. They don’t have a strong crunch.
They’re aromatic and smell like cider. The flavor is mostly acidic, with subtle hints of sweetness.
Although these apples aren’t crunchy, they’re widely used for snacking.
They also hold up well during cooking and are used to prepare various desserts and applesauce.
The SweeTango is a very attractive apple with bright pinkish-red skin speckled with white dots.
It’s just the right size for snacking.
This apple was developed as a cross between Honeycrisp and Zestar. It’s crunchy and flavorful.
This apple has an exciting flavor. The first bite is tangy and crisp.
However, the sourness quickly gives way to a delicious sweetness with aromatic hints of spice.
This complex and satisfying medley of flavors makes it a very appealing apple for various purposes.
SweeTango apples are good for snacking, and they’re popular as dessert apples.
However, they hold up well during cooking. You can use them to make apple crisp, apple sauce, pies, and tarts.
Cortland apples are incredibly tart and sweet at the same time.
They have bright red skin and crispy, juicy flesh. They’re soft but not delicate like McIntosh and other varieties.
This apple doesn’t store well. Hence, you must consume it quickly after plucking.
It loses its crispiness and sweet flavors when stored for too long.
The Cortland apple has a mix of flavors with hints of spice. It’s not as sour as the McIntosh.
This apple is good for pies because it infuses the dish with beautiful flavors.
It’s also good for pairing with cheese and can also be used in salads.
9. Pink Pearl
Pink Pearl apples are unique apples with pink flesh and yellow-green skin.
This variety is believed to have been developed by a north California breeder.
This apple has an unusual appearance because the flesh is pink, and the skin is yellow.
It’s a medium-sized apple with a conical shape. The flesh is crisp and juicy, with just the right crunch.
The flavor of the Pink Pearl ranges from tart to sweet-tart.
The fruits must be plucked immediately upon ripening, or they will spoil quickly.
These apples are very versatile and can be used in various recipes. They’re widely used to make pink applesauce.
You can also use them to prepare apple crumble, pies, tarts, scones, and even sherbets and snack bars.
This apple is also the parent apple for various cultivars like the Pink Princess.
Interesting Further Reading: Can Saucepans Go in The Oven?
Gravenstein is a tart apple that is widely used for cooking and baking.
The origin of this apple is unclear, but it’s widely grown in the Northern Hemisphere.
This apple has yellow-green skin and red mottling on the surface.
The extent of mottling varies according to the growing conditions, and it’s more prominent when the apple tree is exposed to more sunlight.
Gravenstein apples are generally used to make apple sauce and cider due to their sour flavor.
These apples don’t keep well in storage and must be used quickly after plucking to prevent spoiling.