If you’re like me, you’ve gotten overwhelmed walking around the produce section of your grocery store and seeing crates upon crates of different apple varieties. Besides the occasional variation in price, it’s hard to tell what the differences between the apples are, and harder still to know what the best apples for juicing are.
Worry not! There’s a lot of information out there, and this list covers the most important things to know when picking good apples for juicing: taste, size, and any notable nutritional difference. Use it as a guide to start your own apple juicing adventures.
What Are the Best Apples for Juicing?
Your choice of juicing apple is going to depend on a number of things. For example, if you’re making apple juice, you might want to pick a variety of apples, from the very sweet to the very tart, to get a complex flavor. If you want to add apples to a vegetable juice, you might choose a sweeter variety so that you don’t have to add sugar; if you’re making a fruit juice, a tart apple will help offset the sweetness of the other fruits.
Many websites claim that certain apples have more or less sugar or fiber in them. While this is true to some extent, the difference is usually only a fraction of a gram when you compare them by weight. Generally, the only noticeable difference between the nutritional content of apples is the amount of flavonoids (a pigment component which may help heart disease) and polyphenolic compounds (which may help antioxidant activity).
With that out of the way, here are our top picks for the best apples for juicing:
These apples are hallowed for their health benefits. While they may not have as little sugar as some websites claim, Granny Smith apples have a wonderful sour/tart taste to them, and sweetness doesn’t usually develop until the fruit has ripened further.
Along with being on the very affordable side of things, Granny Smith apples are usually a fair-medium size. If you’re making pure apple juice, you shouldn’t need more than 3 to make an 8oz glass.
However, because of their tartness, Granny Smith apples will either work better as a compliment to other sweet apples in apple juice, in a juice of very sweet fruits, or as a sour note to help bring out the flavors of vegetables. They won’t bring sweetness to a juice on their own.
I don’t normally make pure apple juice. Instead, I use apples for their antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins C and A, and juice them with other produce. Since I’ve cut a lot of sugar out of my diet, I find that the other fruits are usually plenty sweet already; adding a Granny Smith apple (or any other tart apple for that matter) really balances out the juices. Because of that and their affordability, Granny Smith is usually my pick for the best apples for juicing.
Did I mention that they’re the variety of apple that can best help repair disturbed gut bacteria too? If you’re struggling, especially while losing weight, adding a Granny Smith a day might help keep the doctor – and expensive probiotics – away.
Red Delicious apples are a staple of the American apple scene. Known for its mild sweetness that only gets sweeter as it ripens, it’s medium-to-large size and relatively low cost makes it a great option for someone who makes apple-based juices regularly.
Red Delicious and other apples that are mild and sweet in taste make great additions to juices that are otherwise lacking in sugars. Adding sweet fruits means you can skip adding other sugars like honey or raw sugar, which are empty calories.
These apples also contain a high amount of polyphenolic compounds — almost double that of some other apples, and the highest of the most common apples. That means that the Red Delicious contains even more antioxidants than other apples. Just be sure to include the skin as much as you can, as that’s where the most polyphenolic compounds are found.
That’s why the Red Delicious is one of the best apples for smoothies; it’s sweet, and the nutritional benefit from the skin can’t be beat. Its popularity and its sweetness often mean it’s touted as the best juicing apple too.
The Golden Delicious apple is not, as the name implies, closely related to the Red Delicious. The details don’t really matter though; what makes this apple different and, in my opinion, one of the best apples for juicing is its thin skin.
A lot of juicers aren’t going to get a lot out of an apple skin. It’s unfortunate, really, as the apple skin contains a solid amount of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but juicers leave the skins as part of the pulpy remains.
Golden Delicious apples, however, have thin enough skins to make the juicing process a bit easier. The flavor is more mellow than its red counterpart, and just as sweet, with flesh that’s smooth and easy for a juicer to handle. If you’re looking for an apple that’s not quite as overwhelmingly sweet but doesn’t have much tartness to it, the Golden Delicious is the way to go.
Fuji apples are large, and their size means just a few apples go a long way. They’re one of the sweetest apples on this list, which means they’re great for apple juice, or adding to vegetable juice, or if you’re having trouble restraining your sweet tooth.
The reason why I put them on my list of best juicing apples though, is very simple, and born out of my laziness: they store very well. While it wasn’t likely a bred trait, as they were popular in Japan before they began to be shipped to the US, Fuji apples are renowned for their ability to keep for long periods of time. That’s great if you’re like me and don’t like going to the store to pick up fresh produce every couple of days.
Like Golden Delicious apples, Fuji apples also have thin skins. The skins aren’t very waxy either, which means they’re great for a less powerful juicer. To me, they’re one of the best apples for juice — right behind Granny Smith apples, of course.
Gala apples are the opposite of Fuji apples. Where Fuji apples are able to keep great flavor during long storage periods, Gala apples start to lose their flavor pretty quickly after they’re plucked off the tree. While Fuji apples are great for storing and shipping across the country, Gala apples often taste strangely flavorless at the grocery store.
Why are Gala apples on the best juicing apples list? If you happen to have a Gala apple tree, or know someone who does, you might understand: when fresh, they’re a balanced sweet and tart apple, and they actually have a faint taste of vanilla about them.
If you’re in a region that gets apples freighted from further away, you might want to skip Gala apples. But if you can get your hands on some fresh ones, I really recommend trying them. They’re small but inexpensive, and because of their balanced taste and more complex flavor, they’d make one of the best apples for apple juice.
The Honeycrisp apple is great to try. It’s a popular choice for juicing if you can’t get your hands on fresh Gala apples, as it stores much better while still having a good sweet-to-tart ratio.
Unfortunately, they’re last on my list of good apples for juicing because of their price. Their trees are high-maintenance, their skins are so thin that a too-long stem may puncture them during shipping, they’re difficult and time-consuming to pick, and the University of Minnesota has a patent on the tree that means each yield owes them $1. All of that means that Honeycrisp apples are some of the most expensive you’ll find in your grocery store.
Those thin skins and balanced flavor, though, make the Honeycrisp a good choice for juicing, even at the premium price.
Apple Juicing Tips
How to Pick Good Juicing Apples
What kind of apples are best for juicing? In the end, it comes down to what your needs are. If you know you have a sweet tooth, or are just starting to drink fresh juices, head towards apples that have more mellow, less tart flavors. If, however, you want a juice that will balance out more savory flavors, stick to something with a sweet to tart ratio you like, or go for a very tart apple like a Granny Smith.
If you’re making an apple juice, try using a variety of apples. Too many super sweet apples might be overpowering, and too many tart apples can easily do the same. Using different apples together can give a more interesting flavor and gives you more control over sweetness, depending on your mood.
Try and pick ripe apples, as they yield more juice. If you’re looking to be more economical, stick with apples that are both large and inexpensive, and don’t worry about looks. It’s all going in the juicer anyway.
No matter what you’re doing with apples, be sure to get organic, pesticide-free apples. Pesticides are such a big issue with apples that many people question whether or not it’s better to remove the nutrient-packed peel just to avoid them.
How to Store Apples
Despite what you may think, apples can be kept in a refrigerator. In fact, storing them in the fridge might be the best way to slow down the ripening process — which is great if you want to buy in bulk and store some for later. If you want to ripen an apple quicker, room temperature will ripen it 6–10 times faster than the fridge.
Be sure to store them in a less humid part of your fridge, like the crisper drawer. Keep them in a bag that will let air flow into and out of it, such as a paper bag; don’t ever store your apples in an airtight plastic bag!
How to Store Your Apple Juice
Always store your apple juice in a glass container unless you plan on freezing it. Freezing is the best way to store your apple juice long-term without cooking it, but can be a hassle to defrost, and a pain if you need more apple juice in a hurry.
Keeping apple juice in a fridge is much trickier, as apple juice will start the fermenting process in 2–3 days. It’s better to either make your apple juice fresh as you need it — follow a juicing recipe that cooks the apples, or pasteurize and vacuum seal your apple juice.
Apple Juicing Hacks
While they’re not exactly life hacks, knowing your way around juicing apples can save you time, money, and frustration. Also, if you want to know what the best apple juicer is, check out our recommendations here.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Apples
No matter what juice preparation method you use, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the great nutritional benefits of apples by losing their skins. If you want an extra dose of dietary fiber, more antioxidants, or more vitamins and minerals out of your apple, do your best to keep the skin. This might mean ditching the juicer every now and then, coring your apples, and tossing them into the blender for a smoothie instead!
The leftover skin and flesh of an apple after juicing is called apple pomace. It contains most of the dietary fiber of the apple, which makes it a tasty and healthy addition to baked goods; it also contains a high amount of pectin — a natural thickening agent like gelatin. It’s used to set jellies and jams if you’re a home canner.
You won’t die if you accidentally leave a few seeds in your apples, either. While it’s true that apple seeds release arsenic if crushed or chewed, you’d have to eat at least over 150 seeds for them to pose a health risk. However, this drops down to at least 19 seeds for a toddler, so be extra cautious when juicing for a child.
How to Juice an Apple Without a Juicer
There are two methods for juicing an apple without a juicer: with and without heat. In both cases, the process is a bit slower, but each has its benefits. Juicing while cooking the apples will help preserve them longer, while juicing without heat will extract more nutrients and take a bit less time.
To juice an apple without heating it, use a blender. Be sure to core the apple and remove the seeds. Then simply cut up the apple into slices, blend it, and pour it into a fine mesh strainer or straining cloth such as a cheesecloth to filter it.
The heating process is more complicated and takes a bit longer but ends up being a great method if you don’t have a juicer or a blender. There’s a ton of great recipes and instructions in the canning community for heated apple juice, and the flavor is fantastic.
What apples are best for juicing? That depends entirely on your criteria. We’ve picked out our favorites and given you plenty of options.
But don’t be afraid to go out and pick whatever looks interesting or exciting. No matter what form, apples make a great addition to juices and stand well in their own juice — in the end, you can’t go wrong.