Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autumn Apples

Now I don't grow apples. I wish I did, but I've never been willing to cut down my existing trees. Every autumn I regret my decision, because autumn is apple season, and the northeast is a perfect place to grow apples. There are lots of orchards and it is easy to find fresh local apples.

In August the early apples come out. Gravensteins are the ones I buy. It is a nice green apple. As all my favorite eating apples are, they are tart, sweet, and crisp. These are only available for a very short time. They don't keep well.

Today at the farmer's market, I was hunting for apples. I came across another of my favorite apples, Honeycrisp. I was surprised. I thought they didn't get ripe for at least another week, but I was happy to buy them. This is a great eating apple. I think it is a little sweeter than a Gravenstein, but still it has enough sour to make it good and as a bonus it stores well. In fact very well, I've been told you can keep them for 6-8 months. Yet despite this I can usually only find them in the stores for about 2 months. I don't consider it a very pretty apple. In the photo they are the apples in the back. It can't make up its mind if it is green or red.

The apples in the front are the first Macintoshes of the season. I consider them premier cooking apples (along with Cortlands). They make fabulous applesauce. Most people don't like them for pies because they mush down too much when they cook, but our family likes our apple pies and cobblers mushy. We don't like to have crunch in our cooked apples.

I've never understood why Delicious apples (the most mendacious name in history) are the premier apple in grocery stores. Yes they are very pretty. None of the other apples I've mentioned so far can hold a candle to their beauty, but they are mealy and don't have that burst of tartness. In fact they don't have much flavor at all. Comparing a Honeycrisp to a Delicious is much like comparing an out of season grocery tomato to a sun ripened home grown tomato. There is no comparison.


  1. You area girl after my own heart. I don't like Red Delicious although it is my husband's favorite. Macs are my favorite and if I can find a green, sour, one that makes my glands respond, wow, I'm in heaven. Not too many farmers will pick them green, so sometimes I have to place a special order. I love the pop of the peeling when I bit into it and the juice. They're also my favorite for pies. I too love them mushy!

  2. The apples are starting to be ready for picking over here as well. Yesterday I went to our local grocer that sells produce grown locally and picked up some Ginger Apples. I had never heard of these before but they were very good. An interesting shape as well. Your picture today sure makes me think of Autumn and October!

  3. Hear Hear.

    Red delicious are my least favourite apple. I love the green with a hint of pink or red of fujis, batlows, and so many more. We don't have honey crisp in Australia I don't think though :(

  4. Red Delicious travel well. Tough little buggers. That's all I can say about them.

    Golden Delicious are one of my favorites though and I will eat those as often as I can.

    Never cared for Macs but I got some Enterprise last year and I thought those were good.

    I'm looking forward to apple season!

  5. I've never had a honeycrisp apple, but we grow golden delicious in our yard. Two tree fulls, and they are always delicious at the end of the season. They are a bit tart and sweet at the same time. i love them. Maybe the store apples aren't as good because of the preservatives they use. Gr

  6. Jane Marie: I've never eaten Macs fresh. I confess to liking more sugar in my apples. That's why I like to bake with them. You can make them as sweet or as sour as you like.

    Cynthia: If you are talking about Ginger Golds, I bought one of those too. They are such pretty apples.

    han_ysic: I'm sorry they haven't made it there yet. The Gravensteins are a very old apple, more than a century old. But the Honeycrisps are relatively new, I think they were introduced in the 90s. So maybe they just haven't made it there yet?

    Tam:I always figured that Red Delicious was so ubiquitous because they kept well. I should have guessed it was because they travel well.

    dp: I actually did mean the Red Delicious apples. I should have been more specific. But store bought apples probably do lose their taste a bit since they are usually stored for long times. I'm thinking about getting a lot of honeycrisps and storing them in my basement for the winter. I hope they don't lose their taste.