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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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steepholm steepholm
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Malus Aforethought
My apple-buying habits have changed over the years. Back in the day, I remember feeling that Golden Delicious apples were the bee's knees, but now I'd only eat one of the pallid pap globes if desperate. What changed - my taste, or the strain? Reliability is another factor. At its best, nothing beats a Cox's Orange Pippin - which is also the most beautiful of apples, appearing to have rolled out of a Chardin - but it often isn't at its best, and when it falls short it can be a very ordinary fruit indeed. Pink Lady and Granny Smith are similarly variable, both suffering a tendency to waxiness that can lead to heartbreaking disappointment, especially in the case of the pricey Pink Lady. In recent years, I've found Jazz offers the best overall combination of taste, texture and reliability, but it's usually quite expensive. Braeburn too is reliable, if not quite as tasty. Royal Gala is better than Golden Delicious, but still disappointingly bland. And then there's Russet, which offers the apple equivalent of Rupert Brooke's "rough male kiss of blankets" - a lovely apple, but not for every day.

What are your dessert apple choices? How do you rate the ones I've mentioned, and which others would you recommend?



Braeburn

Mean: 6.92 Median: 7 Std. Dev 1.38
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
0(0.0%)
5
2(16.7%)
6
3(25.0%)
7
4(33.3%)
8
0(0.0%)
9
3(25.0%)
10
0(0.0%)

Cox's Orange Pippin

Mean: 7.27 Median: 7 Std. Dev 2.26
1
1(9.1%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
0(0.0%)
5
0(0.0%)
6
0(0.0%)
7
5(45.5%)
8
3(27.3%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
2(18.2%)

Golden Delicious

Mean: 2.00 Median: 1 Std. Dev 1.47
1
7(53.8%)
2
3(23.1%)
3
1(7.7%)
4
1(7.7%)
5
0(0.0%)
6
1(7.7%)
7
0(0.0%)
8
0(0.0%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
0(0.0%)

Granny Smith

Mean: 3.92 Median: 4 Std. Dev 1.94
1
1(7.7%)
2
3(23.1%)
3
2(15.4%)
4
2(15.4%)
5
2(15.4%)
6
2(15.4%)
7
0(0.0%)
8
1(7.7%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
0(0.0%)

Jazz

Mean: 6.64 Median: 6 Std. Dev 1.72
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
1(9.1%)
5
3(27.3%)
6
2(18.2%)
7
0(0.0%)
8
3(27.3%)
9
2(18.2%)
10
0(0.0%)

Pink Lady

Mean: 6.40 Median: 6.5 Std. Dev 2.06
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
1(10.0%)
4
1(10.0%)
5
2(20.0%)
6
1(10.0%)
7
1(10.0%)
8
3(30.0%)
9
0(0.0%)
10
1(10.0%)

Royal Gala

Mean: 6.08 Median: 6 Std. Dev 1.93
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
4(33.3%)
5
1(8.3%)
6
2(16.7%)
7
3(25.0%)
8
0(0.0%)
9
1(8.3%)
10
1(8.3%)

Russet

Mean: 6.56 Median: 6 Std. Dev 1.71
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
1(11.1%)
5
2(22.2%)
6
2(22.2%)
7
1(11.1%)
8
1(11.1%)
9
2(22.2%)
10
0(0.0%)

An alternative eating apple

Tags:

Yes again, the Best blog post titles In The World.

I keep meaning to go to the apple shop at Mapledurham and buy Rare Breeds.

It's something I'd like to know more about, too. The first plant I bought when I moved to this house was an apple tree, and it produces very tasty apples when I get there before the slugs, but I've entirely forgotten the name of the breed!

(no subject) - gillpolack, 2013-03-10 02:40 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-10 08:23 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - gillpolack, 2013-03-10 08:55 am (UTC)(Expand)
An article in The New Yorker on apple varieties a few years ago explained that they all begin crisp, but gradually are bred towards the mealy to improve their storage and transport capacity. This turns them less popular, so new breeds are developed and the cycle begins again.

My tastes are similar to yours - I liked the Delicious some half a century gone, but haven't touched them for decades, went through Granny Smith and Pippin for a while, and now favor the Braeburn and Jazz, along with two other varieties often found here, Fuji and Honeycrisp.

That cycle idea sounds very plausible. In which connection, I don't remember seeing Jazz at all until about five years ago. I wonder if they're a new breed?

Honeycrisp I don't recognize, but Fuji is a familiar name: I'm not sure whether I've ever tried them.

(no subject) - nightspore, 2013-03-10 05:45 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nineweaving, 2013-03-10 06:41 am (UTC)(Expand)
I remember as a child, the first time I ever ate a Granny Smith. I was at a friends house. My mother only ever bought Macentosh. Those are like bags of mush. Horrid.

I find that there are few kinds of apples available. I like Braeburn, Gala, Granny Smith. Probably in that order. I cook with apples too, so I like one that holds up.

I wish there were more varieties available.

Macentosh is new to me - but it sounds like I've not missed much.

Cooking apples are a whole other ball game. We had a couple of Bramley trees when I was a child, and I grew up on pies, crumbles and charlottes made from them, so I think I have a natural Bramley bias.

(no subject) - ethelmay, 2013-03-09 06:45 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-09 10:06 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nineweaving, 2013-03-10 12:08 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - diceytillerman, 2013-03-09 07:26 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - gillpolack, 2013-03-10 02:43 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nightspore, 2013-03-10 05:46 am (UTC)(Expand)
Like you, I buy Coxes when they first appear, russets for the novelty during their short season, and Braeburns when there's nothing more exciting on offer. I can always be tempted by an apple I've never met before, especially if it doesn't stress how sweet it is...

In defence of the Golden Delicious: I'd not buy them for eating, but if you want an apple which doesn't collapse in cooking - for a French-style tart, for example - it's a good option.

Okay - I'll give Golden Delicious a try next time I make an apple tart, with sugar and cinnamon to cover its nakedness.

My mother has Cox trees. The apples are lovely when they're really fresh.

Best apple I ever tasted was a variety called Pitmaston Pineapple. Yellow, very sweet. I understand it only fruits once every two years, and is therefore never grown commercially.

I like the sound of the Pitmaston Pineapple!

Malo: I would rather be
Malo: In an apple tree
Malo: Than a naughty boy
Malo: In adversity


I have a book of cultivars (like these, but with paintings), most of which I've never tasted. I am fond of a Macoun. They're the falliest apple: not mists-and-mellow-fruitfulness, but a sharp-sweet crunch.

Nine

Edited at 2013-03-09 07:45 pm (UTC)

Falls and apples ever did go together. (Was that boy in the apple tree named Felix Culpepper?)

(no subject) - joyeuce, 2013-03-09 10:07 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nineweaving, 2013-03-10 12:03 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nightspore, 2013-03-10 05:47 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - ethelmay, 2013-03-10 02:52 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nightspore, 2013-03-10 05:50 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - nightspore, 2013-03-10 05:51 am (UTC)(Expand)
My favorites are Honeycrisp. Also quite fond of lady-apples.

I prefer Fuji in all applications when I can get them, but if stuck with a Golden Delicious the answer is cooking, especially in otherwise savory or savory-ish menus. Recently had a Golden Delicious left over from a well-meaning guest and roasted it in the oven along with purple carrots and garlic and shallot and tofu, and that turned out very well indeed. But I wouldn't have eaten the damn thing raw.

Okay, I may try the Golden Delicious in a tart or roasted - but it sounds as if it needs a lot of help to be palatable!

I wouldn't eat a Granny Smith out of hand. That, to me, is a cooking apple.

I'm quite fond of (in no particular order) Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn apples. Those are my usual go-to varieties. This year, I was introduced to the Lady Alice, and quite liked her.

We have a Gravenstein in the backyard, and last year's yield was incredible. I am sorry to say that we got tired of apple pie. ("Tired of apple pie" should be on a list of Impossible Things).

"Tired of apple pie" should be on a list of Impossible Things, indeed. As it is, it reminds me of Russell Hoban's Frances: "What I am, is tired of jam."

If you trace the taste trail back further (which I did one year, out of curiosity, I managed to get hold of about 15 varieties that were all in season at the same time, and they took me back as far as the 17th century but only as far as the Gala for current apples) it's not just the texture of the apples that have changed - it's the balance of sweet and acid. A lot of recent apples seem to have a lot more sugar.

This is Kent! We grow real apples here.

Egremont Russet for choice followed by Norfolk Biffin and early season Coxes.

You know you work for a tech startup when you read "apple" and think computers.

My post on blackberry varieties to follow...