What's it like?
It is redder and firmer than 'McIntosh' and, some claim, its flavor, like fine wine, improves with time. It combines the mild tartness of 'McIntosh' with full-flavored 'Red Delicious' sweetness. It is excellent for eating out of hand and in salads and for use in baking and cooking. Small 'Empires' are great for school lunches as kids love its sweet-tart taste and super crunchy texture.
'Empire' is definitely New York's apple and is a cross between 'McIntosh' and 'Red Delicious'. In 1989, international apple researchers ranked 'Empire' the 7th best apple in the world. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva introduced this new variety in 1966.