Are Sour Apples Good? (The Truth About This Popular Fruit)

When you imagine sour apples, green apples come to mind.

It is a common misconception that all green apples are sour. Even though a lot of green apples have a tart flavor, not all of them are sour.

Unripe apples are sometimes confused with sour apples because they’re green, but sour apples can be both red and green.

Apples have a certain sourness level because of organic malic acid. Malic acid gives a smooth, tart taste, and sour apples tend to have 90% to 94% of total acid content (1,2).

This acid varies in quantity in apples with both sweet and sour flavors.


Why Are Green Apples Sour?

All apples exhibit sour flavor because of malic acid, but a few apples are so acidic they have been termed Sour Apples.

Both red and green apples have sour varieties, and the difference between their sourness is caused by the different types of acids that they contain.

Green apples have a sharper, sour flavor because they have a higher malic acid content. Malic acid is one of the main acids in apples and is responsible for the fruit’s distinctively sour flavor.

However, red apples have a higher concentration of quinic acid. Quinic acid is a sweetness-canceling component found in fruits and vegetables (3). It is responsible for the sour flavor of red apples.

The ratio of these two acids is responsible for the sweetness in red apples and the sourness in green apples. The sourness is directly proportional to the quantity of malic and quinic acids (4).

Not all green apples are sour; they can have sweet and tangy flavors. This is brought on by excessive sugar and malic acid levels.

When it comes to fruits, many people frequently equate unripe or sour flavor with the color green. This isn’t the case when it comes to apples. Green is one of the many hues of ripe apples.

You shouldn’t automatically assume that all green apples are under-ripe and, thus, sour.


What are the Health Benefits of Sour Apples?

Sour apples have a low sugar content and are loaded with essential nutrients.

They offer the following health benefits (5,6,7):

  • Apple juice has vitamins A and C, natural moisturizers; they hydrate your skin and prevent early aging.
  • Apples are high in Vitamin C, which lowers the risk of skin cancer by shielding the skin cells from UV radiation.
  • Regular intake of sour apples can prevent acne breakouts, eczema, dark circles, and other skin issues.
  • The application of apple juice to the scalp relieves dandruff.
  • Want strong, healthy hair? Eat sour apples.
  • Apples have pectin, which improves heart health and lowers cholesterol.
  • Apples are recommended to treat cardiovascular problems.
  • High fiber in sour apples improves digestion and prevents constipation.
  • Apples have a low-fat content and are helpful with weight loss.
  • They have a high concentration of antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which help prevent various diseases.
  • The anti-inflammatory compounds in sour apples build and strengthen the immune system and protect against diseases like asthma.
  • The malic acid in sour apples cleanses the liver and removes toxins from the digestive tract.
  • Sour apples can naturally bring down high blood pressure.
  • They are rich in fiber content and give the impression of fullness for a long time.
  • Apples are low in carbohydrates.
  • Apples increase metabolism and help reduce weight.


How Can You Counter the Sourness of Sour Apples?

By adding sugar!?

Sugar helps counter the tartness of sour apples.

But, adding sugar to the sour apple juices effectively cancels out many health benefits. The better solution is that you pair these apples with other unsweetened food items, such as peanut butter.

Lemon juice is another way to counter the sour flavor. When used in the right proportion, the acidity from the lemon juice balances the sour flavor of the apples.

Cooking sour apples reduces sourness. Letting the apples sit also dissipates some sourness, making them easier to consume.


What Can You Cook or Make Using Sour Apples?

Sour apples are used in multiple recipes, including:

  • Cider
  • Pie
  • Apple Butter
  • Apple Jam
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Desserts


Types of Sour Green Apples

These are a few varieties of sour green apples:

Granny Smith Apples

These light green colored apples are one of the sourest apples out there. Their high acidic content makes them incredibly tart. Juicy and firm, they hold their shape while cooking and can be eaten raw. They are used in cakes, crumbles, pies, and cobblers.

Granny Smiths taste best when bright green. They turn yellow when stored for a long time.


Rhode Island Greening Apples

The closest replacement to Granny Smith, these apples have the same citrusy flavor and stable structure. They make the best apple pies and sauce.

Their taste turns sweet and texture is soft when put in storage.


Newtown Pippin Heirloom Apples

This aromatic variety is acidic and pleasantly refreshing. Their taste has a pineapple-like note. Pippin Heirlooms work best in crisps and pies. Their crisp and juicy flesh sets them apart from the rest.

Like the other varieties, they get sweeter in storage.


Golden Noble Apples

These English apples have a beautiful green color. They are mainly used in recipes requiring pureed apples.


Shamrock Apples

When fully ripe, Shamrocks develop a crimson blush. These sour apples have a creamy green flesh and can be eaten raw. Their short storage life requires them to be enjoyed soon after harvest.

Their sour flavor tastes best in apple sauce.


Lady Apples

This decorative variety changes color with ripeness. Starting from lime green, they become ruby and then crimson. The juicy flesh is covered with firm skin. Lady apples are sweet but with a strong tart flavor. They are mostly used in dishes involving cooking and baking.


Types of Sour Red Apples

Macintosh Apples

This variety is available throughout the year. The hard outer skin protects the soft and juicy flesh. These tart apples are used to make cider and apple sauce.


Cortland Apples

A descendant of the Mcintosh, Cortland apples are a mix of sweet and tart, but the tart tones have a stronger hold on this type. The red skin of Cortland apples has maroon-red streaks. The white, crisp, and juicy flesh have a mature taste that shines in cider, cobblers, tarts, cakes, and other baked dishes.


Braeburn Apples

Braeburn apples are a perfect baking ingredient with a stripy yellow and red skin, juicy white flesh, and a sour and spicy cinnamon-like flavor.

The crisp flesh holds itself while cooking, making it a go-to choice of bakers for making pies, tarts, cakes, and crumbles.

This is an expensive variety of apples and has a deliciously rich taste. The flesh doesn’t become mushy, which means it’s a great ingredient for many recipes.


Empire Apples

This hybrid variety is a distinct mix of sweet and sour flavors. When the empire apple reaches peak maturity, its tartness is at maximum.

Empire apples don’t bruise easily and are extensively used in baking and cooking.


SweeTango Apples

The SweeTango has a distinct white polka dot pattern on red skin. The juicy flesh is full of flavor that starts sour and then gives way to sweetness.


Gravenstein Apples

Gravenstein apples are mildly sweet cooking apples with a long shelf life. Cider, sauces, and other baked goods use this variety of sour apples.

Check also:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What factors influence the sourness of sour green apples?

Multiple factors, including the growing conditions, apple type, and fruit ripeness stage, influence the sourness of apples.

The apple’s tartness may also be influenced by its growing environment. During the growth season, a stressed tree may yield sourer fruit than usual.

How sour an apple tastes might vary depending on its type. For instance, Golden Delicious apples are not as tart as Granny Smith apples, which are renowned for being fairly sour.

Unripe apples tend to be sourer than ripe ones.


What is another name for green apples?

Granny Smith apples and “green apples” have become synonymous over time. Granny smith apples embody all the basic characteristics of green apples. They are green, extremely sour, and perfectly acidic.


Can Granny Smith apples be cooked?

Granny Smith apples are crisp and sour, making them a great choice for cooking. They are combined with sweet and spicy apples and made into jams, crisps, and pies to enhance their flavor.


Are all green apples naturally sour?

Green apples are automatically considered to be sour, but that’s not always the case. Many variants are a mix of sweet and sour, while only a few of them are entirely sour. Purely sour apples have low sugar content and are high in malic acid.


Are green apples acidic in nature?

Green apples have a more acidic content than red apples. These sour apples have 90% to 94% of malic acid. They have an average pH of 3.2, which means they’re very acidic.


Is there any harm in consuming sour apples?

Eating sour apples in abundance can cause a variety of side effects, including allergic reactions: itching, hives, rashes; swollen, red, or blistered skin; fever; trouble breathing, talking, or swallowing; wheezing; hoarseness; or swelling of the lips, face, tongue, mouth, or throat.

Additionally, some varieties can cause acid reflux and similar symptoms, such as bloating, nausea, dry cough, belching, regurgitation, heartburn, and abdominal pain.