The apple alphabet: know your Granny Smith from your Royal Gala

A bit of fruity knowledge a day keeps the doctor away

Ah, the apple – the undisputed queen of quick, healthy snacks. Whether you enjoy them on their own, prefer to peel, chop and juice them or like to use them in mains and desserts, there are loads of varieties to suit all tastes. Here are four of our favourites and the recipes that make them shine:

Granny Smith

Elders should be respected, they say, and this legend is no different; crisp, crunchy and just the right side of tart. The Granny Smith’s origins can be traced to Australia, where, in the 19th century, farmer Marie Ann Smith found a seedling growing on her land.

Use them in:

Smoked salmon, apple, beetroot and hazelnut salad
 Apple crumble turnovers with custard
Apple and blueberry crisp

Royal Gala

Instantly recognisable with its rich, dark red skin, these apples are great for cooking: think sauces, pies and compotes. The Royal variety is the child of the Gala apple, which began its journey in New Zealand as a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd’s Orange Red.

Use them in:

Salted caramel apple tarte tatin
Mini rooibos and apple gingerbread loaves
Tray-baked chicken, potatoes, apples and onions


A contender for the juiciest apple of them all, the Diva offers up a bite you won’t forget. Full of sass, this crunchy delight is sweeter than most red varieties and doesn’t bruise easily – you wouldn’t want to mess with it.

Use them in:

Apple and marshmallow tartlets
Apple cinnamon cake
Banana, apricot and almond bites

Pink Lady

Shiny and sweet (thanks to the extended length of the time they spend growing on the tree), Pink Lady apples are ideal for children’s lunchboxes. A cross between a Golden Delicious and a Lady Williams, they were invented by farmer John Cripps in 1973 – he took the best elements from both and combined them to create one classy, crunchy affair.

Use them in:

Cinnamon apple crumble bars
Pink Lady apple and mango salad with passion fruit and orange dressing
Fruit ‘leather’ roll ups

Or, add to any of these school lunchboxes:

Crunchy lunchbox quinoa falafel
Salmon, rice and edamame
Lunchbox mini miso chicken skewers

Not done yet? That’s ok – we’ve got plenty of apple-inspired dishes to keep you going.