What is a Granny Smith Apple?

Cassie L. Damewood

A Granny Smith apple is a relatively tart apple that is light green in color. It's commonly enjoyed in it's raw form as a snack, but it's perhaps more commonly used for cooking and baking. Usually smaller in size than its popular Red Delicious and Golden Delicious cousins, Granny Smith's are normally available throughout the year in much the world.

Granny Smith apples are tart and light green in color.
Granny Smith apples are tart and light green in color.

Unlike the well-liked Delicious varieties, which are typically favored for raw consumption, a Granny Smith apple is customarily the first choice for pies, tarts and other baked desserts. This is usually attributed to its firmness, which holds up well under heat, and the sweetness the apple acquires when cooked.

A Granny Smith's tartness can balance sweeter fruit in a salad.
A Granny Smith's tartness can balance sweeter fruit in a salad.

A significant number of salads that include raw apples use the Granny Smith apple strain for several reasons. When sliced, this variety is naturally more resistant to the browning that other types of raw apples succumb to. A Granny Smith appleā€™s tartness also plays well against sweeter ingredients in fruit salads like pears, grapes and dried cranberries. Many consumers also favor the Granny Smith apple for salads based on its reliable crispness.

Granny Smith apples with one Red Delicious apple.
Granny Smith apples with one Red Delicious apple.

The Granny Smith apple was created in 1868 by Maria Smith in Australia. Upon immigrating to Australia, she and her husband were enlisted by a government program that promoted the development of rural areas in the country. Smith used the remains of a French crab apple from Tasmania to develop a new strain that flourished in her farm. When the new variety was fully developed, she invited a local fruit farmer to sample it.

The farmer introduced the variety to grocers and wholesale fruit sellers and it continued to gain popularity over the next couple of decades. The Granny Smith apple won various awards in agricultural competitions from 1890 to 1892. Unfortunately, Smith never lived to see her apple become famous as she died in 1870 at the age of 71, just two years after introducing to the public the apple that bore her name.

A Granny Smith apple.
A Granny Smith apple.

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