Gala apples are one of the most popular apple varieties grown around the world. Their sweet taste, crisp texture and beautiful coloring make them an ideal snacking apple as well as an extremely versatile ingredient for cooking and baking. But with so many uses for Gala apples, what are some of the very best ways to enjoy this tasty fruit? Here is an in-depth look at the top uses for Gala apples.
One of the best and simplest ways to enjoy Gala apples is to eat them raw as a snack or dessert. Galas have a naturally sweet flavor that makes them an ideal grab-and-go food. Their thin skin and dense, crunchy flesh also make them satisfying to bite into raw. Try slicing Galas into wedges and dipping them into peanut butter or yogurt for a protein-packed snack. Or dice them small and toss with lemon juice, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey for a sweet and tangy fruit salad.
Gala apples are excellent for making homemade applesauce. Their balanced sweet-tart flavor shines through in applesauce. Galas become soft and saucy when cooked down with a little water or apple juice, without getting mushy. Leave the peel on or peel them first, depending on your texture preference. Then flavor your applesauce with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Make a big batch and enjoy Gala applesauce as a snack, dessert or even as part of a savory dish.
Baked apples are a comforting cold weather dessert, and Gala apples are a great choice. Leave the peel on, core the apples and stuff the centers with oats, raisins, nuts and spices. Bake at 350°F until tender, basting the apples with syrup or juice during baking. The Gala’s firm flesh holds up well during baking. As the apples soften, their sweetness concentrates. Enjoy them warm with ice cream or yogurt. For a showstopping presentation, bake cored Galas stuffed withapples individually in an oven-safe mug or ramekin.
Juice and Cider
With their naturally high sugar content, Gala apples are ideal for juicing and cider making. Use a combination of sweet and tart apples for the most complex flavor in juices and ciders. Gala apple juice makes a sweet and mild counterpoint to stronger flavored apple varieties like Granny Smith. Galas also contribute great sweetness, balanced acidity and a pretty pink color when used in hard or fresh apple cider recipes.
Gala apples hold their shape well when baked, which makes them an excellent choice for apple pie fillings. Their bright sweet-tart flavor comes through beautifully in pies. Combine grated Gala apples with warm spices and bake them into the classic double crust pie. Or highlight their vibrant color in a single crust galette with creative lattice designs. You can also caramelize sliced Galas in butter and brown sugar for an ultra decadent pie filling.
Show off Gala apples in elegant fruit tarts. Fresh apple slices arranged artfully over a sweet crust make a stunning presentation. Gala apples pair perfectly with sweet, creamy fillings like pastry cream, fluffy cheesecake or vanilla pudding. For mini single-serve treats, bake cored Gala halves filled with your favorite fillings. The apples act as their own edible vessels. Garnish with powdered sugar, caramel sauce or a dusting of spice when they come out of the oven.
Cakes and Muffins
Add moisture, fiber and bright flavor to baked goods like cakes and muffins with shredded Gala apples. They add volume and texture to batter and keep cakes and muffins tender. The small shreds soften during baking and melt into the surrounding crumb. Toss shredded apples with sugar and spices for extra flavor. Use them in everything from apple spice cakes to carrot-apple muffins. And don’t forget apple upside down cake, where sliced Galas caramelize in buttery brown sugar before getting baked into the cake.
Fresh, crisp Gala apples lend texture, sweetness and pretty color to fresh tomato salsa and other dipping sauces. Dice them small and mix with tomatoes, onion, peppers, herbs and spices. The apple’s moisture helps balance out dry ingredients. Gala apple salsa is delicious served with tortilla chips or spooned over grilled fish or chicken for a taste of summer at any time of year.
Thinly sliced Gala apples make a flavorful and healthful addition to both fruit and vegetable salads. They retain their crisp texture when mixed with greens or other produce. For fruit salads, toss slender Gala wedges with berries, pomegranate seeds, diced mango and your favorite vinaigrette. On the veggie side, matchsticked Galas complement items like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli.
For a sweet and crunchy sandwich topping, try thinly sliced Gala apples. Layer them on top of nut butter and jams. Or make an apple and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread. Grilled cheese gets a tasty twist with the addition of sliced Galas or applesauce. They’re also delicious in cold sandwiches paired with chicken salad, baked ham or cheddar cheese.
Oatmeal and Porridge
Chopped Gala apples sweeten up a bowl of oatmeal or other hot cereal without adding refined sugar. The apples soften slightly but still retain some bite. Cook diced apples right into your oats along with cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Or top your finished oatmeal with sliced Galas, brown sugar and milk or cream. Try baking Gala apples and adding them to overnight oats for bright apple flavor without turning the oats mushy.
Pancakes and Waffles
Fresh apple slices or applesauce are both excellent mix-ins for pancake and waffle batter. Gala apples work beautifully. Stir shredded apples right into the batter, or fold in applesauce for extra moisture. Cooked pancakes or waffles studded with soft apple bits are delicious stacked up with maple syrup or fruit compote. For apple waffles, press thin slices of Gala apples into the waffle iron before adding the batter.
Try serving sliced Gala apples as an alternative to typical cooked vegetable sides. Roast or pan fry them in butter with garlic, rosemary, thyme and a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup to caramelize. Or sauté diced Gala apples as a side dish for pork chops or sausage. They’ll absorb the savory flavors from the meat when cooked together. Grilled Gala slices also make a tasty side for chicken or fish. The high heat caramelizes their natural sugars.
Fresh apple slices always make a great addition to cheese boards and platters. Gala apples pair wonderfully with soft cheeses like brie and camembert. Choose crisp, cold apples and slice them just before serving for the best texture. Provide a sweet contrast to salty cured meats and savory cheese crumbles. For an extra touch, drizzle the apples with honey or sprinkle them with chopped nuts or thyme leaves.
More Serving Ideas
- Puree cooked Gala apples into rich savory sauces for pork or poultry.
- Skewer apple chunks and shrimp, brush with glaze and grill.
- Mix diced Galas into tuna or chicken salad for crunch.
- Infuse vodka or gin with thin slices of Gala apples.
- Make a galette with caramelized Galas, Gruyere and bacon.
- Stuff an acorn squash with sausage and grated Galas.
- Roast beets, potatoes and Galas together, drizzled with oil.
Gala apples deliver important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with relatively low calories. One medium apple (148g) contains the following nutritional values (Source: USDA):
Selection and Storage
Look for Gala apples that are firm and unbruised. Avoid any with soft spots. The skin should be smooth and brightly colored red and yellow. Size is a personal preference. Galas are available year round, but their peak season runs from mid-August through October. Store ripe Galas in the refrigerator crisper drawer, where they will keep for several weeks. Take out portions to sit on the counter a day or two before eating for the best flavor and texture.
With their trademark sweet flavor, appealing crunch and gorgeous coloring, it’s easy to see why Gala is one of the most beloved apple varieties worldwide. They really shine when enjoyed raw as a snack or sliced into salads. But Galas are also extremely versatile in the kitchen and work wonderfully baked into all kinds of sweet and savory dishes. Their bright taste and hearty texture allows them to pair with a diverse range of ingredients. So don’t be afraid to get creative with new ways to enjoy this classic lunchbox apple. From now through fall harvest, be sure to pick up plenty of these multi-purpose apples for all your snacking and cooking needs.