You know that saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, that only applies if the apple is delicious! No one likes a mealy apple that is flavorless and dry. That is exactly why there are so many different varieties available today!
Manufacturers and cultivars are constantly battling to find the best-tasting apple that has ever existed.
Gala apples and Honeycrisp apples are amongst the top choices today! But, with their extremely similar appearance, it seems nearly impossible to tell them apart! Luckily, we will be covering them today!
So, what are the differences between a Gala and Honeycrisp apple? First, Gala apples are smaller than Honeycrisp. They also have a less stripy look and can come in a variety of colors—even a mixture of some! Gala is mostly orange-red with green-yellow undertones peeking through the stripes.
If you want to learn more about these delicious treats, you have come to the right place!
Today, we will look at each variety individually before comparing them in-depth. We have even included a handy chart so you can more easily compare them.
What Are Gala Apples?
There are many different kinds of apples, which is exactly what we are comparing today. Both Gala and Honeycrisp are common and popular options that you can find across the globe.
Gala apples were developed as a cross between a Golden Delicious apple and a Kidd’s Orange Red. It was first cultivated in New Zealand back in the 1930s by Stark Bros Nursery.
However, even considering it is quite an old varietal, it only became commercially produced in the mid-70s and 80s.
Currently, Gala apples are so extremely popular, they make up about 20% of all commercially grown apples in the United Kingdom.
Gala apples specifically is a cultivar that appears in a wide variety of colors and shapes. It can be red, green, yellow, or multi-colored.
They are considered to be a type of non-uniform apples, also called bi-colored apples. These apples are usually vertically striped or mottled and often have an orange-like hue.
The apples are also considered to fall under the mini dwarf category of apples, measuring at roughly 2-inches in diameter.
Gala apples have a fine texture on the inside and can be very filling. If you aren’t exactly sure what this means, think back to the last time you had an apple.
Sometimes, you finish a big one but still feel like you haven’t even had a bite yet. The finer textured and denser apples often fill people more because they contain more fibers and sugars.
When it comes to the flavor of Gala apples, they can be described as having a definitive sweetness and strong apple flavors. While they aren’t sweet like candy, you will never find one that lacks in sweetness.
Gala apples are available throughout the entire year in virtually every place on earth! But, they do grow between May to September. So, sometimes at the start of a year (between January and March), they become a little bit more scarce.
The reason they are available throughout the year is that they are stored in cold storage in temperature and atmosphere-controlled environments.
These specific conditions help prevent (or delay) their ripening speed and ultimate deterioration.
What Are Honeycrisp Apples?
Honeycrisp apples are another extremely popular varietal that can also be found across the globe. This apple was developed at the University of Minnesota in 1974 but only released commercially in 1991.
The apple is a hybrid between Macoun and Honeygold apples. Although, later it was discovered that there are other parent varietals involved. It is a cross between Keepsake and MN1627.
Honeycrisp apples were specifically designed to be incredibly juicy and flavor-packed, not necessarily to have a long shelf life or be good for cooking.
These apples are so incredibly popular that they are amongst the top 5 most grown varietals across the globe! So, if that isn’t an indication of how good they are, we don’t know what it is!
These apples are amongst the medium to large varietals, roughly measuring between 2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter.
They have a unique red-orange color to them with a yellow-green undertone. These apples are very stripy which allows the undertones to peek through.
Their texture is unique too. As we have mentioned before, these apples were developed to be tasty and juicy.
They have much larger cells which makes them a lot juicier. These cells also hold a ton of flavor, meaning every bite will be incredibly tasty.
They are relatively crispy in texture with soft flesh inside.
This apple has a very complex flavor profile. It has a ton of sweetness but is balanced with some tartness too.
Many people use it for just that reason. It makes an excellent balanced addition to any apple dish because it pairs well with virtually all flavors.
Honeycrisp apples are harvested around September and are readily available until November. However, they don’t last very long, even under controlled conditions.
This makes them become more scarce throughout their growing seasons.
But, you will likely still be able to find them at some stores, especially when they import Honeycrisps from other countries.
Gala Vs Honeycrisp Apples – What’s The Difference?
So, let’s discuss the differences between these two amazing apple varietals and compare their characteristics.
First and foremost, these apples have a completely different appearance. Gala apples are noticeably smaller than Honeycrisp apples. They measure at 2 to 2 1/2-inches whereas Honeycrisp apples are almost 3-inches wide.
Gala apples also have a less stripy and mottled appearance and come in a wide variety of colors including red, green, and yellow. When it is red, it is often confused with the Honeycrisp apples.
Honeycrisp apples are mostly red and orange-like in color with the green undertones peeking through. Gala apples can be bi-colored at once.
Now, when it comes to flavor, both of these apples are very sweet.
The main difference is that Honeycrisp apples are considerably juicier and also have a slight tartness to them. Honeycrisp apples also have a much more crispy texture and are generally less dense.
And finally, both of these varietals are extremely popular and produced right across the globe. While both are available throughout the entire year, Honeycrisp does become more scarce during its growing months.
|Characteristics||Gala Apples||Honeycrisp Apples|
|Originally Developed||1930ss||1974, released in 1991|
|Origin||Originated in New Zealand at Stark Bros Nursery||Developed by the University of Minnesota|
|Cross Between||Golden Delicious and Kidd’s Orange Red||A cross between Keepsake ad MN1627.|
|Popularity||Only become popular in the 1980s and now makes up about 20% of all commercially grown apples in the UK.||This is one of the top 5 most grown apple varietals in the world.|
|Color||Comes in a variety of colors. Often bi-colored. Can be red, yellow, green, or orange.||Undertones of yellow-green, but overall more red-orange.|
|Size||2 to 2 1/2-inches||2 1/2 to 3-inches|
|Appearance||Vertically striped or mottled. This also varies a ton.||Often has a very stripy appearance through which green-yellow undertones peek through.|
|Internal Texture||The inner texture is dense and the apple has a fine structure. This makes it quite filling.||This apple has a crisp texture and soft flesh. It has larger cells, allowing it to be extremely juicy.|
|Flavor||Has a definitive sweet flavor.||Very sweet with a balanced tartness to it.|
|Seasonality||Available throughout the year thanks to controlled storage conditions.||Best between September and February and more scarce throughout the other months. But, it's still available throughout the year.|
Hopefully, our in-depth article covered pretty much everything you want to know about these apples. However, these may be some questions you could find interesting or helpful!
Are Honeycrisp apples sweeter than Gala apples?
Honeycrisp apples are sweeter than Gala apples. They are much juicier and contain a lot of flavors in their large cells.
Even though they also have a slightly tart and acidic undertone, their overall flavor is sweeter than that of a Gala apple.
What is the best-tasting apple in the world?
Honeycrisp apples are among the best-tasting apples in the world. After all, it was bred for its delicious mouth-watering flavor.
Other varieties that are well-known for their flavors include Fuji apples, Ambrosia, Pink Lady, and Cox’s Orange Pippin.
How do you tell a Gala apple and Honeycrisp apple apart?
The most obvious and immediately noticeable difference is their size. Gala apples are much smaller than Honeycrisps. The other main physical difference is their color and spotting.
Honeycrisps have a very stripy appearance whereas Gala apples are more bi-colored in certain areas. And finally, Honeycrisps are incredibly juicy and very sweet.
Which is better for cooking, Gala or Honeycrisp apples?
We would rather use a Gala apple for baking and roasting, considering it has a denser texture and will hold its shape quite well. However, you can also use a Honeycrisp with its delicious sweet flavor.
If you’re looking for some new recipes to use apples in, check out these fantastic ones from the folks over at Tasty!
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