Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (2024)

Gala apples have a crisp texture, mildly sweet flavor, and classic, beautiful yellow/orange, fine textured skin with red striping. The first gala tree was bred in New Zealand in the 1930s, and these fruits are now worldwide favorites. They are typically available year-round and are the most popular apples in the USA!

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (1)

Contents show

Gala apple basics

The first Gala Apple tree was bred by orchardist J.H. Kidd in 1930โ€™s New Zealand. The variety is a cross between Golden Delicious Apples and one of Kiddโ€™s own types, Kiddโ€™s Orange Red Apples, with a floral aroma.

Since the first gala apple tree was discovered, orchardists all over the world have planted Gala trees, even propagating the best branches (called โ€œsportsโ€) to produce their own improved strains of Gala with desirable genetic mutations. The Gala is now the most popular type of apple in the world!

โ€œGala: This variety, a cross between Kiddโ€™s Orange Red and Golden Delicious, originated in New Zealand. The Royal Gala strain was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite during a visit to New Zealand. It was brought to the United States in the early 1970s and is now one of the countryโ€™s most popular apples.โ€

Apple Varieties: Gala, US Apple Association

Gala trees were bred through the natural cross-pollination of existing varieties. These apples are not genetically modified (GMO). Varying strains of the Gala variety are naturally occurring genetic mutations rather than the product of genetic engineering.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (2)

Flavor profile

Gala apples have a sweet flavor, juicy fine flesh, and thin, fine-textured peel. Their sweet yet crisp taste is one of the main reasons for their soaring popularity. Here are some descriptions of what perfectly-ripe gala apples taste like:

  • Creamy, juicy white flesh with a dense, fine texture
  • Crisp, succulent fresh-apple snap when eaten fresh
  • Subtle, sweet, pear-like taste with slight acidity
  • Aromatic hints of vanilla and sweet apple blossoms

Their crisp, sweet taste makes these apples an excellent all-around apple. The cream-colored flesh is somewhat slow to brown after being cut. Theyโ€™re delicious when eaten fresh and can also be cooked into applesauce or pressed into apple cider.

Their subtle taste pairs well on a charcuterie board with bold cheeses and with full-bodied wines. These sweet apples are also great on a grilled sandwich with brie and caramelized onions. They also contrast nicely with tarter apples, such as the Granny Smith variety.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (3)

Harvest season for Gala apples

Harvest season for the Gala starts in mid-July and lasts through the month of September. Gala Apples are grown in warmer areas of the USA and typically ripen first, while those grown in areas with cold climates ripen in September. New Zealandโ€™s apples typically ripen in February-March.

The flavor is best when harvested at optimal maturity. Orchardists leave these apples on the tree until they have reached peak sweetness, but before the flavor can deteriorate. Galas that are left on the tree tend to have a deeper red blush to their skin, although this is also affected by the climate, fall weather, and the specific genetics of the tree.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (4)

Growing regions

Gala apples have been grown all over the world for decades. This particular variety has flexible growing-climate requirements, making it a viable crop in a wide range of regions. Because they are grown in both the southern and northern hemispheres, these apples are available in grocery stores year-round.

Here are some of the major production areas for Galas:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Northern China
  • Poland
  • Chile
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (5)
Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (6)

Tips for buying Gala apples

Galas are available year-round at supermarkets and stores such as Kroger, Target, and Walmart. The Gala variety has become the most-produced type of apple in the USA as of 2019.

During harvest season, they are also readily available at farmersโ€™ markets and fruit stands. Freshly-picked local apples tend to have better flavor, texture, and shelf-life than those stored and imported for commercial distribution.

While locally-grown apples are wonderful, there are some times of the year when imported apples are fresher. Apples grown in the Northern Hemisphere typically become available in August-February.

Starting in March, the new crop from the Southern Hemisphere become available. Gala Apples from New Zealand/Chile/South Africa are the freshest from mid-March to early July.

The first of the North American Gala Apples are available again in late July, with the majority of the crop harvested in September. The year-round availability of Galas is another reason for their popularity.

A Gala apple is medium-sized and may even be on the smaller end of the apples available at the store (perfect for little kids!). A typical fruit weighs around 6 ounces or 0.35 pounds (150 grams). There are generally 3 apples per pound.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (7)

Cost of Gala apples

Gala Apples cost about $2 per pound when purchased at the grocery store. Bulk discounts are available when lots of apples are purchased at once. A large ten-pound bag of Galas tends to contain between 25-30 individual apples and may cost $10-$15 at a retailer.

โ€œAt the 2019 U.S. Apple Associationโ€™s Marketing and Outlook Conference on Aug. 22, gala production was pegged at 50 million (42-pound) cartons, easily above the 45.82 million carton output of red delicious.โ€

Gala Claims Top Apple Spot, Produce Retailer
Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (8)
Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (9)

How to grow Gala apples

Home gardeners can grow their own Galas with a bit of planning and annual maintenance. These trees can be grown in both cool and warm apple-growing regions, as they do not require as many hours of cold winter temperatures as some other apple varieties (like Honeycrisp apples, which require colder winters).

These apples can be grown from Washington to California, Minnesota to Ohio, and in NY and Pennsylvania. For the best results in your climate, look for a healthy, locally grown young tree. Gala trees are cold-hardy to Zone 4, surviving temperatures down to -30ยฐF (-34ยฐC)!

โ€œWhen planting your tree, make sure that the graft union (the bulge where the root stock has been fused onto the scion) is about 5 cm (2 inches) above the soil line. If you bury the graft union, the scion may grow roots and then your tree will not benefit from the positive traits of the rootstock.โ€

Growing Urban Orchards: How to Care for Fruit Trees in the City and Beyond, by Susan Poizner

Caring for Gala apple trees

The apple blossoms produce best when pollinated with pollen from a different type of apple tree. Good pollinator varieties for Gala trees include Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Coxโ€™s Orange Pippin, and Fuji apples. A neighbor may already have an apple (or crabapple) tree that flowers at the same time, so you may not need to buy two trees.

Trees produce the highest number of apples when planted in a sunny area where they will receive 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. Plant new trees as soon as possible in a wide, shallow hole. Water the tree deeply after planting, and continue to water it regularly as its roots become established. A 1โ€ณ-thick layer of compost can be placed on the soil around the tree as mulch, as long as it doesnโ€™t touch the trunk itself.

Prune apple trees in March by removing vertical shoots, branches that are crossing/rubbing, and any branches that are dead, dying, diseased, or otherwise damaged. Also, be sure to prune other trees in the area to let in the light. Fruit trees need lots of sunlight!

Gala trees in warmer areas like North Carolina tend to bloom in April, while those in northern areas bloom in May. Expect your tree to start blossoming and producing the first apples about 3 years after planting! You may wish to remove a portion of the young apples so that the remaining apples grow larger and sweeter with extra attention.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (10)

Shelf life for ripe Gala apples

Success in storing Gala Apples is largely dependent upon the temperature. A Gala Apple may only keep for a week or two on the counter, while it can keep for 6-8 weeks in the refrigerator (use the crisper drawer). Galas, similar to most apples, can last 4 months in cold storage and can be kept in commercial controlled-atmosphere storage for up to 8 months!

Choose apples that are free from blemishes or bruising, as they will last the longest in storage. Royal Gala apples have thin skin and can be easily checked over for damage. Also, try to choose apples for storage that are at the peak of their ripeness. Over or under-ripe galas donโ€™t store as well. And remember that most apples store best in cool conditions: between 34ยฐ-39ยฐF (1ยฐ-4ยฐC).

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (11)

What to make with Gala apples

Gala apples are excellent all-around apples, meaning they are great for eating fresh AND for use in baking and other cooked recipes. Use your apples to make apple slices, salads, juicing, baked goods, cider, or freeze them for later use.

Baking with Gala apples

Galas are good for baking, particularly when combined with other apple varieties to add some complexity of flavor and fuller texture. The Golden Delicious Apple, which is one of the parent varieties of Gala, makes an excellent pairing when the two types of apples are blended in pies, crumbles, or crisps. These apples can also be combined with Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Spartan apples to make tasty salads, or they can simply be used all on their own!

Gala apple recipes

These recipes are perfect for making with gala apples:

Substitutes for Gala apples

Gala apples are easily substituted with offspring varieties like Jazz, Envy, Kanzi, and Summer Free. The apples from which the Gala is descended are also an excellent substitution choice. Gala is a cross between Golden Delicious and Kiddโ€™s Orange Red (which is a cross of Red Delicious and Coxโ€™s Orange Pippin). Any of these parent apples would be a great stand-in for the Gala.

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (12)

Share this article with friends!

Post

Pin105

Share

Share

Gala apples ๐ŸŽ ๐ŸŒŸ Discover the crunch and sweetness of this popular variety (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated:

Views: 5834

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.