Sunday, September 25, 2016

Apples, Apples, Apples

One of many joys of autumn… apples. With the cooler temperatures come the days of family activities and childhood trips to local orchards to ride the hay wagons, watch the cider mill crush freshly picked apples, and sample the cold clear cider. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?

Nothing can cause more divergent views and bitter arguments than the question, “Which apple has the best flavor?” Sweet, tangy, crunchy, crispy are characteristics of apples. Your favorite apple is a personal choice based on complex flavonoids and each individuals complex and personal taste buds. 

Let's start with McIntosh. One of the best table, eating, or lunch box apples. The McIntosh apple has a green skin with red blush. It grows best in colder climates and grew historically first, in northern Canadian. It is crisp and juicy with white flesh and a tart flavor. Look for the new crop in late September. 

McIntosh apples, one of many heirloom varieties

If apples had children, the "McIntosh Family" of decendents would include Jersey black, Macoun, Newtown Pippin, Spartan, CortlandEmpire, Jonamac, Jersey Mac, Lobo, Melba, Summered, Empire, and Tydeman's red.


Most people are familiar with some of the older, well known apples. I like the story of the Esopus Spitzenburg' or  'Aesopus Spitzenburgh.' heirloom apple grown at Monticello. Jefferson would write home to his family while in England or Paris and become disappointed when his daughter's letters in response, didn’t seem to share the enthusiasm he had for his gardens and orchards. He wanted more details.

Here are a few, of many apples, considered heirlooms.

Orange Pippin                       Ashmead Kernal             Roxbury russet

Grimes Golden                                      King David heirloom apple

Some orchards specialize in maintaining a large and diverse selection of heirloom apples.

Exciting and New


Favorite apples to use for baking are Hubbardston Nonesuch, Cortland, Bramley's seedling, Duchess of Oldenburg, Gravenstein, Greening's Rhode Island, Holstein, Paulared, Red Astrakan, Twenty ounce, Wolfe River, and Baldwin.


Apples won't ripen further after being picked. Some apples will convert their starches into sugar after being picked. This is known as "curing", and is best achieved by leaving fruit in the refrigerator. 

Locally Grown

Several states have apple associations that  welcome visitors and provide information about varieties grown in their state.

California Iowa New Hampshire Vermont
Colorado Kentucky New Jersey Virginia
Connecticut Maryland New York Washington
Georgia  Massachusetts North Carolina Wisconsin
Idaho Michigan Ohio USA National
Illinois Minnesota Oregon
Indiana New England Pennsylvania

Easy Recipe with No Rules

Cobb Salad with apples, red pears, cranberries, pecans, eggs, bacon, white cheese on a bed of lettuce
substitute, omit, add your favorites
with easy homemade  poppy seed dressing