Apple juice is a popular beverage enjoyed around the world. While there are thousands of different apple varieties, only a handful are commonly used to make apple juice. This article explores the most popular apple varieties used for juicing and why they make good juice apples.
Apple juice has been enjoyed for centuries, with the first recorded production dating back to the 17th century. In the early days, apple juice was pressed and fermented to make apple cider and vinegar. It wasn’t until the 20th century that unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice became widely available.
Today, apple juice is one of the most popular fruit juices around. In the US alone, consumers drink over 40 gallons of apple juice per capita each year. The global apple juice market continues to grow and is expected to reach $9.3 billion by 2025.
But not all apples make great juice. Ideal juice apples have high acidity, lots of flavor, and the right balance of sweetness and tartness. Only a few apple varieties check all these boxes. Read on to learn about the best apples for juicing and why juice producers choose them.
Top Apple Varieties for Juice
The following apple varieties are the most commonly used for commercial and home juicing:
Granny Smith is the most popular apple for juicing worldwide. Originally from Australia, Granny Smith apples now grow across Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and the US. They have a tart, crisp flavor perfect for juice. Granny Smiths also contain more malic acid than other apples, which helps stabilize the juice. Almost all store-bought apple juice contains Granny Smith apples.
Originally developed in Japan, Fuji apples have surged in popularity over the last few decades. Their super sweet flavor and firm texture make them an excellent juicing apple. Fujis contain more sugar and a higher sugar-to-acid ratio compared to Granny Smiths. They provide the sweetness lacking in tart Granny Smith juice.
Another variety that originated from New Zealand, Gala apples are now the third most produced apple in the world. They are valued in juices for their mild, sweet flavor. Galas blend nicely with stronger-flavored apples like Granny Smiths. A touch of Gala balances out the acidity.
Red and Golden Delicious
These classic American varieties are also regularly used in commercial juice blends. Red Delicious offer a mildly sweet flavor and aroma. Meanwhile Golden Delicious bring a honeyed sweetness and golden color. Blending both types results in a balanced, nuanced juice.
Other Popular Juicing Apples
In addition to the top varieties, juice makers may use smaller amounts of other apples as well. Common additions include:
- McIntosh – Aromatic, juicy, and tangy
- Jonathan – Tart, crunchy, and rich
- Braeburn – Sweet-tart and full of spice flavors
- Pink Lady – Sweet-tart, dense, and flavorful
- Honeycrisp – Extremely sweet and juicy
Small amounts of these varieties can enhance the complexity of apple juice. Next we’ll look at why juice producers select certain apple types.
Why These Apples Make the Best Juice
Specific qualities make certain apple varieties ideal for juicing. Here are the key factors juice makers look for:
Apples like Granny Smith and Jonathan provide tartness and acidity. This cuts through the sweetness and provides a balanced flavor. Acidity also acts as a preservative, stabilizing juices over time.
Sweet apples like Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp give juice natural sugariness. They complement tart varieties and reduce the need for added sugars.
Apples with lots of aroma like McIntosh and Red Delicious impart fragrance to juices. Their perfumed notes enhance the drinking experience.
The best juice apples are crunchy and dense. Soft, mealy apples break down too much during processing. Apples like Granny Smith and Braeburn hold up well and yield a thicker, richer juice.
Finally, juice apples should be very juicy. The more juice content, the higher the overall yield. Varieties like Gala and Honeycrisp are prized for their juiciness and juice production potential.
Apple Juice Nutrition
Raw apple juice made from pressed apples retains more nutrients than heavily processed commercial juice. Here are some of the key nutrients found in an 8 ounce glass of raw apple juice:
|Total Carbohydrates||28 g|
|Dietary Fiber||0.5 g|
|Vitamin C||5 mg|
As you can see, apple juice is high in natural sugars while providing a little fiber, vitamin C, and minimal fat and protein. The nutrition will vary slightly depending on the apple varieties used.
Global Production and Consumption
Apple juice is produced and enjoyed worldwide. However, some countries consume far more than others. Here is an overview of top global producers and consumers:
Top Apple Juice Producers
|Country||Millions of Gallons Produced|
China dominates apple juice production, putting out over double the volume of the US. Northern hemisphere countries like Turkey, Poland and Germany also contribute significant supply.
Top Apple Juice Consuming Countries
|Country||Gallons Consumed Per Capita|
On a per capita basis, European countries dominate apple juice consumption. Cooler northern climates seem to favor apple juice. The United States drinks around 11 gallons per person annually.
Making Homemade Juice
It’s easy to make fresh apple juice at home with basic equipment. Follow these simple steps:
- Select juice apples – Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, etc.
- Wash apples thoroughly.
- Chop apples, removing stems and cores.
- Place chopped apples in a juicer or food processor.
- Process apples, collecting fresh juice.
- Pour juice through a strainer to remove solids.
- Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator.
For the best results, drink the homemade juice within a couple days. Raw apple juice lacks the preservatives of store-bought brands. But the fresh, sweet taste can’t be beat!
Choosing the Best Juice Apples
When selecting apples for juicing, keep these tips in mind:
- Go for a blend – Using 2-4 complementary varieties results in the best flavor.
- Mix sweet and tart – Balance sweet apples with more acidic, tart ones.
- Feel the firmness – Denser apples yield more juice than soft types.
- Inspect color – Some skin coloring is fine, but avoid heavily bruised apples.
- Taste test – Sample raw apples to judge sweetness and tartness.
With a good blend of juice apple varieties, you can create a delicious homemade juice bursting with sweet and tart apple flavor.
Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, and Red and Golden Delicious are among the best apples for juicing. Their balance of sweetness and tartness, firm texture, and abundant juice make them prime candidates. Countries like China, Turkey, and Poland lead global juice production, while Ireland, Norway, and Estonia top consumption per capita. With the right apple varieties and blend, it’s easy to make nutritious and tasty homemade apple juice.