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Apple showdown: Honeycrisp vs. SweeTango

IMG_8516On the left, we have the reigning king of new apple breeds, the Honeycrisp.

On the right, its up-and-coming offspring hybrid, the SweeTango. Annoying name, good apple.

I’ve read that Honeycrisp apples are cultivated so widely that there is quite a bit of variation, while SweeTango growers all belong to a closely regulated association and are therefore more consistent.

The two apples above were plucked from side-by-side bins at Whole Foods Market. The Honeycrisp cost more than $2 for one apple. Yipes! The SweeTango was a little over a buck.

How do they compare?

The Honeycrisp had that great texture — more like extra crisp watermelon than like a typical apple. Its abundant juiciness segued well into its characteristic flavor of tangy apple cider.

The SweeTango was firmer, but still had that porous, bursty texture. The analogy that comes to my mind: these apples are matte, while Fuji and Gala are glossy. (The McIntosh is like an old Polaroid.)

The flavor of the SweeTango is quite different — sweeter and more puckery, with a spice-forward personality. It’s almost like a natural version of that sour apple liqueur that people used to drink before cocktails got good.

I love both but, considering the price, will likely buy more SweeTango this season.

– by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

25 comments Add your comment

Finn McCool

October 8th, 2013
10:02 am

Interesting to note that if you take the seeds from any 1 apple and plant all those seeds, none of the seeds will grow into an apple tree like any of the others, or even like the parent apple tree.

Blows the mind, huh?

The only way to get a second identical tree is to do a tree graft. In other words, the only way there is more than one Granny Smith apple tree is because the trees were grafted.

For more on this check out Michael Pollan’s book “Botany of Desire”.

stephieZ

October 8th, 2013
10:23 am

@finn Loved that book! A very interesting read!

Doc Hollidawg

October 8th, 2013
10:26 am

Whole Foods had the Honeycrisp on sale this past weekend. Target and Publix also have Honeycrisp, but still typically around $2.00-$2.49 a pound. Love em…but will give the Sweetango a try now too.

Finn McCool

October 8th, 2013
10:43 am

But how do these two compare to the Apple iPhone 5?

Road Scholar

October 8th, 2013
10:56 am

Finn: More digestible! Easier to pass!

William Tell

October 8th, 2013
12:45 pm

The last Fuji I bought, about 10 days ago, was completely flavorless. I wound up tossing it. I guess they’re done for the season.

Brian Cranston

October 8th, 2013
1:28 pm

Northern spy apples are better than both but sweetangos are better than honeycrisps.

Bob from Accounttemps

October 8th, 2013
1:47 pm

I’m more of a traditionalist. I still prefer the good ole Red Delicious. Juicy, crunchy and not too, too sweet.

Kathy McGraw

October 8th, 2013
9:12 pm

When my husband and I visit our daughter in Atlanta she takes us to matthew’s cafeteria . We love the food there and was wondering if they would share the recipe foe the squash casserole?
I hope I contacted the right person to help me.Thanks for your time.
Kathy McGraw
Plano, Texas

AzCat

October 9th, 2013
8:28 am

Bob, I gave up on Red Delicious years ago. If they weren’t mealy, they were flavorless. Maybe I need to try them again. Gala and Fuji in our house, with an occasional Granny Smith for the better half; she loves the tartness.

John, over $2 for one apple? Ummm…no.

Edward

October 9th, 2013
9:35 am

I tend to buy Fuji apples at Fresh Market. I recently tried some Gala since they were on sale, but even though they were very fresh and firm, they still had a “mealy” texture that I just can’t stand. The Fuji apples, though, are consistently crisp. I’ve tried Honeycrisp, but I honestly can’t justify the high price for them. I will give the SweeTango a try, though.

Kathleen

October 9th, 2013
9:51 am

I recently bought some Jonagold apples from the Mercier Orchards of Blue Ridge at the East Atlanta Farmer’s market. They are a cross between a Johnathan and a Golden Delicous, they were very very good.

(the other) Rodney

October 9th, 2013
10:02 am

I know it’s just because of the name, but I LOVE the Pink Lady apples. I am, however, going to pick up some SweeTangos. I love SweeTarts so … maybe … ;)

Kar

October 9th, 2013
10:05 am

Call me old school but lately I’ve been digging the golden delicious. Not quite the supersweetness of the fuji but they’re classics for a reason. Good shelf life, low sawdusty texture, good moisture and they don’t bruise easily.

Kar

October 9th, 2013
10:08 am

And I don’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy them.

Baltisraul......

October 9th, 2013
1:10 pm

I used to buy apples and not pay any attention to the price. Now I will. WOW

MsAtl

October 9th, 2013
1:37 pm

Aldi’s sells the Honeycrisp apples for around $2.00 per bag.

Cat70

October 9th, 2013
2:10 pm

After reading the review, I bought some Sweet Tango’s at the Farmers Market today. Sweet Tango is OK, but a little sweet for my taste. Price at the Farmer’s Market was higher per pound than Honey Crisp! Honey Crisp (which I have bought for years) definitely can taste different depending on where it is grown. Best and most consistent with the earlier versions in my opinion are Honey Crisps from Washington State. (The Honey Crisps being sold at Aldi’s currently are from Washington state. 3 pound bag, $2.38. Watch for evidence of bruising – Aldi’s can be a little rough on handling on occasion.)

Drew

October 9th, 2013
3:55 pm

Debbie Downer…

Apples are #1 on the Dirty Dozen produce list this year. Buy organic if you can.

John: were the prices you referred to comparing, for lack of a better term… apples to apples here? Meaning organic to organic or conventional to conventional?

Bob from Accounttemps

October 9th, 2013
8:42 pm

@AzCat – unfortunately, you’re right — I’ve more recently had similar experiences. Too bad because I do like them.

Wilbur

October 10th, 2013
10:07 am

I like mutsus. Not that easy to find, last bought a big bag at the Ellijay apple festival.

Edward

October 13th, 2013
11:32 am

I bought some called Envy at Publix. They look nice, feel firm, but they have that dreaded mealy texture. I’ll go back to the Fuji organics at Fresh Market.

Baltisraul......

October 13th, 2013
12:37 pm

Edward…….is the dreaded mealy thing anything like nervous leg syndrome?

Julie

October 13th, 2013
8:55 pm

I’m not a big apple buyer. In fact Fall is the only time I do treat myself to them and when I do they’re HoneyCrisps. but today I bought a few SweeTangos and tried one. SweeTango is juicy and slightly “spiced” but to me the texture is “mealy” where as a HoneyCrisp has a harder, crunchier texture I find more pleasant. So back to the HoneyCrisps for me.

Ann

October 13th, 2013
9:55 pm

@ Wilbur – Hillcrest Orchards had the mutsu’s in the self-pick section last weekend and probably in their store as well.