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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It’s Apple pickin’ time: The definitive guide to pick-your-own apples nationwide Part 2 – What’s Your Favorite Variety?


Always remember, the best variety of apple is the one that appeals to your individual taste.

The following is a list of apples and their characteristics. Just click on the name of the apple variety for a picture.

Arkansas Black: Harvested later in the season; dark purple to almost black in color; medium to large size fruit with hard texture; stores well and is great for baking.

Braeburn: Another later seasoned fruit; yellow base color with orange/red blush and red stripes; originated in New Zealand in 1952; medium to large fruit with cream colored crisp, juicy, slightly tart flesh that stores well.

Cortland: Sept. through early October harvest; a purple hued dull red apple with white soft flesh; it is a McIntosh cross with less aromatic properties; keeps well and is excellent in salads.

Empire: Another McIntosh hybrid crossed with Red Delicious; originally introduced in New York State in 1966; dark red with creamy white flesh that is juicy with a slight acidity; most enjoyable eaten when fresh but keeps well for a long period of time; also great for desserts and cider; often available starting in October.

Gala: An early season harvest originally developed in New Zealand; a heart-shaped fruit with yellow and red stripes; aromatic and sweet tasting; small to medium in size fruit; makes wonderful applesauce, good in salads, and eating fresh picked.

Golden Delicious: An old-time favorite introduced in West Virginia in 1900; generally mid to late Sept. harvest; large yellow-gold fruit with tender skin; has crisp, firm sweet and flavorful flesh; works well in salads and blended in applesauce; requires careful picking as it can easily bruise.

Honeycrisp: A medium to large sized, red over light greenish/yellow apple sometimes covered with flecks of reddish/brown; juicy, sweet, aromatic, and crisp; harvested mostly in Sept. it was first introduced in Minnesota and makes excellent eating and apple juice.

Jonathan: A medium sized fruit with a tart yet sweet taste; developed in New York State in 1896; tougher red over greenish/yellow skin; one of the first apples in the fall and a long-time favorite for eating and cooking.

Jonagold: A cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan developed in 1968; a large red over yellow apple with crackling, firm slightly tart full flavor; stores well under refrigeration; harvested mid to late Sept.; works well for pies, salads, baking, sauce and snacks.

Liberty: A highly disease-resistant McIntosh-type apple developed in New York State in 1962; a large fruit, red over yellow; great for eating, sauce salads and desserts; flavor heightens when stored.

Macoun: Was developed in 1909 but not introduced to the general market until 1950; size and shape similar to McIntosh but with deeper red coloring and more strip variations; a very sweet, aromatic and firm fleshed fruit known as the New England Dessert apple but also great for eating, salads and sauces; harvest begins in Sept.

McIntosh: An old-time American favorite since 1811; mild and sweet flavor that’s great for eating, salads and as an applesauce blend; harvested at the beginning of Sept. to Oct.

Mutsu: A sweet crisp, greenish-yellow apple, similar to the Golden Delicious it was developed in Japan in 1930; it’s great for fresh eating and applesauce and is generally available the beginning of October.

Paula Red: A tart-tasting apple with creamy light flesh; one of the first-of-the-season varieties to be harvested; small to medium in size, it developed as a mutation of the McIntosh; bright red fruit over yellow with a dusty-sheen appearance; not overly sweet or tart suitable for eating and cooking when softness is desired.

Red Delicious: For years was the most popular apple in the world; great for eating, salads and applesauce; bright to deep dark crimson skin with fine-grained white flesh; sweet simple flavor with refreshing slight acidity; harvested in mid to late Sept. and excellent for eating, salads and applesauce; harvested later in the season.

Suncrisp: Harvested mid to late Oct; a Golden Delicious-type; red over orange colored, hard fruit that keeps well and best for baking.

Vista Bella: A medium sized, dark red over yellowish-green skin; light and juicy flesh akin in flavor to early raspberries; fine eating apple.

Come back tomorrow for the “who, what, where, when and how” of apple picking.

4 comments:

TallTchr said...

I'm a Honeycrisp and Pink Lady man. Also love Pippin, which are hard to find because they're unattractive: smallish, grayish-green, and often blotchy.

samgillogly said...

Gala's are yummy. Would really like to try the Vista Bella some time. Sounds like a very unusual flavor for an apple!

Michael Pollen's "The Botany of Desire" has a fascinating section on apples and how they mutate and adapt into different varieties. For instance, did you know that if left to their own devices, no two apple trees would produce the same variety of apple? We only get uniform varieties through grafting.

Paula Slade said...

"TallTchr" - Honeycrisp are a wonderful apple - so juicy and flavorful! I don't think I've ever had a "Pink Lady," but the "Pippin" should have been on my list - it's a very popular (mostly California grown) apple that's shipped practically everywhere. Thanks for reminding me! :)

Paula Slade said...

"samgillogly" - I've enjoyed the Gala apple too, and would like to try the Vista Bella as I love a raspberry flavor. Pollen's book sounds fascinating, and thank you for sharing that information - nature is amazing!