Redder and redder, and prettier and prettier.
September 10, 2014 10:03 AM   Subscribe

The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious: How the worst apple took over the United States, and continues to spread.
posted by Faint of Butt (324 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
YES I am excited for crisp seasonal outrage, this is the best post.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:05 AM on September 10, 2014 [43 favorites]


Pleh. Those mealy, nasty things are barely apples.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:06 AM on September 10, 2014 [42 favorites]


For an eating apple, give me a Cripps Pink. Give me bushels of them.

Red Delicious are OK for giving to horses or something (I guess? I haven't checked with any horses).
posted by Wolfdog at 10:08 AM on September 10, 2014 [19 favorites]


I am a huge fan of apples, and apple picking (the season is here, yay!). I do not know anyone who likes Red Delicious* apples, and I am forever baffled as to why they continue to survive.

* Only one of these words accurately describes the discussed product
posted by tocts at 10:08 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Finally, an apple hate-on I can get on board with.
posted by drlith at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2014 [65 favorites]


When any other apple gets to the point where its texture and scent becomes like a Red Delicious, I consider it overripe and beyond Tasty Times.

Red Delicious shows up that way. That is its purpose.

How dare you, Red Delicious.
posted by menialjoy at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


Also every year when there is that early unseasonal spring weather and people get terribly excited to wear short pants in March, I am the furious grump in the corner shouting at them about ruined apple harvests when it's cold again next week.

red delicious apples seems like an appropriate punishment for their wanton frivolity
posted by poffin boffin at 10:09 AM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


I am forever baffled as to why they continue to survive.

In their defense, they are very pretty. Might as well be eating a tire, but a very pretty tire.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:10 AM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


They are AINO (apples in name only).

Last night we had a cheese fondue with Cripps Pink instead of bread for dinner. It was perfect for that.

I'm looking forward to making my annual batch of apple butter which will contain NO red delicious apples.
posted by plinth at 10:10 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I guess? I haven't checked with any horses

There is a pony of my acquaintance who enjoys them but I don't know if he has been elected as a gustatory representative of the equine community.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:11 AM on September 10, 2014 [18 favorites]


I like them. *shrug*. They are crispy and sweet. I find fuji and golden delicious mealy and mostly flavorless.

Granny smith is still the best.
posted by eugenen at 10:12 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Honeycrisps have completely spoiled me. I don't care that they cost 3x as much as Gala. They are awesome.
posted by rouftop at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [56 favorites]


The last time I ate a Red Delicious apple was at JFK waiting for a flight because there was literally nothing else actually food-like to purchase.

I could not believe how awful it was. Like I couldn't finish it. And at many (most?) supermarkets that is all you will find. Sometimes I think no wonder people won't eat real food. "Real food" isn't real food any more.
posted by xetere at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am forever baffled as to why they continue to survive.

I assume it's because they store and travel well, like those abominations labeled 'tomatoes' you find in the megamarts. Thank god most stores (here in California at least) have started carrying heirloom varieties.
posted by Huck500 at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


In their defense, they are very pretty.

And see, that almost makes it worse for me. Because you're right, they are very pretty, and so once in a very great while I think "maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'll like it this time...".

The disappointment is all the worse due to how enticing the packaging is.
posted by tocts at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Macoun apples are the only way.
posted by lalex at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


and you haven't really tasted an apple until you've tasted a good upstate New York Macoun.
posted by xetere at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Eating apples are fairly straightforward, though. The real window to a person's soul is what apples they put in a pie.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


beat me lalex!
posted by xetere at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2014


I am forever baffled as to why they continue to survive.

Probably because they're more affordable? I don't buy them, but I can afford to buy fancier apples that are less red but infinitely more delicious.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:15 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favorite apple is Fiona, followed closely by Pacific Rose. Neither of which are in season often.
posted by asockpuppet at 10:15 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


There was that one bizarre winter where it was 70something degrees one day in January and then more snows and more unfreezings ad infinitum and the honycrisps were unbearably sweet that autumn and I haven't been able to go back to them, my life is sadly appleless.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:15 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Red Delicious are the worst apples. Can't cook with them; skins too thick to bite through without getting apple skin in your teeth; flavorless, mealy flesh. I will happily throw windfall apples from the "not sure what it is" sour apple tree that self-propagated into the cider press. Red Delicious? Dude, why bother. No.

My personal apple preferences are Granny Smith, Baldwin, and/or Macoun for cooking, and Mackintosh for eating, but only during apple season (Mackintosh are only really decent locally and in season). I go with Granny Smith for eating during non-apple times.
posted by pie ninja at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favorite apple is Fiona, followed closely by Pacific Rose. Neither of which are in season often.

Well, don't hold your breath for the Martin to ripen.
posted by psoas at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I assume it's because they store and travel well, like those abominations labeled 'tomatoes' you find in the megamarts.

Please don't remind me. We spend summer gorging on our homegrown tomatoes, and this is the first year we're also canning some to try to help over the winter. Nonetheless, we're on the verge of the Bad Times.

In a month or less, our tomato plants will be no more, and then we'll be tomato-less until sometime midwinter. Only then will we be driven to the supermarket tomato, driven by longing for sweet deliciousness, and it will be a bittersweet day for sure.
posted by tocts at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honeycrisps arrived at WF on Monday; my wife adores them, and it was great to be able to walk into the kitchen and surprise her ("here, catch!"). Pricey, but worth it.
posted by kurumi at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


My new favorite, when I don't want something quite as tart as Granny Smith, is Jazz. Always crisp, not too sweet.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Red Delicious are like the solidified Platonic Ideal of disappointment. Even their name, mocks you. "Delicious," they say "deliciouuuuuus." Then, you bite, and they are neither delicious nor undelicious, they lack all qualities. Well, except for a nasty mealiness.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2014 [20 favorites]


Gravenstein is the best. Hard to find but Trader Joes sometimes has the juice. Distinctive flavor.

I had not seen this site, wow are there a lot of varieties! Really want to try Zuccalmaglio's Reinette.

The Red Delicious sure are pretty tho'
posted by sammyo at 10:21 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ok so what are the best (not too sweet) apples that are available right now today in NYC, tell me tell me.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:23 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Empire is a cross between Red Delicious and Macintosh. It cancels out the bad points of each, and is therefore most delicious.
posted by No Robots at 10:23 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ctrl-f: 'mealy'. Good, I'm not the only one who can't stand the taste and texture of the awful things.
posted by item at 10:24 AM on September 10, 2014 [17 favorites]


The thing about bad tomatoes is that you can roast them or bake them or make them into a sauce. Red Delicious don't even make a good pie.

I remember when I was little, every once in a while you'd get a good Red Delicious and all the other ones would be so terrible.

I don't think they're very pretty. They're clumsy-looking and disproportionate and the skin looks plasticky. The Arkansas Black apple, that's a pretty apple.

I had some really good Cameo apples this year - they are supposed to be "reminiscent of the Red Delicious", but they're not. I mean, they're sweet - and I do like sweet apples - but the flesh is delicate and juicy, the skin is fine, the flavor is complex. They sold out of my low-income neighborhood grocery store in days - I bought a couple to try, went back for more and they were all gone.
posted by Frowner at 10:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Mutsus are the pinnacle of apple perfection.

Red Delicouses are, indeed, so very bad.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


The real window to a person's soul is what apples they put in a pie.

Rhode Island Greenings or GTFO.

Wait, no... you brought pie. You can stay.
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Winesap, if you can find them...
posted by jim in austin at 10:29 AM on September 10, 2014 [15 favorites]


Having been an apple farmer, let me say that Red Delicious, freshly picked are awesome. (Golden Delicious fresh off the stem are rapturous.)

They do not age well or travel well, losing texture, quickly becoming sandy and taste. Don't blame the apple for the evils of big time food distribution.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [28 favorites]


From the US Apple Association, the surprisingly salacious What Kind of Apple Eater Are You?
posted by Kabanos at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honeycrisp4Lyfe.

Unless SweeTangos are somehow both available and not like $10/lb.

This thread is useless without pie recipes. I will attempt to make things a little better by pointing to the Smitten Kitchen's Mom's Apple Cake, which is stupid easy to make (after the peeling, coring, and chopping) and is good (in different ways) with both baking apples and not-for-baking apples.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


For an eating apple, give me a Cripps Pink. Give me bushels of them.

Cripps (apples) vs. Bloods (oranges)

Not even metafilter can stop the ancient rivalry. Pretty soon we'll have people Cripps walking after posting comments on metatalk.

Stop the violence. Increase the peace.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Actually the Red Delicious if it's grow for flavor is pretty good. The small misshapen 'seconds' that would be impossible to find in a store but a tree that's not been pushed to be giant and glossy are all right. A big part of the problem is they are grown for looks not taste.
posted by sammyo at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


eugenen: "I like [Red Delicious] ... They are crispy and sweet. I find fuji and golden delicious mealy and mostly flavorless."

I'm pretty sure you have your mouth on backwards or something.
posted by komara at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [54 favorites]


Honeycrisps have completely spoiled me. I don't care that they cost 3x as much as Gala. They are awesome.

I still haven't been able to bring myself to buy an apple that sounds like it was named by a real estate subdivision developer or breakfast cereal marketing focus group.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


1. Pink Lady
2. Braeburn
3. Granny Smith
4. Honeycrisp
5. Cortland
6. Fuji

...

9000. A box of Borax with the word "APPELL" scrawled on it
9001. Red Delicious
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2014 [138 favorites]


Pacific Rose! I like my apples a bit on the sweeter side (sacrilege, I know), and these are the perfect, audible- across -the -room crisp combination of snappy and sweet for me. so. good.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


We have an orchard at work with various kinds of apple and pear trees that we can take from. What bits would you all need to see pictures of to be able to identify what kind of apple trees they are? I assume apples...would the leaves, pics of whole tree be useful? Anything else? We can have an AskMe quiz later in the week!
posted by biffa at 10:33 AM on September 10, 2014


Mass market apples are shite, right down to the little sticker they all have. Give me something slightly bruised but in season and that tastes of something.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:33 AM on September 10, 2014


I'm no fan of Red Delicious but surely Golden Delicious is the worst apple.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Growing up, we had a Haralson tree in the backyard. They're generally better cooking apples than eating, but still good enough for me to hate Red Delicious from an early age. If I ever manage to move back to Minnesota and get a house, I hope to have a Honeycrisp tree of my very own and live the dream.

So thanks, University of Minnesota, for your wonderful apples.
posted by ckape at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I got to tour an orchard in southern Wisconsin last October, and I picked a Liberty off the tree and ate it. SO GOOD. Really, it was like the perfect apple: green and red, just the right size to fit in my hand, and crisp and tart and snappy and juicy.

The rise of cider-making in the US is also bringing back a ton of heritage apples that had mostly disappeared, including a lot of strains that are not very sweet, as they're meant for cider and not eating.
posted by suelac at 10:35 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


sorry,no. Galas are a second worst to Red Delicious
posted by asockpuppet at 10:35 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


We have an orchard at work with various kinds of apple and pear trees that we can take from.

party at biffa's, everyone
posted by poffin boffin at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


That said, I have very fond memories of Macouns from when I lived in New England...
posted by suelac at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honeycrisps are, of course, from Minnesota. You're welcome, world.

Our favorite local orchard actually grows a wonderful Yellow Delicious, which we eat mountains of each fall. I love apple-picking time!!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I grew up in Minnesota eating all the most delicious apples and then moved to the horrible produce wasteland that is Arizona and never fully recovered from the heartbreak.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Macintosh apples grow all around this area, and they're the only ones that taste "apple-y" to me. Cortlands are a close second, but everything else kind of tastes pear-like to my senses.

Red Delicious taste like literal wax fruit. Awful, awful things.
posted by xingcat at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Mass market apples are shite, right down to the little sticker they all have. Give me something slightly bruised but in season and that tastes of something.

The other night I ate an apple that looked like a nasty green butt. Picked it right off the tree like that. I have no idea what kind it was, but it was the BEST. APPLE. So tart, so sweet, so flavorful, SOOOOO ugly.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:38 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


I always thought I hated apples because of Red Delicious. They are SO AWFUL!! Mealy, bland, disgusting. Then I was exposed to Fuji, Honeycrisp, and other crispy flavorful varieties and am now a big fan. I always get the apple at Panera instead of chips or bread and it allows me to feel so superior and healthy (who cares about the sandwich or pasta I also ordered -- I have an apple and that makes me healthy, dammit!)
posted by Mallenroh at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


When I was a wee girl, visiting upstate NY apple orchards with the Girl Scouts, I decided that Macintosh apples were the best. And while sometimes I am wooed by whatever fancy apple variety is all popular and stuff, going to an apple orchard and eating a Macintosh fresh off the tree is truly the epitome of what apples should taste like for me. So tart and crisp and juicy and perfect.
posted by misskaz at 10:41 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm currently living in an apple wasteland, where they all cost nearly $2/lb and look and taste like a mix of wax and wallpaper paste. My husband, a native, loves Red Delicious apples; they're his favorite. I'm from upstate NY and New England, the land of delicious, floral-and-wine-scented, crisp delights, often put into the best kind of cheddary pie. Needless to say this time of year gets me pretty down.
posted by ifjuly at 10:41 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Red Delicious apples are the reason I still don't think of apples as a tasty snack option. I'm trying, though. Has anyone ever had a Spartan? I think they're a good balance of sweet and tart. No mealiness to be found.
posted by killy willy at 10:41 AM on September 10, 2014


eugenen: "I like them. *shrug*. They are crispy and sweet."

Pistols at dawn, sir.

(Typed with a mouth full of Honeycrisp. Not even exaggerating.)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:42 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sweetango are the best, when available.
posted by Foosnark at 10:43 AM on September 10, 2014


I am forever baffled as to why they continue to survive.

They're unrepentant shit as eating apples, but they're actually a pretty serviceable addition to cooked apple dishes. You can balance them with granny smith and some extra lemon juice and get a great pie. I actually like to include some overly-sweet apples in my apple pies, because it gives me an excuse to go hog-wild with the citrus, which gives it a more interesting flavor without requiring inhuman amounts of sugar to cover the acidity.

As an added bonus, they're usually cheap as dirt, especially when they're being sold next to actual-apples during apple season.
posted by Mayor West at 10:43 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always think of Red Delicious as hotel apples. That is, made of wax to decorate those fruit baskets you won't ever touch.
posted by chavenet at 10:43 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


skins too thick to bite through without getting apple skin in your teeth


How could I forget? The skin that stabs you in the gums, and there is that one piece that you know is still in there, but you can't get rid of it even though you know exactly where it is...
posted by louche mustachio at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


often put into the best kind of cheddary pie

That reminds me-- this whole cheese-and-apple-pie thing. What's up with that? I've heard about the phenomenon, but never encountered it, and honestly it sounds gross-- and this is coming from someone who loves both apple pie and cheese. Seriously, what's the deal?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:45 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I am glad someone has shone a bright light into this den of cockroaches. Hey, Atlantic, can you do tomatoes next? Because the bright-red-umblemished tomatoes I get at the grocery store taste like Hitler's earwax, and it's because of the same horrible marketing decisions that begot the Red Delicious.
posted by Mayor West at 10:45 AM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


but they're actually a pretty serviceable addition to cooked apple dishes.

fie on your perfidy
posted by louche mustachio at 10:45 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


So obviously everything tastes better in California. Except for Honeycrisps! Why are they so delicious on the East Coast and so meh here? Are they being shipped from far away? Grown with too much heat? Where in the Bay Area can I re-experience the joy of a proper Honeycrisp?
posted by equipoise at 10:45 AM on September 10, 2014


Faint of Butt: "often put into the best kind of cheddary pie

That reminds me-- this whole cheese-and-apple-pie thing. What's up with that? I've heard about the phenomenon, but never encountered it, and honestly it sounds gross-- and this is coming from someone who loves both apple pie and cheese. Seriously, what's the deal?
"

Have you ever sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on an apple slice? It's like that, but better.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:47 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Gravensteins all the way! We had a tree in our side yard growing up and most other apples seem like feeble imitations in comparison, though this is no doubt aided by a heaping dose of nostalgia. We got Zestar apples in our CSA box last week, and they ran a close second though.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:47 AM on September 10, 2014


Apples and cheese like each other. Sometimes some apples and a cheese get together and do stuff. I think that's about all there is to it.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:48 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


Sticherbeast: Somewhat like this, but with apples? Also, yes, Braeburn!
posted by Zarkonnen at 10:48 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seriously, what's the deal?

yankee madness
posted by poffin boffin at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Cheesy appley pie does not sound gross! It sounds delicious! I want some right now! I don't think I've had it ever, but I do like a sliced apple with very good sharp cheddar so that's what I'm imagining.

I am generally a very rule-abiding person who tries to be thoughtful, but I have a habit of pinching apples in the grocery store that drives the even more thoughtful people who shop with me crazy.

Many years ago (after I moved to AZ) I was complaining to a friend about horrible vomity mealy apples, and he clued me in that you press them very hard at the store and only buy the ones that resist being dented. And that advice has served me well, despite how angry it makes my sister and husband when they see me doing it.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2014


I will divulge a secret, useful only to people who frequent southern NH. At the Nashua BJ's where the back driveway curves around out the corner of the parking lot, there is a large apple tree, I don't know what kind. There must have been an orchard there once. The tree is abandoned, hasn't been sprayed or pruned in decades, but the fruit can be quite good.

They're doing something similar to what they did to the Red Delicious to oranges now. You can buy a big bag of them in that BJ's. They look perfect - big and orange, with no blemishes. When you get them home, though, you'll find that half their diameter is peel, that they are mealy and not sweet, and that within three days, they start to rot.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Could be worse. We have lost Ansault pears within living memory, and so are left with that nasty sand texture.

Did I say could be worse? Probably will be worse.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


sorry,no. Galas are a second worst to Red Delicious

I first noticed galas in the late 80s or early 90s at the local co-ops. They were really good. Then I began seeing them more and more places, and they seemed to get blander and blander, like there was one flavor shared throughout, and, the wider they spread, the thinner that taste was. I don't know if anyone can tell me what happened, but it was really noticeable -- from my favorite apple to not worth bothering with in about 5 years.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


pie ninja: "Mackintosh are only really decent locally and in season"

A freshly-picked McIntosh right off the tree, just after the first kiss of frost? They are a divine apple. But ephemeral. The winey sweetness stays but the texture doesn't, so the late season apples aren't nearly as good as the early ones.

Personally, I have to say one of the best things about living in Minnesota is trying the new apple cultivars before they even have a trade name, it's like discovering an unknown band before they signed with a major label... Have you tried the SweeTango yet? Oh yeah, I had those back when they were only an alphanumeric coded trial fruit...
posted by caution live frogs at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yes, Cripps Pink/Pink Lady apples are BY FAR the best apples, though Honeycrisp, Jazz, and Braeburn are also acceptable. Red Delicious apples are a horrible horrible thing.
posted by leesh at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


They're unrepentant shit as eating apples, but they're actually a pretty serviceable addition to cooked apple dishes.

Well sure, in cooked apple dishes. Consider "cooking wine." As in, it's shit to drink, and useful only for cooking where requirements are dramatically lower. Same principle.

I mean people used to make do with Ritz crackers and some spices in pies and other cooked apple dishes. That's a pretty low bar for an actual apple to clear...
posted by Naberius at 10:51 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm from Florida, and as such, I'm fortunate enough to have access to tons of really, really good straight from the source produce options. Apples are not one of those options.

A friend of mine, from Boston, seemed shocked that I wasn't a big fan of apples. I explained that all the apples we got weren't fresh, were kind of terrible, and if I could try a fresh off the tree apple, who knows, I might actually really love apples.

Upon reading this article, I suspect that a childhood spent with Red Delicious as the only apple around for miles might have contributed to my lack of a great love for apples, as well.

That said, I make a lovely apple pie with a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Pink Lady/Honeycrisp/Braeburn apples that has a lovely caramel toffee-like seasoning/filling.
posted by PearlRose at 10:52 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


equipoise: So obviously everything tastes better in California. Except for Honeycrisps! Why are they so delicious on the East Coast and so meh here?

OK, you guys, I am going to spill the beans: secretly, the rest of us hate you, California. Your beaches, your mountains, your parks and movie stars and PCH drives and stolen sports franchises. Well, we're done -- and the first blow to fall is withholding the best fruit. California, you want to knock off Wisconsin as "America's Dairyland" and then start feinting towards our apple crops? Fine. Then get ready for some seriously second-rate foodstuffs to start rolling west in the forty-footers.

We have bowed before Sacramento and L.A. for too long! Rise up, oh orchards, oh fields! Hold tight to your first fruits, and send out only your sloppy seconds to the Golden State!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:52 AM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


Also, yes, Braeburn!

♫ take a taste, take a bite, let me be your cowboy tonight...
posted by Wolfdog at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2014


TEAM FUJI 4 LYFE

We have two mature apple trees in our yard but something happened this year and they produced no fruit. I am the sad.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Apple Brown Betty, Pandowdy, Crisp, Cobbler, straight up no bells and whistles applesauce to go with pork and cabbage or German sausage (gotta try the late beloved Judy Rodgers' method of roasting the apples first soon)...20 oz for cooking, empire for eating... (mournful face)
posted by ifjuly at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2014


Look.

Cheese and Apple Pie are FUCKING DELICIOUS together.

You need good quality pie and preferably a very sharp cheddar. The easiest thing is probably to grate it onto the hot pie -- people have different preferences, I won't argue on technique -- but for me, it's the sharpness of the cheddar that really brings everything together.

Also, if you're not making your own pie crusts from scratch you're seriously seriously missing out. It's not that hard that it tastes way better than the supermarket stuff, even if you're just using crisco.

Also also, pies usually taste better if you use at least two kinds of apples -- I'm in the Northeast, and I'll usually pick up some Granny Smiths for texture and tartness, plus some galas, mcintosh, honeycrisp, or a combination for sweetness.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Kabanos: "From the US Apple Association, the surprisingly salacious What Kind of Apple Eater Are You?"

Oddly enough, they don't include the way I was taught: just eat the whole goddamn apple, peel, seeds, core and all. If you start on one side and eat through the core, it's just another bite. If you do it right, all that's left over is the stem.
posted by chavenet at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2014


Why do we always fight in apple threads?
posted by bondcliff at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


The fight is over. Honeycrisp won.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Tasty, crisp, hold life:
Braeburn
fuji
Empire

ok-ish if fresh:
macintosh
gala
spartan

tastes like ass:
red delicious

my favorite hipster apple:
ginger gold (Southern Ontario)

What a great post!!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Honeycrisps were bred to grow in Minnesota, so yes they don't taste as good when they're grown in California. For the Sweetango they trademarked it so you're not allowed to use that name if you grow them in the wrong region, but Honeycrisp has no such restrictions.
posted by ckape at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Granny smith is still the best.

Granny Smiths are abominations. Ashmead's Kernels are the best.
posted by kenko at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


and stolen sports franchises

You can have the Giants back! For free!

Go Dodgers!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


This thread is leading me to daydream about bringing a red delicious outside and seeing how far I can throw it.
posted by wats at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


SweeTango is the best apple ever made, but that whole trademark/patent thing they do with them makes me not want to buy them.

but i still do because they are the best apples ever made
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am absolutely terrible at making pie crusts so when I don't feel like buying pre-made crusts (oh the shame!) I just make apple crisp with lovely sugary buttery oat topping and then convince myself that it has fruit so it's a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE BREAKFAST OPTION.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:59 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I like them. *shrug*. They are crispy and sweet. I find fuji and golden delicious mealy and mostly flavorless.

We'll be in the semi-vocal minority. I like Red Delicious. I also like other types of apple depending on my mood. I once went through a Braeburn period. I feel no shame in this regard.

The golden delicious (ha!) apples I've had around here are gritty and unpleasant. I wouldn't huck them at a rabbit.
posted by splen at 10:59 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Further if you put ice cream on it you can make it even more breakfasty because ice cream is sort of like frozen yogurt and yogurt is obviously a breakfast item.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


surely Golden Delicious is the worst apple.

They're way too soft to be an eating apple, but they make a good cooking apple. Say you want your apple pie or sauce to have squishy well-cooked bits but also some chewy chunks; you combine Goldens with your favorite crisp apple. When the Goldens are cooked to tasty mush, the others are just slightly softened.
posted by echo target at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was in the grocery store yesterday and saw they had their first shipment of HONEYCRISP APPLES and I think I summed up my feelings pretty well.

I love the Honeycrisp Apple. It is a Perfect Thing and I don't care how much they cost.

Red Delicious apples can eat shit and die. Fuck you, Red Delicious apple. If there's one thing I can't stand it's a sorry excuse for an apple. If you're going to be an apple, be an apple.
posted by kbanas at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Granny Smith. Nothing else.
posted by davebush at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Faint of Butt: "this whole cheese-and-apple-pie thing. What's up with that?"

My grandma always said:
An apple pie without the cheese
Is like a kiss without the squeeze.
YMMV, but I think my grandma was a wise, wise woman.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


See also the chapter on apples in Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
posted by lalochezia at 11:02 AM on September 10, 2014


Braeburn, Fuji, Pink Lady, yadda, yadda, yadda - look, all these apples are OK. I will pick up a Fuji or a Braeburn when the Honeycrisp is out of season and I will grouse about it a little but I will eat it - but don't fool yourself into thinking for even a scant moment that these apples are contenders, because they are not, they are not, they are not.
posted by kbanas at 11:02 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


equipoise: "Honeycrisps! Why are they so delicious on the East Coast and so meh here?"

There's a reason U Minnesota is being so tight-fisted with the SweeTango, and it is the Honeycrisp. They had a huge hit on their hands, but apparently licensed it too fast and were too loose with the requirements, so the varietal is being grown all over the place, in inappropriate locations, resulting in inferior apples and diluting the brand perception. They are not making the same mistake with the Next Big Thing. (Seriously. As a grower you have to be licensed with their Next Big Thing initiative even to get a chance of growing SweeTango.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:04 AM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


beloved Mutsu, oh dearest Crispin in Japanese nomenclature, apple of my heart
posted by Auden at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just make apple crisp with lovely sugary buttery oat topping and then convince myself that it has fruit so it's a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE BREAKFAST OPTION.

It has fruit and oats. It's definitely breakfast and definitely better than a lot of other misspelled-for-legal-reasons crap you could be eating for breakfast.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:06 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Pleh. Those mealy, nasty things are barely apples.

No kidding. I gag just at the thought of eating one of those things. My favorite apple is the Rome Beauty, which is generally only available for a few weeks in the fall. The limited availability adds to its allure, I think.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:07 AM on September 10, 2014


SweeTango?

*sniffs air*

I... what.. I want one of those. I want to try one. How do I try one? I WANT ONE.
posted by kbanas at 11:07 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: looked like a nasty green butt.
posted by chainsofreedom at 11:08 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


which is generally only available for a few weeks in the fall. The limited availability adds to its allure, I think.

Like the McRib?

I joke, I joke
posted by Twain Device at 11:09 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I thought the popularity of red delicious apples was part of a Truman Show type conspiracy against me and I'm very glad to read these comments to find out that I'm not (in this instance) completely insane. Thank you.
posted by dogwalker at 11:10 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


As someone who grew up in the far Northeast it pains me deeply that I can no longer enjoy raw apples without all the soft tissue north of my chest swelling up. Fuck OAS entirely.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


The strange thing is I can remember occasionally eating a Red Delicious when I was a kid that was really good. And it wasn't just a matter of changing taste, those occasional apples stood out from the average Red Delicious. Plus I live in Virginia so I had access in the fall to really good varieties to set the standard. So I am relieved to see in this thread a couple of people commenting that fresh ones can be really good. Presumably those were the occasional ones that hadn't been picked underripe and gassed to death.
posted by tavella at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


they are very pretty, and so once in a very great while I think "maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'll like it this time...".

The disappointment is all the worse due to how enticing the packaging is.


I have the same problem with Twinkies. "Hey, those look pretty good," I say once every few years. So I buy a package, and take a bite, and think "why the hell did I do this? I have wasted my money and my mouth is full of foulness."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: looked like a nasty green butt.

But, no, really, there is an almost perfectly inverse relation between looks and taste.

And for pies, go for the smallest, hardest, sourest apple you can find.
posted by sammyo at 11:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have avoided the SweeTango because it's called the SweeTango. I can deal with buying something called "Honeycrisp" but SweeTango is just embarrassing. Although the apple before the SweeTango was the "Zestar", which sounds like futuristic laundry detergent, so I suppose it's an improvement.

But seriously, why on earth would you think that people who are likely to care which apples they buy would be at all moved to purchase something by using such a marketing barbarity for a name?
posted by Frowner at 11:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


I fear that the same triumph of pick-'em-early-and-bland is happening to Fuji. The ones I bought a decade ago were uniformly sweet, juicy, ripe and bursting with yumminess. They were amazing apples. The ones I buy now are mostly bland and unripe.
posted by clawsoon at 11:13 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also seriously, when the hell is the market for fancy peach varietals going to explode? We can finally get good apples, most places, but you go to look for a peach and it's "yellow" or "white" and I can't even get the store manager to tell me if it's a freestone or a clingstone varietal, which is on the same level of stupidity as not indicating if a grape or watermelon is seedless or not. We as a society (and I mean world society, not any individual nation) need to stand up and demand loudly that our food not be reduced to a one-word description. The mad scramble to find unique apples is proof enough that there is a market for this shit. I wish someone in the stone fruit industry would take note and push for more visible identifiers for varietals.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


I like pink lady apples but am worried some official consensus already hates the pink ladies - because it's not just finding out that your favorite apple sucks, but that it is universally hated. (I do agree about the red delicious, though).
posted by marimeko at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


You all know that all apples suck right?
posted by Cosine at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Braeburns are the best apple. Nom nom nom.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2014


"Zestar", which sounds like futuristic laundry detergent,

Sounds like a barbarian hero to me. From the Steppes of Malus or whatever.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:16 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's worse than that. It's Zestar!, with the exclamation point. And it pains me to say so but they are DELICIOUS.
posted by clavicle at 11:16 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Zestar! Ugh.
posted by clavicle at 11:18 AM on September 10, 2014


I know this is an apple thread and I'm gonna catch hell for tossing this out there, but can we just go ahead and get rid of pears? Every year a distant relative sends us a box from Harry and David filled with all manner of inedible snacks and about six pears that don't even look appetizing, have the texture of a Red Delicious Apple left in a laundry hamper for six days, and taste like... pears.

Fuck pears.
posted by bondcliff at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


Zestar!®

angry hiss
posted by poffin boffin at 11:20 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sounds like a barbarian hero to me. From the Steppes of Malus or whatever.

Points to whoever can get Zestar! into the Lyttle Lyttons next year.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:20 AM on September 10, 2014


Also note that the larger volume varieties, especially the Delicious, are in a huge industrial food chain. The apple you eat has been in a nitrogen climate controlled warehouse for 9-11 months before it gets to your shelf in july.
posted by sammyo at 11:20 AM on September 10, 2014


Red Delicious apples have sort of a vague apple scent -- kind of like cheap apple perfume you buy in giant bottles at Rite Aid. They have no flavor at all. I don't understand why anyone intentionally eats them.
posted by holborne at 11:21 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Good pears are incredible, you can eat them with a spoon like a custard apple and they are that perfect level of sweetness which is mild and pleasant and not at all cloying or mouth-coating. Unfortunately I haven't had a pear like that in easily 20 years.

ou sont les tastypoires d'antan
posted by poffin boffin at 11:21 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


Grate a sharp, dry Spanish cheese like an aged Manchego or Idiazabal (strip style grating, not powder) onto thin slices of an apple, preferably one that's very firm and not too sweet. Eat them. Thank me when you recover from your deliciousness coma.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:22 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


The strange thing is I can remember occasionally eating a Red Delicious when I was a kid that was really good.

Yeah, I always wondered if they somehow changed over time as trees got older or if the new varieties were slightly different than old ones.

I hate Red Delicious as much as the next person but I have memories from long ago of them being somewhat less terrible.

But I have to say I also hate Macs. Ugh. Too sour.
posted by GuyZero at 11:22 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was hanging out on a forum and someone mentioned that Red Delicious were their favorite apples. You would not believe the amount of wank that statement caused. This was the first time I learned there was such a thing as apple wank.

I grew up eating Red Deliciuos as a kind and dont' have any problems with them. But I do it eat other apples cause I like to mix it up. My favorite is Cripps Pink. I think. It's the one that is kind of sweet and tart at the same time.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2014


Good pears are incredible

As if someone managed to mix a cup of sand into a living fruit. It's incredible on a lot of different levels, mostly how people stand eating them.
posted by GuyZero at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


I somewhat admire the leathery ability of the Red Delicious to hide in my backpack for weeks w/out becoming a soppy mess, and in a homage of sorts to not wasting foods; I'll still chomp it down. Kinda like a really natural laxative. Ewwwwwww............
posted by buzzman at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2014


pears

Again such sad horticulture ignorance in our culture, a good pear is divine. Harry&David is an evil corporate marketing machine that stole the soul of folks that were once legitimate nurserymen.
posted by sammyo at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Every year a distant relative sends us a box from Harry and David filled with all manner of inedible snacks and about six pears that don't even look appetizing

You need to let the H&D pears sit out on the counter for at least 4-7 days. The top should be almost mushy. And then...
posted by sparklemotion at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


The apple you eat has been in a nitrogen climate controlled warehouse for 9-11 months before it gets to your shelf in july.

Definitely true, but that doesn't explain why they are pants in October.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


apple wank

Just wait til you hear what they're doing with grapefruit.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ashmead's Kernel and Pink Pearls are the best for eating, Arkansas Black for baking. There's really no room for disagreement here.
posted by kenko at 11:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Zestar! Ugh.

But that website says they have "Good Eye Appeal"! How can you go wrong? And there's also the interesting bit about "U of M High Quality Family Heritage"
For generations, the University of Minnesota has taken great pride in developing high quality apples. Since 1878 when our breeding efforts began, we've brought you 24 new apple varieties including Haralson, Fireside, Honeygold, Regent, Sweet 16, Honeycrisp, and SnowSweet®. Zestar!® was introduced in 1999 from a hybridization of State Fair x MN 1691.
SnowSweet? Have they ever tasted snow? Maybe they're confusing the idea with Sno Cones? Oh, it's named for the fruit's snowy white flesh is very slow to oxidize and turn brown after cutting. Mmm, snowy white flesh.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:26 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Good pears are incredible, you can eat them with a spoon like a custard

The top should be almost mushy.

Yeah, see, you're not selling it very well when you make it sound like it's a soft boiled egg.
posted by bondcliff at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Grate a sharp, dry Spanish cheese like an aged Manchego or Idiazabal (strip style grating, not powder) onto thin slices of an apple, preferably one that's very firm and not too sweet. Eat them. Thank me when you recover from your deliciousness coma.

Ooh, I have another one! A piece of Stilton on top of a tart apple slice, like a Granny Smith. Heaven.
posted by holborne at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2014


As if someone managed to mix a cup of sand into a living fruit.

There are nongrainy varieties! I wish I had the faintest idea which ones they are, though.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also really like Fireside apples, introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1943.

I have University of Minnesota headcannon where we are a stalwart, sincere, uptight and resolutely non-commercial land-grant institution dedicated to things like better apples and regional literature scholarship because it's the right thing to do. In my UMN fanfic, we never introduced the Zestar, much less the SweeTango.
posted by Frowner at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2014 [11 favorites]


So basically the tradition of leaving a red delicious apple on your teacher's desk is a form of student protest?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:28 AM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I do like me a Pink Lady, though the first time I bit into one, I was a tad disappointed the flesh wasn't pink, which I know -duh. Still, their crunchy juiciness is pure tastiness, even if the insides aren't rose-tinged.

I endured a childhood full of cottony, mushy red delicious apples and am forever shocked they carry on their legacy of heartbreak. My mom would come home with a plastic bag prefilled and sealed somewhere (hundreds of miles away, no doubt), and they'd end up weighing down our lunch bags and squishing our peanut butter sandwiches. I was a kid who was very susceptible to guilt, and the combo of not much money in our family + "eat them; they're good for you" meant I always tried to eat half as fast as I could to minimize the amount of time my tongue stayed in contact with the apple's desiccating pulp. But now I'm all grown up, with my own money and more nuanced guilt trips that don't include crappy, cheap apples. Get thee behind me, red delicious!
posted by but no cigar at 11:28 AM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Basically, I'm well into UMN AU by now.
posted by Frowner at 11:28 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oddball varieties rule. For every day eating, give me in-season Macoun or Liberty or Cortland. For novelty and nostalgia value (grew up with friends who lived on an orchard): Golden Russet.
posted by that's candlepin at 11:29 AM on September 10, 2014


Further to the above, the best use of a red delicious apple.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:30 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Granny smith is still the best.

Granny Smith is almost as tasteless as Red Delicious. Cox's Orange Pippin are without doubt, the best.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I....... I had no idea how resentful I was re: red delicious apples until I typed that comment. How cathartic!
posted by but no cigar at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


So basically the tradition of leaving a red delicious apple on your teacher's desk is a form of student protest?

Anyone puts that shit on my desk, I throw it on the floor right in front of them and stomp on it until it's just so much faintly pink pulpy ejecta.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


And they fail for the term.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:32 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Granny Maria Ann Smith was greater even than Johnny Appleseed.
posted by bukvich at 11:32 AM on September 10, 2014


The real window to a person's soul is what apples they put in a pie.

A mixture of nice tart Bramleys and nice sweet Cox's. Can't make an apple pie without both.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:33 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


PeterMcDermott: "Cox's Orange Pippin are without doubt, the best."

So said Roald Dahl. I haven't had the opportunity to try one, but I would welcome a chance to do so. Anyone wanna spot me a plane ticket? I feel it's best to move the taster rather than the fruit...
posted by caution live frogs at 11:34 AM on September 10, 2014


Team Fuji, Team Fuji! (cue obnoxious Vuvuzelas).
posted by Chitownfats at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]



There's an Apple Rail Trail just outside of the little village I live near. It's pretty neat as all along there are all sorts of different apples. Some can't even be named any more. They figure that these trees grew from apple cores thrown out the windows of the carriages so there are varieties from the years between 1873 to the late 1960's. And the head of the trail they've planted all kinds with labels and history.

Last time I was there I tasted over a dozen different apples.

Last year the village went down the trail and found 3 different apples that supported certain criteria and at the fall fair had a taste test and vote. The winning apple was grafted onto stock and first named for the village apple trees came out just a few weeks ago. My family got together and bought one for a memorial orchard. It's in rememberance of the part of my family that's been here since the 1860's.

I like apples.
posted by Jalliah at 11:36 AM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


poffin boffin: There are nongrainy varieties! I wish I had the faintest idea which ones they are, though.

The nice people at my favorite apple stand have a small crop of Warren pears every year. Good gods, they are wonderful. Sweet without being cloying, buttery, a little spicy, no perceptible stone cells (the gritty bits), just plain gorgeous. Unfortunately, the season is short, and only a handful of growers in California seem to be growing them. Frog Hollow would probably ship them to you, but I fear that the upcharge would be horrifying.
posted by bakerina at 11:38 AM on September 10, 2014


Ida Red. I can't be bothered to make apple crisp with any other kind. They stay tart and a little crispy when baked.
posted by elizilla at 11:38 AM on September 10, 2014


My local Market Basket (We Love Artie T!) has the typical New England varieties (Macs, Cortlands, Macouns and Empires) for about as long as can be managed from September until about March, whereupon we are forced to make due with Galas, Fujis and Braeburns for six months. But it's That Time Of Year again, and I will feast on big, fat, tart Cortlands and Macouns until spring.
posted by briank at 11:40 AM on September 10, 2014


Pears ripen from the inside out. If there is a slight give and compression when you press your thumb against the neck, the pear is ripe. Of the normal store varieties I find the d'anjou, either red or green, to normally be the sweetest, juiciest and best textured. They have a short shelf-life once ripe, although refrigerating them slows the process a bit. Besides, cold pears are delicious...
posted by jim in austin at 11:41 AM on September 10, 2014


Winesaps. Oh my god how I love Winesaps -- perfect combo of tart and sweet. For pies, I favor Jonagolds.
posted by holborne at 11:41 AM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also, I have had glorious Anjou pears in my time that would put almost any other fruit to shame.
posted by briank at 11:41 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm another one in the Cox's Orange Pippin camp. They are pretty perfect, and the drive over to the orchards in Hood River to get them each fall doesn't suck either.

For pears, I'll take mine in Poison Apple (aka Asian pear) format for everyday eating. Although a perfectly ripe pear (of almost any variety other than the one that grows in my yard) can be sublime. I wonder whether the ones in my yard would be suitable for cider.
posted by janell at 11:43 AM on September 10, 2014


Warren pears from Frog Hollow: $31.00 for 3 pounds, $43.00 for 5 pounds, $79.00 for 10 pounds. I know that shipping fruit is a finicky endeavor, but my side still hurt when I read that.
posted by bakerina at 11:43 AM on September 10, 2014


I buy cheap Michigan apples in a bag.
posted by goethean at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2014


Also seriously, when the hell is the market for fancy peach varietals going to explode?

When climate change has advanced to the point where peaches can be grown near enough to the markets they serve to be picked nearly ripe and shipped with minimal damage. Hail, climate change!

(There was a farm stand near my office that carried a half dozen or so each of nectarine and peach varietals, grown both at the farm and at nearby farms, and they'd be available for sale so you could eat them right that day for lunch if you wanted. The farm stand closed a while back - the farm is still there, whew - and now I am perfect-peachless at lunchtime. Sad.)
posted by rtha at 11:47 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


So why, out of interest, hasn't the Cox taken off in the US? I'd imagine it would be incredibly popular now that people over there have started to eat decent apples again. Is it a climate thing?
posted by pipeski at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2014


Thank god most stores (here in California at least) have started carrying heirloom varieties.

What worries me lately is that "heirloom" seems to have started being applied to tomatoes with any novel shape or color, and in another example of fruits and veggies being produced primarily for their appearance, they don't necessarily taste good. Give me an ugly brown tomato if it has the right taste and texture, I don't care, just don't give me a funny looking multicolored weirdo tomato that has an almost tough, dry outer wall not enough delicious gooey insides.
posted by Hoopo at 11:52 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if you get the chance, try a Worcester Pearmain - the apple that tastes of strawberries. Unfortunately my little tree only produced 2 fruit this year; next year we ought to be back to a dozen or so.
posted by pipeski at 11:54 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


The only time I eat pears is around Christmastime. Every year my boss gets a box of Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David. Beautiful, soft, sugary treats, and you get to think of it as eating fruit. Spoils you for all other pears, which are awful anyway.

I'm partial to Pink Lady apples, which manage to have a good solid taste and excellent crispness.
posted by graymouser at 11:57 AM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Go banana!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:58 AM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


"But as genes for beauty were favored over those for taste, the skins grew tough and bitter around mushy, sugar-soaked flesh."

Vindicated! I've been calling 'ick' on Red Delicious for decades.

Why, Jazz and Pink Ladies of course, why do you ask?

posted by mmrtnt at 12:00 PM on September 10, 2014


Metafilter: just so much faintly pink pulpy ejecta.

- - -
Pears are best eaten in January. After your mom & aunts carefully canned them in late summer, in mid-winter you get to go down to the cupboard in the basement and laboriously carry the massive jar up to the kitchen and then scoop out a couple or three pear halves and a generous spoonful of the clear syrup. Ah, delightful!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:01 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Liberty apples are the best apples, and Cortlands are pretty good, too. My local orchard opened up this past weekend, so I've been patiently eating a Summer Rambeau every day while waiting for the Libs.

a real (not frankenapple) Red Delicious from an actual tree at an actual orchard is an okay apple. Not a Liberty, mind you, but what really is
posted by spinturtle at 12:04 PM on September 10, 2014


Red delicious are the pears of the apple world.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:14 PM on September 10, 2014


> That reminds me-- this whole cheese-and-apple-pie thing. What's up with that? I've heard about the phenomenon, but never encountered it, and honestly it sounds gross-- and this is coming from someone who loves both apple pie and cheese. Seriously, what's the deal?

Try eating an apple alternating bites with a slice of cheddar cheese.

As Marie Callendar said, "Apple pie without some cheese is alike a kiss without a squeeze"

posted by mmrtnt at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am so surprised that there are 180 comments in just over 2 hours, many of them quite vitriolic, about which apples are proper. This is really not how I would ever imagine a thread like this here to go.

Also, though I don't think this is related, I may have hit my head this afternoon and might just have soap opera style amnesia where I absolutely forgot everything I ever knew about my beloved Metafilter community.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:17 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


why aren't liberty apples on the NY state apple database apple finder thingy

why don't we love liberty
posted by poffin boffin at 12:17 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Anyone puts that shit on my desk, I throw it on the floor right in front of them and stomp on it until it's just so much faintly pink pulpy ejecta

And they fail for the term.
posted by Wolfdog


They took away your whip again, didn't they?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:18 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Last year a coworker brought in a bag of apples from her backyard tree. Apples wouldn't appear on my list of favorite fruits. Granny Smiths are pretty good, and Honeycrisps are great, but even those I can take or leave. These apples that the coworker brought in, though, were the platonic ideal of Apple. Well, in taste, anyway.

They were small -- fist-sized -- and a pale, greenish-yellow. They were ugly. Misshapen, spotted, scabby -- ugly. But oh my, were those apples delicious. They were crisp and not at all mealy. Sweet, but also tart and tangy. So juicy that they required you be holding two paper towels lest the juice run down your elbows.

I am not a fan of apples, but these apples brought me around.

This coworker is semi-retired and not in the office all that often. The next time I saw her, I RAVED about the apples she'd brought in. I gave her my sanctimonious opinion on grocery store apples and told her how insipid in taste and texture most apples are. But those apples (How did I like them apples? I loved them!) were just wonderful, wonderful. I asked her what variety they were because I loved them so much I wanted to go buy a tree so that I could have those apples in my life for the entire season.

What kind of apple was it?

It was a Golden Delicious.

Now, mind you, it was a Golden Delicious that had been planted in her yard in the 30s. It was not a Golden Delicious that had been bred and cross-bred and re-hybridized for cross-country travel and supermarket good looks. It was just a good old-fashioned Golden Delicious apple that people in California used to grow (well, still do grow) in their backyards.

I haven't been sanctimonious about apples since.

Man, that was a good apple.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:20 PM on September 10, 2014 [16 favorites]


While pears aren't my favorite fruit, they don't have to have a sandy texture. I had some lovely Bartletts from my CSA last week that were juicy and softy and flavorful and not at all rough textured. They have a life span of 1-2 days at that state, though.
posted by tavella at 12:22 PM on September 10, 2014


This is really not how I would ever imagine a thread like this here to go.

Previous mefi applefights:

October 2007

December 2008

August 2012

June 2013

November 2013

posted by poffin boffin at 12:23 PM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


You know what's really amazing?

SweeTango cider.

I've seen it in a store exactly once. But then, the apples themselves were available here for maybe three weeks once and one week a couple of years later.

Hate the name, love the apples.
posted by Foosnark at 12:24 PM on September 10, 2014


Like the McRib?

I joke, I joke


Hah, hah, joke's on you. Like those disgusting Red Delicious apples, I don't eat red meat or pork, or whatever those McRibs are constructed from. Shamrock Shakes would probably be a better slam because I am all over those every March.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2014


The fun of good pears is hitting that sweet spot of perfection that they hold for so short a time. Today is that day for the Bartletts I bought a week ago.
posted by No Robots at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2014


Pears are the live jazz of the fruit kingdom. When it's bad, it's unbearable. When it's good, it's the only thing you ever want forever and ever.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


"Zestar", which sounds like futuristic laundry detergent

Sounds like a barbarian hero to me. From the Steppes of Malus or whatever.


Remember the one where Chief Engineer MacIntosh falls in love with a Red Delicious, and then these sparkly Zestars try to possess her, like a zombie, 'cuz she has like the same handwriting as them or something? And her face turns all different colours and the Zestars make her talk funny? And then Ol' Doc McPeach sticks her in this recompression chamber they've got left over from that Khan episode last year, and so they stick her in there and she's floatin' around and breathin' in and out like they tolder to, and then the Zestars just sorta give up forever and like run off?

Remember that one?
 
posted by Herodios at 12:27 PM on September 10, 2014


Also I am now further outraged that none of the previous threads have been titled HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES
posted by poffin boffin at 12:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I am not a fan of apples, but these apples brought me around.

Grocery store apples : Fresh picked apples :: Elementary school cafeteria pizza : A New York* slice.

*Or whatever really good pizza is your favorite**. Let's not get into that discussion here.

**Unless your favorite pizza is the stuff they serve at elementary schools in which case just get the hell out of my face.
posted by bondcliff at 12:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm another one in the Cox's Orange Pippin camp. They are pretty perfect, and the drive over to the orchards in Hood River to get them each fall doesn't suck either.

Which Hood River orchards do you go to?
posted by Auden at 12:30 PM on September 10, 2014


Where I grew up, McIntosh apples were the 'default' apple, and, as McIntosh range from OK to divinely delicious, I grew up liking apples. Red Delicious were rarities we called "Christmas apples" because you'd inevitably get one in the bottom of your xmas stocking (why? I guess they are so red in colour, and are larger than McIntosh so seem more . . . gifty?). And that sad Christmas apple would sit around for days and days. Some years it would grudgingly be eaten. Other years no.

Granny Smith is almost as tasteless as Red Delicious

. . .? Granny Smith is mouth-puckeringly tart and even kind of tanin-y. Which are features not bugs imho. I can't imagine what sad tired lifeless Granny Smiths one would have had to experience to make such a claim.
posted by erlking at 12:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


All this talk about apples... who's up for a meetup in Stow, MA next weekend?
posted by bondcliff at 12:32 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


That said, I make a lovely apple pie with a mix of Granny Smith, Gala and Pink Lady/Honeycrisp/Braeburn apples that has a lovely caramel toffee-like seasoning/filling.

Would you mind sharing your recipe?
posted by lalex at 12:33 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


i was just looking at nearby apple picking places too except the meetup would only be me because i hate people
posted by poffin boffin at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Apples (or pears) and cheese is really good. I've always been on board. I could never understand the apple pie and cheese thing, though, until I had traveled and understood the range of things called "apple pie."

Because I grew up with and like a very spiced stewed-apple pie that's as much corn starch/sugar candy goop as apple. That pie is not very good with cheese.

But a less goopy pie that is about the apples rather than candy filling, where the apples have actual texture and apple flavor, with a really good crust that is not very sweet? It doesn't taste complete without the salty-sharp cheese flavor. I know a lot of people are into Wisconsin or Vermont-style cheddar (or grew up with American cheese for pie) but asiago or manchego or one of those brutal crumbly crystal-ly Welsh/English/Irish cheddars is my preference.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie, as far as I know, all Golden Delicious are direct descendents of the original tree, they haven't been cross-bred or rehybridized at all. Golden Delicious have been crossbred with many other apples (and are a foundation of many very popular modern apples like the Gala, Cameo, Mutsu, Pink Lady, and Jazz), but when you eat a Golden Delicious you are eating effectively from the same tree as the one discovered in West Virginia. It's just that it's not being pushed to maximize size, it hasn't been stored for months, it wasn't picked underripe and then ripened with gas, etc.

Remember, these apples didn't become superstars because they were bad apples. They became bad apples because they were superstars and thus were industrialized.
posted by tavella at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [8 favorites]


The best apple experience I had was last fall, visiting the Apple Orchard at Hopewell Furnace (PA). I highly recommend picking tasty apples there. For the record, I used all 30 varieties to make a number of pies and they were all good to eat.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 12:35 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apple porn
posted by TedW at 12:36 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Spoils you for all other pears, which are awful anyway.

As if someone managed to mix a cup of sand into a living fruit

Red delicious are the pears of the apple world.


sand? Sand, in a pear? What are we even talking about right now? What on earth have you people been eating and calling "pears"? Pears are fucking delicious, better than apples. Yeah I said it, I'm taking a nice ripe pear over an apple 9 times out of 10. Suck it, apples, I'm on Team Pear. And I say this as someone that actually likes apples and has eaten those giant yummy Japanese apples that are the size of a grapefruit.

Ooh, I have another one! A piece of Stilton on top of a tart apple slice, like a Granny Smith. Heaven.

Once again, pears win. Blue cheese is for pears. You core a pear, fill the hole with your fave blue (stilton for me thx but I also like fourme d'ambert), then slice it up. So good.
posted by Hoopo at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Sounds like Farmer Jesse Hiatt discovered proof that plants evolve back in 1870?
posted by Renoroc at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2014


Oh! Also, one year, not understanding the INSANE world of apple genetics, my brother and I planted seeds from our McIntosh apples. I suppose we were both younger than 10. They grew into two really handsome but entirely different-looking trees, as is to be expected (apples are extreme heterozygotes).

Then, about three years ago (almost twenty years after being planted), both trees started to produce fruit. My tree only gave a small number of hard little rose-hip type things (roses are related to apples, I've since learned), but my brother's tree produced dozens (maybe 200?) small but well-formed apples. Kind of like Lady Apples (nb: not "Pink Lady" apples). They are very tart and very tanin-y. But they are divine when baked in desserts. Last year, my mother made just the most delicious apple squares from them.

Having this unique apple tree in the backyard of our childhood home (where our parents still live) feels like winning the weirdest and most interesting lottery, because apple trees grown from seed usually don't produce particularly edible fruit. I have half a mind to try and get a grafting of the tree, in case something ever happens to it.
posted by erlking at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [10 favorites]


I do like me a Pink Lady, though the first time I bit into one, I was a tad disappointed the flesh wasn't pink, which I know -duh

The flesh of Pink Pearls is pink. Pink Pearls are real.
posted by kenko at 12:42 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I miss the Stayman apples that Virginia farmers used to bring to Eastern Market in D.C. back in the early 90s. They were crisp and tart and tasted like fall, and had a more matte finish than other varieties. Great fried as well.

Seem to remember that they weren't available for long, but that may have just been in the pre-nitrogen cold storage days.
posted by Stig at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2014


Apple fight! Apple fight!

I'll give a shout-out to the Stayman Winesaps and York Imperials that are a fall staple at Brown's Orchard in south central PA.
posted by cheapskatebay at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that the first time I had a Red Delicious apple, I spit out my first mouthful thinking the appalling mealy texture meant it had gone bad. But no. No, they're all like that.

Pink lady apples are where it's at. They're my snacking apple of choice along with Jonagold, and they are ludicrously good as crepe filling when you saute them with some sugar and butter. I'm thinking of trying them in my standard apple pie recipe. I've always used Granny Smith to good results, but I'm wondering how Pink Lady apples will fare in a pie. Anyone have any experience?
posted by yasaman at 12:53 PM on September 10, 2014


Pears. Any day of the week over apples. That said, *good* apples beat peaches for me as well. I'm a texture guy I suppose, or something.

That said, variety matters. I'm looking forward to the local u-pick orchard's crop of Arkansas Black so I can put some good apples back for future days ahead perhaps. I'm also going to keep drying the pears (said orchard only has 2 varieties and neither is good/ripe* yet) for the same reason. Of course they have umpteen varieties of peaches. Go figure.

My dream house includes a nearby (or owned even) orchard and a cider press. One day homemade ciderpress in a barn that weighs 200+ lbs. One day.

* I can't decide which, sadly.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:53 PM on September 10, 2014


The flesh of Pink Pearls is pink. Pink Pearls are real.

Pink Pearls... are... erasers!
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Shamrock Shakes would probably be a better slam because I am all over those every March.

They are made from old tires.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:00 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, kenko; I had no idea! That's what I expected when I first tried a pink lady. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off on a quest to find a pink pearl apple orchard, where I will eat my fill and then pass out from the joy of it all. Although, I should ask: how do they taste? I suppose taste counts more than color....
posted by but no cigar at 1:08 PM on September 10, 2014


The article mentions that Red Delicious has good storage capabilities and "genes for beauty", but that doesn't go far enough. Allow me to point you to the excellent book American Terroir. It's a good read through and through (and recommended to me here on askmefi somewhere). The chapter on apples is excellent, the dude did his research and here is the basics of his conclusion, it all comes back to the color red:
  • Red stands out against the green of the forest and specifically the red of an apple comes from anthocyanin, (also found in rasperries and grapes). The more sunlight that reaches an apple, the more anthocyanin is produced and the redder it will be, which also translates to being bigger and sweeter.
  • Interestingly, anthocyanin also protects the apple from "sunburn". So a red apple signifies a healthy apple as well. From an animal's perspective, red signifies a fruit whose starches have been converted to sugar and is ready for good eating. Which of course is what the apple wants.
  • So humans prefer the reddest apple possible. Therefore growers *select* for the reddest apple. You combine it with a variety that ships and stores well and you've got yourself a lesson in economics and human nature.
So the decline in popularity of the red delicious can be viewed as a result of the fight between our monkey brain (shiny red yum yum!) and our "higher intelligence" (this apple really tastes like shit).
posted by jeremias at 1:11 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ok, I must confess: I purchase my apples over the internet. But they are Honeycrisps, and they come in a box, and inside that box, each apple is individually snuggled within its circular slot in dark purple packing foam cut specially with 18 apple spots (as seen here), which, in addition to being super fancy as apple packaging goes, can be repurposed later as a pretend giant Connect Four set or space-age apartment complex for Lego guys or thing for cats to sit on/attack.

Which reminds me: I gotta order some apples!
posted by mothershock at 1:14 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


YES I GET MY APPLES FROM THAT HONEYCRISP PLACE TOO ZOMG but not recently because of that one year when they were so sweet that it made me gag
posted by poffin boffin at 1:18 PM on September 10, 2014


They are made from old tires.

Well, yeah, but they taste so good!
posted by fuse theorem at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2014


I spit out my first mouthful thinking the appalling mealy texture meant it had gone bad. But no. No, they're all like that.

No they aren't. Some are crisp, and those are delicious. Very few, though, and it's turned me off of buying them most of the time, since mushy apples are gross, regardless of the variety. Maybe just the ones that are very fresh, or grown in certain ways stay crisp? I haven't figured it out yet.
posted by randomnity at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2014


Ok, I must confess: I purchase my apples over the internet.

You...get your apples by mail? Do you get weekly deliveries? I cannot even imagine, since I eat about ten apples a week all on my lonesome and would eat more but apples already take up about 1/3 of my food bill. But then I live in the apple paradise that is Minnesota. Do you just eat a lot of other kinds of fruit instead? Next thing you'll be saying is that they don't have baby carrots where you're from, or something.
posted by Frowner at 1:20 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


My 1970s childhood conception of what apples are was formed by the hideous Red Delicious (what was always at school, etc.) and the unappealing (to a child, anyway) tart Granny Smith. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I actually started to buy apples and try different varieties.

Also, while I grew up in the northwest (of North America), as a child I always associated apples as being from the eastern half of the U.S. (influenced by the Johnny Appleseed legend, etc.). It wasn’t until I was in my late teens or twenties that I realized the “Washington apples” I grew up with were from Washington state, not Washington, D.C. (I imagined orchards on the outskirts of the capital city.)
posted by D.C. at 1:21 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


We're still at the beginning of apple season in eastern Ontario, but it's almost time for the best apple of all. I wait for the golden russet harvest each year with great anticipation. Nothing beats it, in my personal apple cosmology, as an eating apple. It's sweet, floral even, with a crisp firm texture. They're not too big, nor too small. They come with a rough, golden skin, unlike almost anything else.

They're absolutely not my first choice for baking. They're too sweet and low acid to make an impressive cider. It's a delicate apple, seasonal, lasting only a few weeks, but that rarity makes it only more delicious when it comes.

Just a few more weeks.
posted by bonehead at 1:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since someone asked, here's my apple pie recipe.

Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the ½ cup butter in a saucepan. Stir in 3 tbsp. flour to form a paste. Add ¼ cup water, ½ cup white sugar and ½ cup brown sugar (I like to do ¼ c light brown sugar and ¼ cup dark brown sugar), and bring to a boil. Stir this mixture generously so it doesn’t burn. After it’s boiling, let it simmer slightly until it thickens somewhat (enough to coat the back of a spoon), then remove it from the heat and add the flavorings of your choice.

For a more toffee-like flavor, I’ll add in about a tablespoon of molasses. I often add about a tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, and/or a teaspoon of vanilla, and about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Maple syrup is a pretty good addition too, about 1-2 tablespoons. Sometimes, I’ll do cloves, allspice, or ginger, but I don’t like the spices to overwhelm everything in a pie like this, so I tend to just stick to cinnamon and 1-2 of the above suggested additions.

Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill it with apples, mounded slightly. (I use 2.5-3 lbs. apples, about 5-6 apples (5-6 cups), chopped, and peeled if you are so inclined.) I prefer a mix of: 2 Granny Smith, 2 Gala, and 1-2 Pink Lady/Honeycrisp/Braeburn apples for best texture, flavor, etc. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Cover the top of the pie with a second pie crust, lattice-style or a crumble pie topping. (I really like a crumble topping for this.)

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.


Now, if I could humbly ask somebody to post their favorite apple and cheddar pie recipe, I'd be delighted. (I tried googling a recipe, but there are so many and some sound delicious, so sound ...not so delicious.)
posted by PearlRose at 1:28 PM on September 10, 2014 [24 favorites]


It wasn’t until I was in my late teens or twenties that I realized the “Washington apples” I grew up with were from Washington state, not Washington, D.C. (I imagined orchards on the outskirts of the capital city.)

- posted by D.C. at 4:21 PM on September 10



This is so eponysterical that my ears are ringing.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fuji, Fuji, Fuji. The only apple I eat. Now and then I try something else, then return joyfully to Fujis.
posted by bearwife at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, of course, they must be (local) Washington Fujis.

*Sounds Vavuzuela horn*
posted by bearwife at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just make apple crisp with lovely sugary buttery oat topping and then convince myself that it has fruit so it's a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE BREAKFAST OPTION.

Of course fruit pie is for breakfast. Healthy breakfast, because it has fruit in it. This is also true for berry pies in the summer, or peach pies, or, at a stretch, banana cream pies. You can rename your fruit cakes fruit breads, or fruit coffee cakes, and then they become healthy breakfasts too.

I'm not sure if chocolate-dipped fruit can quite sneak into the "has fruit = healthy breakfast" category, though.
posted by jeather at 1:35 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


You...get your apples by mail? Do you get weekly deliveries?

You can order by the bushel too though
posted by poffin boffin at 1:39 PM on September 10, 2014


> I haven't had the opportunity to try [Cox's Orange Pippin], but I would welcome a chance to do so. Anyone wanna spot me a plane ticket? I feel it's best to move the taster rather than the fruit...

You might be able to find locally grown ones! There are orchards in the midwest that grow Cox's Orange Pippins (eg, Nichols Farm in IL has them -- along with 205 other apple varieties! -- at the Chicago farmers markets). Some of them may ship, or may know about orchards closer to you that grow them; try calling around.
posted by Westringia F. at 1:39 PM on September 10, 2014


Pie for breakfast? Yankee!

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm Canadian actually, but if it means I get to have pie for breakfast you can call me a Yankee.
posted by jeather at 1:44 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Anybody else get that powdery/waxy aftertaste on your tongue after eating these shitty apples? I have never liked them...ever.
posted by Chuffy at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2014


My state's best orchard mostly burned to the ground a couple years back, so y'all don't get to complain about not getting your fancy-ass local bullshit apples. RIP Dixon.

I don't really like Red Delicious but I will eat them if they are around. I got pretty good at sneaking them out of the dining hall in college and I think that improved them.
posted by NoraReed at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2014


I'll second what cheapskatebay said about Stayman Winesaps and York Imperials in south central PA... grew up picking them at Forge Hill Orchards as a kid and still love 'em!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:49 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nthing the love for Sweetango, they're so flavorful, so apple-y. I used to live close to the St. Paul campus where the ag college is, and have driven over there to buy produce many times, and it's uniformly awesome.

That being said, this thread is so Minnesotan I'm waiting for it to ask me what route I took to drive here. Oh, the 35W, dontcha know.
posted by Sphinx at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's not Minnesota's fault that the other states are all slacking on apple inventing.
posted by ckape at 2:01 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I really need to proofread better next time. I usually use a teaspoon of cinnamon in my pie not a tablespoon, and lemon juice should definitely not have been mentioned twice.
posted by PearlRose at 2:03 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Auden, I get my Cox's Orange Pippins from Kiyokawa in Parkdale. They only do u-pick for a limited number of varieties, which is fine because I spend my apple-energies on eating and baking and canning.

Here is their "ready-dates" page with all their varieties of apples, pears, and asian pears. You sometimes have to be snappy about getting over there because the cider-making nerds sometimes clean out the stocks of wierdo apples pretty quickly.
posted by janell at 2:14 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


This thread is very informative! I have been wanting to go to the apple orchard, but am going to wait a week or two, as now I want to try Macouns, which I don't think are available locally quite yet. Looking at this list, they say about Red Delicious:

Redder strains have been developed since then, but the flavor has not improved as much as the color.

There is also a full listing in tiny print at the bottom of the page, but not all have descriptions. I primarily would be using them for baking pies, tarts, and Marie-Helene's Apple Cake, but am open to eating slices with sharp cheddar.

There is an article in the September issue of Prevention magazine, that gives some apple history and lists varieties and when they were established. Darned if I can find it ("How 'Bout Them Apples?") on their website.

Maybe I'll have to make two trips, as I really want to try Northern Spy now. No Cox's Orange, unfortunately :-(
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:18 PM on September 10, 2014


Metafilter: looked like a nasty green butt.

You're thinking of AskMe. MeFi looks like a nasty blue butt.
posted by The Bellman at 2:22 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think most apples, even RedDels, can be a wonderful experience if you pull them right off the tree (some crisp be-sweatered October morning) and put them directly in your mouth. Yes, some of the varieties have apparently been compromised by breeding for factors other than flavor and texture, but real freshness makes up for a lot of faults.

On the other hand, even apples that should be great can be terrible if they reach you at the end of 6 months cold storage. And any can be made bad if the grower treats it foolishly, grows it out of place, and selects fruit for size and beauty rather than for eating.

Unfortunately, I think they have a lot of good reasons to do that. Most of the time, all we can pick apples by is the variety and the appearance. We know what a Crispin or a Jazz apple is supposed to taste like, we usually can't sample in the store, so what else can they do to influence our buying decision? Make 'em pretty. Make 'em big. Even if that takes away some of the flavor whose expectation caused us to buy that sort. And so we keep wandering down that road until the name of an once-excellent variety gets labelled in our minds as "probably OK"

I really wonder if the Red Delicious isn't just the far end of this path. Maybe once you could buy lipstick-colored, silly-shaped apples in the store that tasted just like what you'd take fresh from the tree.

Even worse, I wonder if our new, premium varieties aren't heading for the same fate. The first Honeycrisp I found at our local market was revelatory. Absurdly juicy and sweet, of course, but but also with a flavor so subtle and complex that it made wine connoisseurs sound less silly. I can still find some like that, occasionally, by buying from people who sell from folding tables and cut free samples with a Buck knife. If I see the same fruit in a mega-mart, though the best I can hope for is "well, it'll be juicy, and crisp, and probably fairly sweet" If UM's obnoxious licensing and silly brand names can create new, reliably great apples, that will still be great apples in ten years, I think they'll be worth the trouble.
posted by CHoldredge at 2:22 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've always been so-so on apples, now I hear it's because industry has been serving me the worst ones. I'm waiting for a libertarian to point to this somehow as being a triumph of the free market.
posted by JHarris at 2:31 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


thrilling update: here is my ponyfrand
posted by poffin boffin at 2:34 PM on September 10, 2014 [14 favorites]


Why is there no genet -- or, failing that, kitten -- riding it? Photo fail.
posted by jeather at 2:35 PM on September 10, 2014


The barn cat prefers to hiss at you menacingly from the hayloft.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:38 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


The best apples for pie are Crispin. You get them in the farms in Warwick, NY near the onion farms. They don't break down as fast while cooking so the pie looks full and tastes awesome.
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:56 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow. I'm kind of loving this. It's like a sleeping giant has awoken. We need a March on Washington (State). Arise ye oppressed masses, and Occu-Pie the Orchards! Shuck off the suffocating red peel of false-delicious oppression!
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:02 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


This whole thread is making me angrysad.

I love apples. (Not red delicious, obviously.) I LOVE pears. The crisp/sweet/tart -- it's perfect, it's amazing. My nearly eight year old daughter ALSO loves apples and pears, almost beyond understanding. but it turns out that she has a thing where fruits and vegetables mess up her digestion in a horrifyingly painful fashion, and the fruits that are absolutely the WORST for her? Apples and pears. so we don't have them around any more.

Once in a while when she stays at Grandma's house, my husband and I go to the grocery store and buy one of each kind of apple and eat them in the parking lot, messily, with crazed eyes, and then we go home and cry.
posted by KathrynT at 3:03 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


SnowSweet? Have they ever tasted snow?

Maybe they're thinking of when you eat fresh snow with maple syrup? Cuz that is indeed pretty sweet.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:05 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


The cat might prefer to hiss at you, but I am beloved by all felines.
posted by jeather at 3:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


And to bring this back on topic, one of my cats, when she hears me bite into an apple, runs up to me and sticks her face up between my mouth and the apple and licks all the juice off, waiting patiently for me to bite again so she has more juice. She doesn't drink apple juice as juice, or do this for other fruit (even pears).

Yes my cats are spoiled and I let them eat off my plate while I am still eating. See also butter, cream cheese, any other cheese, yogurt, ice cream, icing, bread, chickpeas.
posted by jeather at 3:09 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Janell - I'm probably too lazy to hoof it over to Hood River to pick, but I recognize the Kiyokawa name because they sell at the Beaverton farmer's market in the fall. I'll see if they have any Cox's Orange Pippins next time I see them - I'm very curious about the variety since so many people in this thread have sung their praises
posted by Auden at 3:09 PM on September 10, 2014


(Though you don't eat the snow itself, just the candy, so that's a stretch)
posted by en forme de poire at 3:11 PM on September 10, 2014


Living in Western NY means you're in Apple Country. Which means McIntosh apples.
posted by tommasz at 3:15 PM on September 10, 2014


Fuji master race reporting in.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:25 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Red Delicious apples are the reason I thought I hated apples for the first 25+ years of my life. Turns out, I just don't like eating garbage apples.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:26 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Do we get different Red Delicious in Canada? I've always liked them. Not as much as a Pink Lady, say, or even a Mackintosh (oh, memories of Chudleigh's!) but they're tasty, sweet apples.

Best apple juice is made from Cox's Orange Pippin, and anyone who disagrees is a wrong person and should be ashamed.

Wait, no. Anyone who disagrees is a good person because moar for me.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:39 PM on September 10, 2014


And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.

And, inside that pie? Well, no one's asking too many questions.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:47 PM on September 10, 2014


Shout out to Ridgetop Orchards in Fishertown PA, growers of my beloved stayman winesap apples. They ripen in mid-October and I'm waiting anxiously.

Note: I am not financially affiliated with Ridgetop, but they're my local orchard.
posted by which_chick at 3:50 PM on September 10, 2014


Californian reporting in...maybe I have just been apple-deprived all my life, but I do rather like Red Delicious, and don't really understand all the hate here. What's not to like about a nice, crisp, juicy apple? Sure, you occasionally get the mushy one (bleh), but the vast majority of the ones I've ever had (even the ones that were on a barge for two weeks before they got to my table) have been great.
posted by zbaco at 3:51 PM on September 10, 2014


most other apples are way crisper, way juicer, way tastier, and way less likely to be mushy than red deliciouses are. though yes, people do get too worked up about apples.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:53 PM on September 10, 2014


it's not the mushyness, it's the mealyness. Even a crisp Red Delicious has a different texture.
posted by GuyZero at 3:58 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


people do get too worked up about apples.

Maybe you just aren't getting worked up enough about them?
posted by jeather at 3:59 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have to admit, I hate the name SweeTango (which I always mentally pronounce as "swee tango," with a noticeable pause, because that's how it reads to me). Even Zestar! sounds better to me, because you can pretend it's the name of a cartoon alien, or make a little fist pump when you say it to indicate the punctuation. Anyway, last year, I tried a swee tango apple, after listening to the hype; it was decent but not good enough to make up for the name. Fairly swee, but not much tango.

I am not much of an apple snob, though, and aside from nomenclature you won't hear me getting into arguments over apple varieties. My favorite apple is basically anything that isn't Red Delicious.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:07 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Coincidentally, just this morning, I was thinking about perhaps planting some apple trees in my yard. Types of apples that I like include: Apples. I guess I've never paid enough attention to which ones I prefer or (relatively speaking) dislike. What kind do I want (apparently not red delicious)? USDA hardiness zone 6a!
posted by Flunkie at 4:09 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pears are all about timing. Buy, stick in paper bag, wait for top to go soft, then eat. It's amazing how much difference even a day can make.

I grew up around apple orchards in Germany. As kids we nearly ate ourselves to death each year up on the trees during season. Unless we were up in the cherry or plum trees of course.

I can't even look at a Red Delicious without disgust and I feel sad for kids who grow up thinking that's what apples are like.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:16 PM on September 10, 2014


I'd just like to throw my lot for the jazz apple. A story: when I had my first honeycrisp, I thought, "surely this must be the Platonic ideal of apple taste!" Two years later I had my first jazz apple. World: upended.

Also, I like eating pink ladies. And also the apples.
posted by Perko at 4:32 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS.

It took me an hour and a trip to three different grocery stores, but I finally found some SweeTangos apples.... And... um... wow.

I would have thought that it was blasphemy to say it, but these things are... incredible. Like, maybe eeking by Honeycrisp incredible. This is a seriously terrific apple I am eating right now.
posted by kbanas at 4:52 PM on September 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm buying a place with two prodigious apple trees. I hope they're good. Harry and David pears do need to ripen, they are best soft, but I can't stand the skin unless I slice them up. The gross mealy part is just the skin alone if the pear is ripe.
posted by aydeejones at 4:59 PM on September 10, 2014


We lived in MN for almost twenty years but are now back in western ND. I miss the orchards almost as much as I miss Cosetta's on West 7th. The sacred Honeycrisps do appear in grocery stores this side of the border but now I am determined to seek out Zestar and Sweetango. I have the refrigerating capacity: two giant drawers at the bottom of my beer fridge. Oh it will happen. It will happen.
posted by Ber at 5:37 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


So MetaFilter, I herd u liek mudkipz apples?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:39 PM on September 10, 2014


The best apples are the tiny apples borne every two years by my incredibly pampered and coddled Rubinette apple tree, supposedly the tastiest apple in the world!!
posted by fiercekitten at 6:13 PM on September 10, 2014


Am I the only one to give the #1 spot and all my love to the Lobo apple? I know it's really only grown in Quebec but it's SO GOOD. The website says sweet but they are not. They have a good tartness, and have replaced Granny Smith as my favourite.

Red Delicious, on the other hand, are disgusting. This thread has restored my faith in humanity. We could stop wars by just saying "Hey guys, isn't the Red Delicious apple disgusting?"
posted by aclevername at 6:18 PM on September 10, 2014


I like horse apples.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:19 PM on September 10, 2014


> They are very tart and very tanin-y.

Sounds like they'd make a great hard cider.

I took a chance on a Red Delicious from, of all places, a Tim Horton's drive through last week and was pleasantly surprised, it was nice and crisp. On the other hand, I took a chance on some Paula Reds and it made me sad, they were so uncrisp.

Gonna have to hit the farmstands and U-picks once the season gets going here soon. Word is this season might still be good even though last year was stellar.
posted by one weird trick at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2014


Another nice fruit, ruined by corporate marketing. pretty, ships well. Those giant strawberries are pretty decent, but when you get real local strawberries, they are so tender and the flavor is so explosive in your mouth, you realize that those big ones are almost another fruit. Red Delicious are pretty good if you get them fresh and local; most Red Delicious are not fresh.

For pie, I usually use Macintosh and Cortland; they're local and fresh. Northern Spy if they're available, and it's always nice to try different cooking apples. A granny smith or 2 for tartness. Add some lemon juice, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. The pie crusts from the dairy case are pretty good. I like the pie to be very full of apples. Apple crisp is my son's favorite.
posted by theora55 at 6:36 PM on September 10, 2014


I am angry that others have apples that i do not right now have, what does our government plan to do about this apple disparity, this unacceptable apple gap, where are my tasty apples

thanks obama
posted by poffin boffin at 6:40 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well! This was the year I was finally going to get HUNY CRSP tattooed on my knuckles, but I guess I should try a Pink Lady first?
posted by oulipian at 6:42 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love apples, but could never say "THIS kind is the best", because I keep finding new (old?) ones that blow me away. In the past few years, I've found Michigan orchards that grow Cox Pippins, Russets, and one kind that kind of tastes like tutti-frutti (which is pretty amazing), among many others. I'm excited to go through several pecks a week this Autumn.

I will agree that Red delicious are the worst.
posted by sluggo at 6:46 PM on September 10, 2014


See the man. He is buying apples. He buys them by the sack, and takes them home. He sets them out on the table before him, opens a notepad on the table, sharpens his pen, and notes the date and time. He opens the first sack of apples and inhales deeply.

He detects: pesticides, chemical dirt, insect poop, diesel tang. He makes a note of these fragrances in his ledger, and moves to the next sack. He repeats the dance: open the apple bag, and smell of the apples. This batch smells more of plastic, and he has an annotation for that, which he dutifully records in his Apple Log. In this manner he works through nine bags of different kinds of apples.

Then, from his belt, he produces a folding knife, handed down to him by his father and his father's father, and the father before that, who bought it in a shop in order to cut his apples. The knife handed down blade first, in the family tradition, severing the nerves in the palm. The man uses his front teeth and single good hand to unfold the folding knife, but doesn't get the blade all the way out, and so it pops back in, cutting his lower lip.

Eventually, his chin smeared with bright red blood (he makes a note), he has unfolded the knife, and cuts into an apple from the first bag, slicing it lengthwise and not at a weird angle. He takes the half of the apple and holds it to the light to check for translucency and colour, the flesh and skin both, and makes his ciphers. Then he presses it into his nose, sniffing up the juices that bead out like sweat. The apple smells of: crisp grass, and cool meadows. He makes a note in the Apple Log, and dabs his face delicately with an old rag (his special apple rag).

In this manner he moves methodically, comprehensively, through a single specimen from each of the nine apple bags. His special apple rag is drenched with blood and apple juices, and his pupils are fully prolapsed, their corners twitching. The man has contracted apple fever, the most deadly of all the fruit fevers. Possibly from one bad apple, possibly from the combination of all of the apples (nine of them).

The cut-open apples are already browning on the table as the man heaves himself shakily to his feet. The apple fever slithers through his veins like a deadly apple snake through a bucket of apples. He stares down at his hands: they are apples. A cry escapes his cut-apple lips, and he lurches through the apple-shaped doorway into the bathroom, his apple heart beating faster and faster.

He dare not...but no, he must! Looks into the mirror over the sink (which is full of apples), and the horror overwhelms him. For he no longer possesses the face of a man. Instead, his face is an apple that has been cut in half (lengthwise), and his eyes are two little apple seeds. He batters at his apple face with his apple hands, hoping to dispel the hideous illusion, but succeeds only in punching apply juice all around the bathroom, which is painted red like an apple (a red one).

He feels bile rising in his throat, burning like apple cider. He half-slips, half-stumbles over to the toilet, lifting the lid. It is already overflowing with apples. He begins to heave, and then vomits explosively. His vomit is apples.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:52 PM on September 10, 2014 [15 favorites]


Holy crap. I have been streaming and binging on Once Upon a Time. Is this the next episode?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:00 PM on September 10, 2014


Apple trees were pretty common in our neighborhood when I was a kid. The prize apple tree was in a backyard a few houses down. Their apples were insanely sour and tart, but still juicy and "apple" flavored. Of course as kids we would eat them until we were sick,and then go back for more the next day. I imagine that as an adult, they'd be considered inedible. And then out of nowhere, all the apple trees in the neighborhood died over the course of a few years.

Those giant strawberries are pretty decent, but when you get real local strawberries, they are so tender and the flavor is so explosive in your mouth, you realize that those big ones are almost another fruit.

The grocery store produce aisle is just a chamber of horror and disappointment. All of my great fruit memories are tied to specific places and times, and industrial fruit is always a letdown.

As any Northwest native knows, fresh wild blackberries are pretty much a nuisance crop around those parts. The things they sell in stores are crude flavorless imitations of the blackberries you can find in any vacant lot in Seattle. Roadside cherry stands around the state were also a source of amazing fruit that leaves all other attempts wanting. There's a produce stand in the Pike Place Market that sells "oh my god" Peaches from Eastern Washington that are the second best piece of fruit I've ever put into my mouth. The very best was a mango I had in the Phillipines that was so good I became slightly aroused physically while eating it. I also never realized what avocados were actually supposed to taste like until a trip to Central America. I have yet to have one anywhere else that even came close.

I think we just came up with a new hobby here...fruit tourism.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:10 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


I had no idea how many people were apple snobs. (Seriously, we've had THAT many threads on apples?!) I thought it was just me because I got brought to Apple Hill every year. Which reminds me: to whoever wanted to know where to get apples in NorCal: applehill.com. You're gonna have to drive, but it's worth it. I'm just sorry I have to miss the honeycrisps this season because I don't have any weekends free to go up there this month.

(Honeycrisps FTW, followed by pink ladies and Apple Hill Golden Delicious, btw.)

As for pears: feh, don't get it. They're usually hard.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:11 PM on September 10, 2014


Red Delicious are OK for giving to horses or something (I guess? I haven't checked with any horses).

My horse doesn't like them. He sniffs them and goes to look for something good like a carrot or a banana.
posted by OolooKitty at 7:21 PM on September 10, 2014


Apples are life! Growing up it got to where some days I was eating nothing but apples. My mother would buy them weekly by the bushel from local orchards (shout out to Outhouse Orchards!) and although I have several brothers, most of the apples were eaten by me by mid-week.

It would be hard to leave NY because I am so dependent on NY State apples from my local farmer's market. Winesap and Macoun are my favorites, but Winesaps don't seem to be what they used to be.

BBC had an amazing documentary about apple cultivation in UK and Europe with so much information, but among many thousands of things I remember that during the Era of the great houses, the estate owners would compete with each other over apple cultivars created specially on their estates, some growing over a hundred different cultivars of apples.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:36 PM on September 10, 2014


Here is that BBC apple documentary - it's an hour long.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:39 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fuji master race reporting in.

Good. Now go into that pen over there with the other flavorless fruit-lovers.

And Turbid Dahlia, you…might want to go for a walk, or have an orange. Or something. Maybe a little lie-down?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:47 PM on September 10, 2014


Adding apples to the list of food that I will eat a lot of once I am able to. I guess I can have them in the form of cider or sauce now, but it's just not the same.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:08 PM on September 10, 2014


Victory! Sweetango for $3/lb at my new local grocery. I got there after work so they were a skosh picked over but still. Go Festival!

I'm actually eating one right now, and holy apple goodness, now I believe, I BELIEVE.
posted by Sphinx at 8:09 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Calville Blanc d'hiver is best apple.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:11 PM on September 10, 2014


Although, I should ask: how do they taste? I suppose taste counts more than color....

They are very good! Tart and apple-y. Good for baking and eating. Highly recommended, especially earlier in the season (later I've had some be not quite as firm as I like).
posted by kenko at 8:22 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm currently living in an apple wasteland, where they all cost nearly $2/lb

Hmm. I live in New England and have pretty much never seen apples at the grocery store for less than $2/lb within the past few years...where is the apple promised land?
posted by threeants at 8:35 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


$1.50/lb at NYC Farmer's Markets
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:47 PM on September 10, 2014


My favorite is Cameo, when I can find it. Like Fuji, it's the child of Red Delicious, but is sweet and tart and tastes like an apple.

After the completion of the Great Northern Railway, Clarence Stark sent trainloads of seedlings to newly established orchards in the Columbia River Valley, their leaves trembling as the engines rumbled West.

Okay, this sentence from the article is making me crazy. They would be cuttings, not seedlings, or they wouldn't be Red Delicious*. And chances are they were shipped when dormant, otherwise they would have needed water and sunlight on their multi-day journey. Boo to you, Atlantic writer.

* Apple varieties do not come true from seed.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


An apple farmer told me of the Wickson apple but I haven't seen it anywhere. Anyone here had those? I should frequent more farmer's markets.
posted by pantufla_milagrosa at 10:36 PM on September 10, 2014


caution live frogs asked about peach varieties - check out jocelmeow's series of comments starting here. She was in the fruit business and shared some good stuff about peaches -- basically, they're not sold by variety because they have such a narrow window of ripeness and must be sold immediately (unlike apples that can be stored). There are a huge number of varieties that each ripen in a slightly different one or two week window, to allow for continuous supply, so you'd be changing your variety sign at the market every couple of days.

Flunkie asked about buying apple trees -- maybe try looking thru the Fedco catalog (that's their chart comparing apple varieties). They are a great company and select varieties for cold climates.

About Red Delicious - I read an article several years go that said they have indeed changed. That they used to be much sweeter and firmer and that selection/cultivation for the industrial system is indeed what has made them suck.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:49 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wickson is a crab apple, but a surprisingly approachable one that makes pretty good cider as well.
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:55 PM on September 10, 2014


Here's Julia Child making tarte tatin (apple tart). She starts off with a little disquisition on apple varieties, which ones are availble where and which will cook down vs remaining firm.

(Also, there is a fun ending here - the dish is supposed to come out as an upside-down cake, with a crown of firm apples... skip to 17:30 where she pulls it out of the oven, and it's totally mush - she speculates because the store must have mislabeled the apple variety. And they don't edit it out, she just soldiers on with the show and tries to dress up the mushy dish.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:01 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


That they used to be much sweeter and firmer and that selection/cultivation for the industrial system is indeed what has made them suck.

That makes more sense; it really is hard to believe that they'd have originally been propagated with such enthusiasm if they hadn't actually been really good compared to other cultivars of the time, at least. Consider the tomato -- supermarket tomatoes are revolting. But they didn't start out that way, and you can still find or grow other varieties that are fantastic.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:01 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Horse apples are free if you can find them.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:22 AM on September 11, 2014


Honestly, I thought the popularity of red delicious apples was part of a Truman Show type conspiracy against me and I'm very glad to read these comments to find out that I'm not (in this instance) completely insane. Thank you.

I thought the same, but the truth is worse. No one likes red delicious apples, their annual production is measured in the millions of tonnes. It’s like something out of a dystopia.
posted by Fongotskilernie at 2:41 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Red delicious are one of my favourite apple varieties. I don't know what you guys are all complaining about. I actually buy them by choice, even when they aren't the cheapest apples available. I admit that they are bad when soft and mealy, though. But when crisp, they are great!
posted by lollusc at 4:13 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


This place: http://www.oxfordpreservation.org.uk/land/wolvercoteorchard.php

Heaven for apple appreciators...
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 6:56 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Red delicious is the favourite apple of all three of my kids. World, I am sorry.

I suspect that it's mostly because one could drop a red delicious, let it bounce on the floor, accidentally kick it into a wall while walking over to pick it up and it still won't have a bruise. My youngest (10) tried to green bin 3/4 of a banana the other day because after peeling it there was a 1/8 inch round brown spot on it.
posted by nobeagle at 7:27 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Australian appleheads should make a beeline for the Antique Apple Tasting Festival at Petty's Orchard in Templestowe, Victoria, on the last Sunday in March. They grow over 200 heritage varieties, including apples with skin so rich in red pigment that they 'bleed' when cut, and my all time favourite, the zingy and delicious Pitmaston Pineapple.

As luck would have it, I'm going to be in the UK in a couple of weeks, so I'll be heading straight to Wolvercote Orchard (thanks 43rdAnd9th!) or Keepers Orchard's Apple Day to get a luxurious second Pitmaston fix this year. Mmmmmm.
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2014


Flunkie: Coincidentally, just this morning, I was thinking about perhaps planting some apple trees in my yard. ... USDA hardiness zone 6a!

Co-coincidentally, I asked about growing apple trees in Rhode Island last year, and fled, dismayed by all the pests and disease, back to the grocery store produce aisle. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2014


Well with all you magnificent bastards talking about your favorite apples, I had to go to the grocery store and ended I up with 3 different varieties and now I'm sitting here eating sausage cheddar stuffed apples and trying to find out where I can buy sweetangos. So thanks for that, I guess.
posted by specialagentwebb at 3:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


now I'm sitting here eating sausage cheddar stuffed apples

what the fuck am I doing with my life and why isn't it that
posted by Wolfdog at 4:12 PM on September 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


Could someone please cure OAS?
posted by agog at 9:51 PM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


YES FUCK OAS
posted by en forme de poire at 1:26 AM on September 13, 2014


I got a bad episode of it from eating the most delicious salad I'd ever made the other night. I mean a fucking salad! I'm TRYING here people
posted by en forme de poire at 1:34 AM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


You don't live near me and obviously have not tasted Hauer Pippins. Because if you had this entire discussion would be moot.

THAT'S RIGHT I SAID IT.
posted by scrump at 10:56 AM on September 15, 2014


You don't live near me and obviously have not tasted Hauer Pippins.

I'll be visiting rellies in Sunnyvale about harvest time. I will make a point of tasting them then. Thanks for the tip scrump.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:14 PM on September 15, 2014


I bought some Honeycrisps because of this thread and they were quite good, especially with sharp cheddar, but ridiculously expensive. What are the good apple varieties in the Southwest US right now, and where in Albuquerque can I buy these tastier apples affordably?
posted by NoraReed at 1:29 PM on September 15, 2014


Yeah, there were Honeycrisps in the store this weekend for four dollars a pound. And this in Minnesota, although I'm assuming the price will fall as the season progresses.

I got some nice-looking Braeburns instead and they are quite good.
posted by Frowner at 1:42 PM on September 15, 2014


I went apple picking this weekend, and brought home a half bushel of a variety of stuff, including some honeycrisps (my wife loves them), cortlands (because my pies love them), and a few other odds and ends.

True story, the staff gave everyone a (gentle, but firm) talking to up front about how valuable honeycrisps in particular are are, so please be careful removing them from the trees, and please don't take a bite and toss them, etc. (they were fine with sampling, just asked that people be aware that one variety in particular is like $4/lb or more at nearby grocery stores, so please, be nice).

This was at Tougas Farm in Northboro, MA. $33 for a half-bushel, which holds around 20lbs. Plus, you can eat a bunch while you're there, and feed the goats, etc. Good times.

If you're not in the New England area, though, well, sorry about that.
posted by tocts at 2:17 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Because of this thread, I bought a bag of ginger golds impulsively yesterday evening.
posted by PearlRose at 10:20 AM on September 17, 2014


And (also because of this thread) I'm giving some sigh SweeTangos a try. Tasty, to be sure, but I'm not yet certain if it's tasty enough to overcome the repellent name.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:20 PM on September 21, 2014


I sampled a lot of the kinds of apples and long story short I just came home from the grocery store with 13 pounds of apples because they are fancy-ass apples and they were on sale for a dollar. I live alone. I will probably eat them all in like a week. I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY, METAFILTER, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.
posted by NoraReed at 7:59 PM on September 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hope you also bought some loperamide!
posted by en forme de poire at 4:42 PM on September 26, 2014


Finally tried SweeTangos. Good, but not as "appley" as HoneyCrisp. Long live the king.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:56 AM on September 27, 2014


Bought some SweeTangos today. They're good, but not good enough to justify the high price (and all the ones at my grocery were bruised, too).
posted by misskaz at 12:27 PM on October 5, 2014


This thread got me to try some of the named varieties, after years of not eating apples on account of the decline of Granny Smiths and the continuing disappointment of the beautiful Red Delicious. I like the Pinks, but the Honey Crisps are better, with a thinner skin.

Now, if they could just fix the domestic oranges. I'm buying South African ones now, because all the domestics seem to have that bug that makes them unpalatable.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:12 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


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