“We started eating with our eyes and not our mouths,”
September 4, 2018 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Good Riddance to the Red Delicious, an Apple That Sucks [Slate] “The Red Delicious is no longer the dominant apple in American orchards, the U.S. Apple Association said last week, after lasting five decades in the top spot. The Gala apple [wiki] is now first; Red Delicious second; Granny Smith third. By 2020, the Honeycrisp, which so prized by consumers that they’ll pay higher prices for the privilege of eating one, may crack the growers’ top three.”

• The Long, Monstrous Reign of the Red Delicious Apple Is Ending [The New York Times]
““It’s the beginning of the end,” said Tom Burford, an apple historian, orchard consultant and admitted Red Delicious detractor. “How are you going to market a tasteless apple when the consumer has tasted so many good apples?” Despite his bias, Mr. Burford has a point: The decline of the Red Delicious, with its mild flavor and often mealy texture, can be credited to a shift in consumer preferences toward apples that are crunchier, crisper and sweeter. “It’s the industry adapting to the consumer’s demands,” said Mark Seetin, the director of industry affairs for the Apple Association, who, unlike Mr. Burford, is more sanguine about the apple variety’s future.”
• Gala finally kicks Red Delicious out of the top apple spot [The Takeout]
“The U.S. Apple Association said in a statement about its apple projections that people seem to like the “taste, texture and sweetness” of Gala apples. The Takeout staff said, in the apple-centric portion of its morning call, that Red Delicious apples are garbage apples. Granny Smith apples, Fuji apples, and wonderful perfect magical Honeycrisp apples are projected to be third most popular apple, fourth most popular apple, and fifth most popular apple, respectively. Honeycrisp apples in particular are dominant, perhaps because they’re such majestic delicious apples, “with production rising 21.8 percent to 23.5 million this year,” according to the apple article from the apple experts at USA Today.”
posted by Fizz (138 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm glad that non-hideous apples are finally getting their time in the limelight.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:30 AM on September 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


COSMIC CRISP WHEN
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:32 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


Remember, a bruised apple is still good. It still has feelings, you don't throw out or ignore the whole apple just because it doesn't conform to some idealized corporate fantasy of what an apple should look like. Looks aren't everything (especially when it comes to fruit).
posted by Fizz at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Here’s another write up on the problems with Red Delicious from 2005.. It’s been known to be in decline for awhile and I was curious when it would finally fall from popularity.

“Who's to blame for the decline of Red Delicious? Everyone, it seems. Consumers were drawn to the eye candy of brilliantly red apples, so supermarket chains paid more for them. Thus, breeders and nurseries patented and propagated the most rubied mutations, or "sports," that they could find, and growers bought them by the millions, knowing that these thick-skinned wonders also would store for ages.”

It happens to more than just apples. Strawberries have seen a similar shift, driven to larger and larger fruits, sometimes roughly the size of a plum, they’re pumped so full of water they loose the concentration of sugars which makes them so sweet and tasty.

While I agree that the red delicious apples aren’t tasty, I don’t like the framing that the Apple itself is “bad”. Capitalism destroyed the red delicious. Same thing will happen to whatever Apple rises next honey crisp? gala? Give them a few decades and they’ll have their best traits bred out of them in favor of marketing and transportation.
posted by HMSSM at 9:39 AM on September 4, 2018 [17 favorites]


Red Delicious are unambiguously bullshit, but I am here to defend to the death Golden Delicious (farmstand/farmers market only). Not my favorite apple but doesnt deserve to have its reputation dragged down by the similarly named abomination.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:40 AM on September 4, 2018 [32 favorites]


The Granny Smith is my favourite apple and I know that it's fairly sour and more often used for baking/cooking, etc. But I just prefer that sour bite that it has.
posted by Fizz at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2018 [21 favorites]


Bonus Link: A guide to apple varieties [L.A. Times]
posted by Fizz at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Winesap or die, baby.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [15 favorites]


We picked some silkens and lobos on Sunday. I've never had the silken variety before, but it's delicious. Mild, not very tart, crisp, with a faint floral scent. Very delicate, but a good texture, similar to a granny smith. Highly recommended if you can find them. The kids were going bonkers for them.

Though my favourites remain the golden russets that come later in October.
posted by bonehead at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Honeycrisp or bust!
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'm confused, shouldn't Slate be all "Red Delicious is actually the best apple, and mealyness is a desirable quality"

stay on brand dammit
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2018 [41 favorites]


Fuji. CRONCH. Galas are pretty OK and all.

(OK I want to go apple picking!)
posted by wellred at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2018 [9 favorites]


People liking Honeycrisps baffles me. They are gross.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


What's the opposite of "." ?
posted by ckape at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm wary of Honeycrisps, having been burned too many times. I'd be willing to pay the premium for a consistently delightful apple, but I find them to be hit-or-miss -- odds are roughly 2/1 that I get a mealy or sawdusty specimen. It's somehow more disappointing to get a mediocre Honeycrisp than, say, a mediocre Granny Smith or Gala, and also more exciting to get surprised by a truly excellent Granny Smith than to get a Honeycrisp that merely meets one's expectations / lives up to the hype.

also APPLE SEASON HOORAY IT IS APPLE SEASON BRING ON THE ANNUAL ARGUMENT ABOUT APPLE VARIETALS
posted by halation at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


Ambrosia or nothing.
posted by FissionChips at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not liking the looks of this for the tasty Gala apples. Red Delicious' used to be fine and it seemed like it was only after they became "the" apple for stores to carry that their taste and texture went to hell. I guess I'll have to hope Honeycrisp moves to the number one spot since those are obnoxious already so it won't give a damn if producers try to "improve" them like they did the reds.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oh no, are Honeycrisps starting to have quality issues? When I fell in love with them like 4-5 years ago they were uniformly crispy and delicious.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Snow.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


A good Honeycrisp is pretty damn good, but I feel like I haven't had a good one in a while, making me wonder if they're in decline too.

Sweetango is fantastic, but oh so fragile.
posted by Foosnark at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Red Delicious are garbage apples. They're not good for eating on their own and they're not even particularly good for baking (which is where the Granny Smith truly excels, IMO).

Galas are my go-to apples these days. Pink Ladies are also pretty good, although they're one of those weird trademarked names, so you're paying a premium because the growers have to pay a licensing fee to use the name (they can grow the variety without paying the fee, but must market it under a different name).
posted by asnider at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Lady Alice, but they’re not at their best until February/March...
posted by ovenmitt at 10:00 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been taste testing every apple variety I come across for the last two years. I'm up to 30 or so. Red Delicious are only the second-worst in my list. The actual worst apple I've eaten (three times to confirm) is a Red Rome. My review reads thusly:
Red Rome - what a piece of shit. This makes a red delicious seem like a luxury item. Thick red chewy skins covers the most lifeless green fleshed apple ever. Flavor is a 0. Literally none. Sweetness is a 0, because there. is. no. flavor. Imagine a flavorless, astringent apple. The texture is also bad. Dry, gritty, mushy, made all the worse by the skin. These road apples are nigh inedible and should never be served.
Honeycrisps are fine, but there's better to be had. The winners are: Lady Alice, Opal Sweet, Granny Smith, Autumn Glory, Ambrosia, Pazazz and Breeze. I also dig a Fuji, because they are decent and pretty readily available.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:03 AM on September 4, 2018 [18 favorites]


Honeycrisp are a fine corporate offering (they are indeed trademarked), the same way Starbucks coffee is fine. They're consistent and not offensive to the palate, indeed much better than what they displaced. But they're not the Ultimate Apple. They're a decent apple, but it's ok to like others too.
posted by bonehead at 10:03 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Trader Joe got me hooked on Opals and then took them away. :(
posted by betweenthebars at 10:05 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


The actual worst apple I've eaten (three times to confirm) is a Red Rome. My review reads thusly:

Please start a twitter account called @badapples and start reviewing. PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE!!
posted by Fizz at 10:06 AM on September 4, 2018 [56 favorites]


According to my sources in the industry, the next big varietal will be the SweeTango, which has the advantage being an early ripener, more oblong than oblate (American consumers prefer an oblong apple shape by a decent margin), and "spicier" than its more cloyingly sweet parent, the honeycrisp.
posted by Chrischris at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


I live far away from my home state but am currently typing on a laptop with the Washington state apple logo covering the more ubiquitous one it came issued with. Sadly the only Washington apples that ever arrive in our stores with boxes bearing that logo are the tasteless abominations in question. I hang my head in shame. It's not just the mealy flesh, but the bitter skin that gets me. I've been led to believe that the Reds were grown mainly for export markets where red apples are appreciated symbolically for their intense hue.

Åkerö or bust.
posted by St. Oops at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2018


Cripps Pink, AKA Pink Lady apples, are for sure my favourite variety. Honeycrisp apples are fine, but I'll pick Pink over them any time. I like that they're denser and tangier.
posted by one of these days at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2018 [9 favorites]


I read a few years ago that Honeycrisps were in fact on the way down, partly because the patent owners had initially restricted permission to grow them to only a few growers/locations, which kept them fairly rare but also maintained high quality. This has changed recently (a few years ago?), with the patent-owners allowing a much larger number of growers and putting fewer restrictions on how they may be grown, which will mean a much wider range of quality.

So it's not yet surprising to find a good Honeycrisp, but it's going to be less and less common.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:09 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm a sucker for the GoldRush myself.
posted by mike_honcho at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2018


People liking Honeycrisps baffles me. They are gross.

Since I like tart, crisp apples best (Pink Lady 4eva, Fuji when I can't get a Pink Lady, Gala when I can't even get a Fuji) I had assumed my tastes were just more XTREEM than those of Honeycrisp lovers. Last year I had a Honeycrisp at the farmer's market that finally clued me into the fuss. That one (and only that one) hit a really nice balance of crispness, mild tartness, and mild, honey-like sweetness. Every other Honeycrisp I've had has been comparatively mushy and bland, but apparently they're not all like that.

The one thing I don't like about the Pink Lady™ is the FUD they propagate about Cripps Pink. No quality standards! Anything goes! Pink Lady™ acts like she's too good for her family after moving to the big city. My local grocery store only ever gets the ones with the Pink Lady™ stickers but I have no fear of buying a Cripps Pink.
posted by fedward at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Honeycrisps are awesome, but they don't travel as well as say...Red Delicious (boo hiss). So if you're getting a Honeycrisp from a store in, say, Alabama, it's gone through too much travel and has probably suffered a bit for it.

I have a Honeycrisp tree in my yard (3 years old now, no apples yet) and let me tell you, it is a pain-in-the-ass of a tree. Honeycrisps are well-known to be kind of pathetic-looking trees and some years rootstocks are worse than others (I got a bad year). They're finicky and susceptible to blight and other tree problems. My guess is that the recent downturn in Honeycrisp quality might be from a Bad Year in the orchard, or maybe some of those wimpy rootstock trees are struggling.

And yeah, they're trademarked by the University of Minnesota! go Gophers! They were developed at the Ag School. So it's not like they're a product of Monsanto or anything. And their original patent has expired so you can plant all the Honeycrisps you want now...if you're prepared to baby along pain-in-the-ass trees.
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:11 AM on September 4, 2018 [11 favorites]


Oh you almost got me today Metafilter, but almost isn't good enough. Usually I'll stumble into an apple thread just after lunch, or after I get home for the evening, and be stuck reading everyone's descriptions of their wonderful apple choices. And I'll just have to sit there, disappointed in my lack of a tasty apple to enjoy. But today it's just before lunchtime, so I'm going to get myself an apple (Honeycrisp or maybe a Fuji) and then I'll be able to read the thread without suffering from apple envy.
posted by borkencode at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


Honeycrisps are great but you gotta get them from that season-- they store a long time so a lot of stores will put out Honeycrisps that have been sitting in a cooler since last fall.

I am spoiled, now... the only apples I eat are the ones I pluck from twisted, moss-covered feral trees while walking through the fields with my dog on a glorious autumnal day here on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by The otter lady at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


I'm wary of Honeycrisps, having been burned too many times. I'd be willing to pay the premium for a consistently delightful apple, but I find them to be hit-or-miss -- odds are roughly 2/1 that I get a mealy or sawdusty specimen. It's somehow more disappointing to get a mediocre Honeycrisp than, say, a mediocre Granny Smith or Gala, and also more exciting to get surprised by a truly excellent Granny Smith than to get a Honeycrisp that merely meets one's expectations / lives up to the hype.

The Honeycrisp, as we all know, was initially bred by the University of Minnesota. However, the U of M used particular planting methods and soil choices that subsequent growers are not required to use, so Honeycrisps are various and, as they've gotten more popular, have drifted away from their original qualities.

As I understand it, when you buy SweeTango cultivars, you are required to commit to growing them according to a particular method in order to keep them consistent. (Also developed by the UMN. Not a bad apple.)

Arkansas Blacks, Ambrosias and Firesides (when they're good) are the best apples.
posted by Frowner at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2018 [11 favorites]


Sweet Tango, where have you been all my life
posted by benzenedream at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2018


I'm with HMSSM on the Red Delicious - capitalism killed them. Sometimes you can stumble on some from an old orchard as I have and was surprised how much better they were compared to the modern incarnation. I think Macintosh are in the same boat - capitalism has bred the deliciousness out of them. I feel Galas & Granny Smiths are heading that way as well.

Russets are my favorite old breed. While I don't mind Honey Crisps, the ones I encounter are often huge and too much to eat at one sitting. But of the new bunch of corporate apples, Red Prince is a favorite and a nice change over the Empires over our long Canadian winter.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:14 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


Aside, my girlfriend claims to legitimately enjoy Red Delicious apples. I am sending her this article and I hope her response can give me some insight into what the heck she finds appealing about them at all.
posted by one of these days at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2018


I actually had a red delicious a few months ago that wasn't a potato at all. It was so good it was like the Platonic model of apple flavor, crisp, sweet and fresh with a bite. It was also a smaller apple, not one of those supermarket friendly inflated starch monsters.

I suspect it may have come from someone's yard orchard, because it didn't have a label and I got it from the food bank.

It was so damn good it surprised me and made me question every bad feeling I'd ever had about red delicious apples.
posted by loquacious at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


Winesap, an adult apple:

Winesap apples are dark red, round and medium sized; the skin of this apple is firm, and the flesh is crisp and exceptionally juicy with a creamy yellow hue. Winesap apples are highly aromatic with a balanced sweet-tart taste and get their name due to their distinctive spicy wine like flavor.

posted by jim in austin at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


I think Macintosh are in the same boat - capitalism has bred the deliciousness out of them.

Yep. When I'm in an orchard that has row upon row of relatively young Macintosh tree, and then in the back there's a decades older set of enormous old trees from back when the orchard started, the taste difference is night and day.

I suspect we will be doing this "what's the tasty apple now?" dance forever. Each new title holder quickly loses its edge as mass production takes hold, and priorities change.
posted by tocts at 10:22 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Came here expecting some honeycrisp hate, all ready to defend fresh farmer's market honeycrisp apples (I grew up in WA--an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fresh local apples), now see that I was beaten to it.

Of course, many of us aren't lucky enough to live in proximity to delicious apples fresh from a family orchard. I see you and I feel your loss.
posted by duffell at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Our last apple fight was less than a year ago. I am glad that the consensus grows that Red Delicious is in fact, Mealy Garbage Fruit.
posted by Karaage at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


The best apples are, without a doubt, the ones I stole of my neighbors' trees when I was a kid. If I had a time machine with limited trips, I would let baby Hitler live to get some of those sweet little bastards again.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:27 AM on September 4, 2018


It happens to more than just apples. Strawberries have seen a similar shift, driven to larger and larger fruits, sometimes roughly the size of a plum, they’re pumped so full of water they loose the concentration of sugars which makes them so sweet and tasty.

Supermarket strawberries have been tasteless rubbish for decades now. In my neck of the woods, even roadside stand and farmer's market strawberries can be pretty sketchy. It wasn't until I visited my cousin in San Francisco that I got to eat an honest-to-goodness strawberry-tasting strawberry again. I mean, the things were red all the way through, unlike the ones in my supermarket that are red merely on the outside and ghostly white inside.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm currently infatuated with Gravenstein apples, but stanned Golden Delicious for well over a decade. Very good served in slices over Special K and soy milk, as taught by a friend in college!
posted by peripathetic at 10:40 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


The big problem with apples in America is they are often a year old. Apples do store well, but a year later they are nowhere near as good.

That's why Honeycrisps suck now. When they were introduced most of them were fresh. Now they're old. These days I seem to like Envy apples best. It's absolutely ridiculous I'm importing apples from New Zealand when I live just miles away from California orchards and down the road from the apple paradise that is Washington State. But the Envy apples arrive fresh and crisp and juicy. Local Gravensteins are a good choice too if you can find them direct from a farmer.

The good thing about apples (instead of, say, bananas) is we have so many varieties to choose from. And that's not even starting in on the 1000+ varieties of cider apples that are still hiding out there.
posted by Nelson at 10:44 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


You guys don't actually eat the apple peels do you?
posted by benzenedream at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2018


Supermarket strawberries have been tasteless rubbish for decades now. In my neck of the woods, even roadside stand and farmer's market strawberries can be pretty sketchy. It wasn't until I visited my cousin in San Francisco that I got to eat an honest-to-goodness strawberry-tasting strawberry again. I mean, the things were red all the way through, unlike the ones in my supermarket that are red merely on the outside and ghostly white inside.

I'm very aware that signing up for a CSA made me look like an elite privileged Brooklyn foodie hipster, especially when I signed up for mine ten years ago, things like "locavorism" were all the rage and spurred many of my other members' membership.

But for me, wanting produce that actually tasted good was the reason I signed up. I welcome strawberries and rhubarb as a herald of spring each year, I've learned that I like beets after a previous lifetime of thinking I didn't, I've fed myself deliciously for ten years and - most importantly - I get a pound or two of the good fruit every week. Tiny red but sweet strawberries, succulent raspberries and blueberries, four kinds of plums, three kinds of peaches, and in a couple weeks we'll be getting the apple bonanza - and not a Red Delicious among them, either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Some years ago, I lived in Northern Virginia and found some Honeycrisp apples at the grocery store. I was intrigued by the name, so I bought some and OH HOLY SHIT WHERE HAVE THESE BEEN ALL MY LIFE. Thus I entered a several year-long period of frustration of hitting four or five stores each week trying to find my new favorite apples.

Some years after that, we relocated to Minnesota, and I was delighted to find that Honeycrisps were everywhere. Moving here has enabled a lot of wonderful changes in my life - my husband and I almost certainly saved our marriage, we bought a beautiful old house, I discovered the fun of going to hockey games, and I graduate from nursing school in December (thanks, y'all). However, one of the chief advantages to living here is ALL THE HONEYCRISP APPLES.
posted by timetoevolve at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


Meh, I'm just glad that people are starting to grow traditional cider apples again. If you ever get a chance to eat one, it's worth trying—they're pretty weird if you're used to US-common supermarket "eating apples".
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not a whole lot to add here but last night at the Gristedes I noted that the "Crips" were right next to the "Blood Oranges" so I expect all hell to break loose in that store.
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2018 [26 favorites]


Red Delicious isn't the best apple, but good fresh, yet ripe specimens are still pretty tasty. They're gross when they get even a bit overripe, though. Granny Smith are a better general purpose apple.

All the "new" ones are quite tasty, but are too sweet for more than occasional consumption and aren't all that great for use in cooking or even simple apple and peanut butter type snacks. They stand better on their own, but don't play as well with others.
posted by wierdo at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2018


You guys don't actually eat the apple peels do you?

I was always told that the peel contains the most nutrients. This is technically not true, but by tossing the peel, you're definitely cheating yourself out of some of the fiber and vitamin content.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


You guys don't actually eat the apple peels do you?

I even prefer to keep the peels on when we make apple sauce. Adds colour and flavour.
posted by bonehead at 11:05 AM on September 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


I love how everyone here has such strong opinions when it comes to apple/fruit consumption.

MetaFilter: we don't just count beans, but apples too.
posted by Fizz at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


I even prefer to keep the peels on when we make apple sauce. Adds colour and flavour.

I do the same thing when I make potato salad.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Apples have different skills. Rome apples are for *cooking*, not eating out of hand. I belong to an apple CSA run by a family with an orchard full of bizarre varieties, organically farmed. The differences in flavor, texture, color, scent, and shape across the dozen varieties in each box are astounding, but my favorite part is that the apples are civilized in size - rarely bigger than a baseball. And some of the tiny sweet Whitney Crabs are wonderful vanilla-scented pipqueaks that are the size of Bing cherries.

Who wants a grapefruit-sized apple for a snack? I'm all about huge apples - Spitzenbergs, e.g., for baking (the peeling to pie-eating ratio improves quickly) - but for snack or dessert apples? ARGH.
posted by janell at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ginger Gold. Mmmmm crunchy.
posted by kerf at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Johnagolds are reliable.

Honeycrisp: Only in season. They are pretty bad after November. And the medium sized ones often are better than the giant sized chain supermarket ones -- who knows how old those are.
posted by jjj606 at 11:23 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


> MetaFilter: we don't just count beans, but apples too.

More classically the statement is "hi I'm on metafilter and I could overthink a plate of beans." Your reformulation privileges quantitative analysis in a way that doesn't play out in practice; certainly, metafilterians can overthink a plate of beans (or a bushel of apples) by counting the beans, or by assigning numerical values to the qualities of apples in the bushel and then performing statistical analyses, but more often beanplating can refer to considering beans (or apples, or whatever) qualitatively — by, for example, engaging in a dialectical process with other mefites on the topic of beans, or, indeed, by performing materialist analysis by engaging in a dialectic with the beans themselves.

or apples.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


Who wants a grapefruit-sized apple for a snack?

My Honeycrisps pollinator/companion tree is a Wolf River, which boast one-pound apples 8 inches around - "large enough to make a one-apple pie!". They're a cooking apple, but I will probably try to eat one in a single sitting....just to see if I can do it.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


I will celebrate the demise of the Red Delicious if only because it will also mark the end of my beloved husband launching into a hand-waving rant every time he sees them. (And I'll happily put myself on Team Honeycrisp.)
posted by VioletU at 11:25 AM on September 4, 2018


I like Honeycrisp apples well enough, but I'm more partial to one of their parents, the Honeygold, a cross between a Gold Delicious and a Haralson. It's golden in color, has the crispness of a Honeycrisp, but is sweeter in flavor.

For those who are not fortunate enough to be in Minnesota, and who prefer an apple that's more tart than a Honeycrisp while preserving the crispness, you will be delighted to know that the First Kiss apple made its debut at the State Fair this year and will no doubt be arriving on shelves near you before long. It's a Honeycrisp cross and ripens a month earlier than Honeycrisp. Google tells me that they'll be labeled First Kiss apples within Minnesota, and Rave apples for the rest of the country.

I had a First Kiss apple at the fair. It was good. I like a sweeter apple though.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


And I'll happily put myself on Team Honeycrisp

Now envisioning a Battle Royale style game where we all throw apples at each other in an epic, only one person shall remain type of brawl. Each team gets their own bushel of apples.
posted by Fizz at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Obviously, Team Red Delicious will loose that too, as all their weapons are mush. Team Cox Pippin for the win! A perfect hurling apple.
posted by bonehead at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


That sounds extremely hurty.
posted by wellred at 11:34 AM on September 4, 2018


ctrl-f cortland
phrase not found

what
posted by Melismata at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


In the 90s, importers tried to make Red Delicious and Granny Smith premium-price apples in Eastern Europe. That... did not go well in countries that know their apples.

(I vote for Cox apples, though they're hard to get these days. Antonovka for cooking.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:45 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Obviously, Team Red Delicious will loose that too, as all their weapons are mush.

On the contrary, they'd be the only combatants unlikely to be tempted to actually eat their weapons; everyone else would be distracted by sampling the ammunition, but RDs are pretty much only good for flinging away from you at high rates of speed.
posted by halation at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Gala apple [wiki] is now first

Okay, but is it GEY-la, GAL-uh, or GAH-luh? A Stack Exchange post says that only the third pronunciation is supposed to be for the apple, but I've heard the second one used for the apple too.
posted by FJT at 11:48 AM on September 4, 2018


Red Rome - what a piece of shit.
They've been terrible since forever. I have no idea why they are sold as food.

You guys don't actually eat the apple peels do you?
Wait, why would you not eat the peels?
posted by Foosnark at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2018 [7 favorites]


Yet another person on team "Red Delicious apples were great before overcommercialization." Beware, all you Honeycrisp fans! Your doom is written in Delicious history.

We spent our summer picking wild blackberries and they were near-uniformly delicious (except for the occasional loser berry). We're at my mom's and just bought some grocery store blackberries. Each one is as big as three wild berries and chances are 50/50 it will shift the Overton window on "sour."

Growing up in New England, I ate strawberries for that one berry in 10 that was flavorful. I got spoiled by farmers' markets in California, where nearly every berry was flavorful, and grocery store strawberries are now forever a disappointment.
posted by rednikki at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2018


Here in the UK, it's all about the Cox. Eat some Cox! They're juicy.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


If Honeycrisp gets over-commercialized, the U of M will just invent a new one. /spoiled brat
posted by Autumnheart at 12:02 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


When was the turning point for the commercialization for Red Delicious? Because even in the mid 90s I remember them being terrible - I was all in for Granny Smith at that point.
posted by brilliantine at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


ctrl+"kanzi"

Nothing? No European Kanzi fans? It's a cross between Gala and Braeburn and it's AMAZING. Best apple I've ever bought in a grocery store, hands down.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 12:08 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


ctrl-f cortland
phrase not found

what


I am all about the Cortlands and Empires.
posted by briank at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Fuji is number four? Really? My sense of the apple market is clearly very badly skewed.

I suspect people making a decision to purchase an apple to eat themselves, raw, may be a rather small part of these numbers.
posted by eotvos at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2018


Red Delicious is truly terrible. Here in British Columbia, my favourite apple is the Spartan, which is hybrid of the equally delicious McIntosh.
posted by JamesBay at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


pssst, Gravenstein

Now to sort of defend the Red Delicious, if you ever happen on a bin of small ugly misshapen Delicious (seconds), grab a few. It's not a bad apple at all, just fraken-agro-abused. If not over watered and pushed to be huge glistening, the flavor and texture are quite nice.
posted by sammyo at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2018


If Honeycrisp gets over-commercialized, the U of M will just invent a new one.

That role has already been filled by the SweeTango. "It also inherited the crisp texture of 'Honeycrisp' and juiciness of 'Zestar!®.'" They learned a lesson from Honeycrisp, though:
Minneiska is a "managed variety," a relatively new concept for U.S. growers that is more common abroad. An important advantage of "managed varieties" is they allow growers to maintain high quality standards related to optimum growing sites, climate, and production practices. This helps assure the growth of a consistently premium quality SweeTango® Minneiska Apple.

In 2009, a limited supply of SweeTango® Minneiska Apples became available to consumers in Minnesota, the Northwest, and New England. Additionally, SweeTango® Minneiska Apples are now available to consumers nationwide.

Trees likely will not be available to the general public until the patent expires in 2026.
posted by fedward at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


"...other mefites on the topic of beans, or, indeed, by performing materialist analysis by engaging in a dialectic with the beans..."

Yes, I always thought 'navy bean' supports False consciousness amongst the petite-borgeoisie non commissioned officer set. Granny Smith, ageism coupled with commerical pie selling undermines dialectical process and could lead to black market allocation and crop shortages.
posted by clavdivs at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


BTW I'm not sure if this New Yorker article about the development of the SweeTango was in any of the previouslies, but it's here now.
Price, rather than quality, became the determining factor, as growers and retailers engaged in a headlong race to see who could produce the largest yields and the lowest prices. By the sixties, the apple industry had managed to turn the perfect convenience food—a tasty, healthy, portable, durable snack wrapped in an edible peel—into the insipid and cottony hardball that soured several generations of children on apples. Today, the average American eats less than half as many apples in a year as the average European eats. And that’s where the story of SweeTango begins.
I swear, the first time my mom handed me a Granny Smith instead of a Red Delicious was the first time I enjoyed eating an apple.
posted by fedward at 12:33 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


It is interesting looking up some of the cultivars people are championing in this thread. So many of the ones I've never heard of are trademarked or proprietary and regional.

Not sure if I truly hate any apples cultivars - I like some more than others certainly but sometimes I think that some kinds that are just better consumed in ways rather than eating fresh. For instance, the Lodi is a terrible eating apple but it makes pretty good apple sauce. While I think Cortlands are acceptable as an eating apple they are better in baking. Also where you get them seems to matter. I've always had better luck buying them from the farmer rather then from the grocery store where age & quality are much more variable.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2018


I would never touch a red delicious from the grocery store but when we go apple picking I'll usually get a couple just for the novelty of a red delicious that doesn't taste terrible.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:36 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you are in Wisconsin, get you some Champagne apples when they're ready in Cadott. Dixon's was in New Mexico until their fabulous groves were destroyed by a flood. Harvest time was an event here, with people standing in line for hours to bag their apples and come home with gallons and gallons of their amazing cider. I have ONE jar of applesauce from the glorious Champagnes canned during the last year they were here.

The Champagne's are the best apples I've ever had...bar none, and I am an apple snob whose cousins still have groves in Illinois. They're a variant of the Golden Delicious, with a slight pink/red blush, but the taste is more complex, and the texture is firmer. They make amazing apple sauce, fantastic pies, they're a fantastic eating apple, and they seem to last longer than other types.

And now I'm thinking about ordering some to be flown in here...I miss them so much.

Most of the time, I'm liking the Jazz apples, which are sweet but also firm. But I had a bag of them from Trader Joes that were utterly tasteless. The Ambrosias can be good, but I've had them be quite mealy, which is horrifying.
posted by answergrape at 12:40 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to our Gravenstein tree bearing fruit in like twenty years
posted by infinitewindow at 12:41 PM on September 4, 2018


Those who have said Winesap is best are correct. They're followed by Northern Spy, which have become damn near impossible to find, even at farmers' markets.
posted by holborne at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


That New Yorker article I linked just keeps giving.
That day, I watched him terminate dozens of unique hybrids whose like the world will never see again, and by the end of the day I had a newfound respect for the breeder as the godlike master of his domain, the ultimate arbiter of life and death in the orchard.

“I’d like to give a tree a couple chances, but I just don’t have the mouth time for that,” Bedford explained. “So it’s one strike and you’re out. With all these new trees coming on each year, you won’t have space unless you thin out the duds.”
Metafilter: I just don't have the mouth time for that.
posted by fedward at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2018 [14 favorites]


Ashmead Kernels are best, followed by a bunch of other russets that I've never been able to rank consistently, though the Cox Orange Pippins are always up there.

Granny Smiths taste like the seeds of other apple varieties taste, and I used to save apple seeds up to eat when I was a little kid -- I guess I'm lucky it was so hard to peel the seeds, or I would have eaten a lot more at a sitting.
posted by jamjam at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2018


And now I'm thinking about ordering some to be flown in here...I miss them so much.

Is that... a thing? Where can I order some???
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2018


They're followed by Northern Spy

We have loads of them at our market in Southern Ontario but sadly I have never seen a Winesap.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2018


I sent this thread to my co-workers just to get their thoughts on what I am calling AppleGate and like 3 people got it and the rest were like we work at a tech company don't Rick roll us with Apple stuff that isn't Apple stuff

Sorry mealy mouthed coworkers, didn't know high level fruit related discourse wasn't for you
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


The Fuji is number four? Really?

I'm in Southern Ontario and Fuji apples are always super expensive here, so it's one reason why I go for Granny Smith. But now I'm thinking I might splurge on the way home because I am interested in giving it a whirl.

Huh, I'm now thinking about it and come to the realization that I've never tried a Fuji and my life feels a bit empty now. That's what I'm doing on the ride home, I'm hitting up the local store and picking up a Fuji.
posted by Fizz at 12:54 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Here in British Columbia, my favourite apple is the Spartan

Spartan's used to be my go-to, but they seem to have all but disappeared from grocery stores here in Alberta. I don't know why, given that we're right next to BC and that's where most of our apples come from at this time of year.
posted by asnider at 1:00 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know why, given that we're right next to BC and that's where most of our apples come from at this time of year.

maybe your grocers are still mad about the whole pipeline thing
posted by halation at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2018


When I watched Snow White as a child, I was totally bewildered by the fact that the stepmother/witch uses a Red Delicious apple to poison her. Why would anyone willing eat a Red Delicious, even back in the Great Depression?
posted by basalganglia at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


@halation: That would be kinda comical, actually, but the disappearance of Spartans goes back a few years, at least. They seem to have disappeared around the same time Galas started showing up. This is probably a coincidence, but now I'm imagining some kind of conspiracy on the part of Big Apple.
posted by asnider at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Re: the inconsistent quality issues with the Honeycrisp apple. Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota. This is an apple bred for the northern climates - colder, longer winters, cooler summers. After Honeycrisp became a huge hit, orchards world-wide began growing it. That's when the inconsistent quality issue reared its head. The U of MN says the problem is apples raised in too temperate of a climate. When it's too warm and the growing season is too long, you don't get the famously good Honeycrisp.

So: if you want the Honeycrisp apple everyone raves about, you have to make sure it was grown in the northerly latitudes. Too far south, and it's going to turn out a so-so apple.

Incidentally, the U has officially released a new variant of Honeycrisp that ripens earlier and has a redder skin and whiter flesh. It's called First Kiss, and will be officially available for purchase this year. Licensed growers were handing out free samples last year; I tried it and it's very, very good. But I have to confess to a preference for hard, tart apples, meaning for my taste buds, nothing beats a Haralson - not even a Honeycrisp or First Kiss.
posted by Lunaloon at 1:15 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


40 years ago, my go-to was Cortland. Brilliant white flesh, dark red skin, the perfect combination of sweet and tart. It didn't brown quickly, so it was great for fruit salads.

But they've changed. Now they're a little more mealy, not quite as white, and just not as tasty. I don't know what happened.

My first choice now is Macoun, but only in season. The orchard up the street always has good ones. But none after (about) Thanksgiving, sigh. At least we get a good pie for turkey day.
posted by Marky at 1:24 PM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


!

As Ms. nobeagle mentions up above I'm a notable detractor of red delicious apples. I remember when it all began. I was in 1st grade, and was doing my first piano recital in a mall (!), instead of just in the basement where I took lessons (poor mall people; while I was pretty good for a 1st grader who'd only been playing for one year, that had to be rubbish to listen to).

While waiting for my time to play around 9:15. A.M. On a weekday. Not during summer break (I got out of morning school for this!). I became antsy and fidgety and *needed* a snack, and a news stand had the most delicious-looking, beautiful, giant red apples. They were easily twice the size of my fist - I'd never seen apples this large at this point in my life. So I begged, and pleaded, and finally my dad gave in and bought me an apple (seriously, a 1st grader begging for an apple?). And as I so happily bit into this beautiful giant piece of hard ... bleh. Seriously, you all know what I'm going to say. Flavourless. Dry. Mealy (not that I knew that word at that point). Not bad enough that you can spit it out, but not good enough that you want to chew and/or swallow. Disappointment made real in fruity flesh. If ever there was a garbage apple, it is the red "delicious" (there should be quotes mandated for the name). I fully and finally understood the concept of not judging a book by it's cover that day.

Garbage. Apple.

The Golden delicious follows behind closely. The only other apple that I'm not a fan of is the macintosh - but only because they bruise *so* easily. Apples are finally coming back in season (the last ~4 weeks the local groceries have only had badly bruised bags of macintoshes remaining), and I'm enjoying a granny smith and a gala each day.

Last year, the "irregular" apples quite often had honeycrisp (!?). I think in part because they go at a premium, so they don't get launched in the 4lb bags, and the smaller one's don't sell as quickly as the larger ones. So I got to gorge on 6lb bags of honeycrisp apples that were the size of a reasonable macintosh for the princely sum of $5 CDN for months last year. Here's hoping for a repeat.

It's too bad that red delicious apples won't have a grave like Reagan or Thatcher so we can aim to spit/piss on them.

Garbage. Apple.
posted by nobeagle at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]



Trader Joe got me hooked on Opals and then took them away. :(
posted by betweenthebars at 10:05 AM on September 4


OPALS ARE THE BEST. They'll come back! Just out of season now.
posted by Windigo at 1:41 PM on September 4, 2018


Obviously, Team Red Delicious will loose that too, as all their weapons are mush. Team Cox Pippin for the win! A perfect hurling apple.

Please throw while screaming:

"HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES!?!?!"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


These days I seem to like Envy apples best. It's absolutely ridiculous I'm importing apples from New Zealand when I live just miles away from California orchards and down the road from the apple paradise that is Washington State.

Envy apples are SO GOOD. I'm a little bit obsessed with them - they are perfectly crunchy, with a flavor that is justright between sweet and tart. I live IN Washington and will buy Washington apples from the farmer's market when they look good, but otherwise it's Envys, even if it is, as you say, ridiculous.

For a while, my local Trader Joe's stopped selling single Envys, and were selling smaller ones in a bag, and those were terrible. But now they are back to selling the single ones, yay.

I feel the same way about the Honeycrisps. They are often pretty bland. And galas can be good, but they can also be pretty mealy.
posted by lunasol at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2018


It's ALL about the Opals. Please find one if you haven't tried one, yet. Crisp, juicy, complex, and enjoyable straight or in pies, smoothies, and salads. They also turn into the most amazing cider that is closer to wine than cider. Every other apple is just not an Opal.
posted by Revvy at 1:57 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yay! I will no longer have to experience that waxy coating in my mouth after biting into one of these awful things. Good riddance.
posted by Chuffy at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2018


I eat apple skin but Red Delicious ones are cork.
posted by brujita at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'll always have love for Red Delicious even though I never buy them from the store. I grew up in Yakima, WA. My neighborhood was in the middle of an apple orchard, my elementary school was in the middle of an apple orchard, my junior high, and high school were in the middle of an orchard. I can remember being at football and grabbing a fresh RD off a tree and loving them. The absolute best is right after the first frost. Like that morning. They are ice cold, sweet, and crisp. They cleave like a piece of shale. So good. The problem is they don't really stay like that very long so everyone ends up hating on them.
posted by KingBoogly at 2:27 PM on September 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


A couple years back, my father-in-law harvested a couple bushels of red delicious apples off his neighbor’s tree. The neighbor neglected the tree, so the apples were only slightly larger than a plum. The flavor and crunch was incredible. Those mealy, sad apples at the store are but a shadow of what they can be.

Sadly, the tree blew over in a storm a year or two later, so that was the end of that.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:57 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Fuji is the ultimate apple. All other apples are pretenders to the apple throne.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:07 PM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's a Braeburn!

Also, cameo apples are yum.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:10 PM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


We have three Baldwin trees on our property. They make the BEST pies and applesauce, and they're good in hand too, but they are highly biennial. This is the off year, so the few apples on the trees are scrawny and falling off. We might get one or two pies tops; some years we have made a dozen pies and two batches of applesauce and still donated 100 pounds of apples to the local food pantry.
posted by yhbc at 3:43 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Apples are delightful because there is so much variety to their varieties - and we need that diversity. One of my favourites is the Cortland; is this even available outside of Ontario? MacIntosh are an okay replacement, but not quite as juicy, though they last longer.

The UK has an entirely different set of apples to North America - and one of the best I had there came from the clone of a tree first grown in 1610: it was tiny and a bit mealy, but intensely flavourful. I can imagine Tudor-Stuart nobility nibbling on apples like that after a great feast.

But often I think that there is no true 'best Apple' - the best thing for consumers is variety: Paula Reds ripen early; Northern Spy make the best pies; Russets come late and last a long time. Different apple varieties have different characteristics.
posted by jb at 3:49 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


As a country boy growing up in the sixties, the best apples were to be found in back yards and roadsides. By the time of our parents' generation, backyard and farmyard orchards were already dying out but there still a few left for us kids to raid. There were all sorts of varieties – we had no idea what they were called so we made up names. "Banana apples" came in early - they were yellow, soft and sweet, and best when a little unripe. Various cooking apples were firm and tart, and if too tart after a test bite were best used as missiles, propelled by hand or long range from sling sticks. My favorite were the "rusty" apples, called that for the brown scale on their skins - they were small, but very rich in flavor, firm and tart but still sweet enough. I haven't found anything like a rusty since.
posted by tommyD at 5:45 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Gala is my go-to, but Opals are my new favorite. They’re delicious, they’re my kid’s favorite color, and they’re fun to say. Opal apple opal apple opal apple.

I dislike swee tangos on name alone. I know that’s fussy of me, but the cutesy camelcase portmanteau with only one T thing bugs me and I will forever call them “swee tango” with as much space as possible between the words.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:18 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I live in the south (well it's Virginia so we're technically a good mix of south/beach/mountains), but will be in Boston at the end of October. What variety of apple should I look for that will give me a good chance of trying an almost fresh-off-the-tree apple?
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:28 PM on September 4, 2018


I really miss the apple options in Minnesota. My particular local grocery store seems to be about the Pink Lady. On the other hand, the Red Delicious here are way better than the US version. I agree that the honeycrisp had declined in quality/consistency. When I first had a Honeycrisp it was a revelation. Now, not so much. Wish I could get them and other varieties in Sydney. But was at a farmer's market in Brisbane and the offerings of rhubarb and strawberries were amazing. Other items there were also fabulous. So far, Brisbane has the better farmer's markets in my limited experience.

So apples in the local Woolies: pink lady, royal gala, granny smith, red delicious. Apple flavor seems to be very highly seasonal here so pickings are sparse right now.
posted by jadepearl at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2018


Koru

Sadly, they are only available in some stores and for a limited time. But they are the most magical apples around.
posted by teleri025 at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2018


One of my favourites is the Cortland; is this even available outside of Ontario?

Cortland apples are all over New England; every orchard I've ever picked at has them (and I do at least 1 trip each fall). I like them a lot in baked goods.
posted by tocts at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


My favorite were the "rusty" apples, called that for the brown scale on their skins - they were small, but very rich in flavor, firm and tart but still sweet enough. I haven't found anything like a rusty since.

Could this be the same as a russet apple? sometimes you get them in vegetable shops or markets in Toronto.
posted by jb at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cortland apples are all over New England

sounds like they are a north-eastern US and Canadian variety then. They grow well here, and are still crisp and juicy from the right orchard.
posted by jb at 8:25 PM on September 4, 2018


FirstMateKate I live in the south (well it's Virginia so we're technically a good mix of south/beach/mountains), but will be in Boston at the end of October. What variety of apple should I look for that will give me a good chance of trying an almost fresh-off-the-tree apple?

Will you be around for a few days, with some spare time, and access to transportation? If so, you can probably find a pick-your-own orchard within driving distance that still has late-season apples on the tree. It'd probably be MacIntosh, Cortland, and Empire apples that late in the season, and you'd have to tromp around more in the orchard to find them, but there's nothing like eating an apple you just picked off the tree 2 seconds earlier. They are SO GOOD.

Also orchards tend to sell hot cider and cider doughnuts made from their own apples, and again, there's nothing like it.
posted by current resident at 8:55 PM on September 4, 2018


Or you can see what grabs you at a farmers market
posted by brujita at 9:20 PM on September 4, 2018


I guess this is as good a thread as any to tell my Red Delicious-related story. I thought about telling a version of this in a Metatalktails thread (I still might later), but the apple aspect makes it appropriate for here.

First I admit that I've preferred Gala and Fuji apples over the years, especially if I'm just eating the apples by themselves. Opal apples are a little more expensive where I am so I don't have those as often. And yes I also like a Granny Smith apple if it's sliced up and added as an ingredient - there's a unique zing to it.

My story: One night a few weeks ago, I had to call 911 for the first time in my life. It was for a very close family member, and I rode in the ambulance with them to the emergency room. He was evaluated immediately by the ER staff and without going into too much detail, it was a serious situation where he had to be admitted to the hospital and get additional testing, and I would have been too worried about him if I'd left, so I stayed with him.

Neither of us had eaten dinner and by the time he got moved into a room, it was well after midnight. The RN asked us if we needed anything and we said we were hungry; she kindly brought us each a plastic container that included a sandwich and... something else I can't remember... and a Red Delicious apple.

To give some more context, I'll say that I was freaking out internally, and trying my darndest not to let that show visibly. I mean I was probably visibly worried but internally I felt so incredibly scared and anxious and my heart was racing; I was really trying hard to keep it together and stay relatively composed, so that I could pay attention to what was going on, ask questions, take notes, and definitely try not to upset the guy who was, you know, actually in the hospital bed being monitored. (And to set minds at ease, I'll give spoilers here and say thankfully that he's out of the hospital now and on the road to recovery.)

Anyway, back to the sandwich and the apple. They had been in a refrigerator so they were both cold. I remember the sandwich was pretty plain but totally fine (at least, I ate the whole thing) and then, there was the apple. It was a large apple and I remember seeing the Red Delicious label still on it. Would I have eaten the apple right away if it had been a Gala or Fuji? I'll be honest and say Probably. I wouldn't say I have a strong *dislike* of Red Delicious apples, but I hadn't them in a while. I didn't ask the family member specifically about details on his thoughts on apple varieties, but at the time he said he didn't want the one that came with his sandwich, so take that FWIW.

I was still kind of hungry and knew I probably wouldn't be able to sleep much at the hospital, so I started eating one of the apples, thinking "I could use the energy."

Now, there's a lot that's hazy or I just don't remember certain things from that period of time, but I still remember the crisp, cold apple, and how it was fresh and crunchy, and sweet and juicy. I remember being surprised by how good it was, and I ate the rest of it almost apologetically because of my surprise. It was maybe the best apple I'd had in a while, and probably the best Red Delicious apple I can recall having, and gave me something to enjoy and take my mind off of all the stuff happening IRL otherwise. (I saved the other apple.)

Tl;dr when I think of that first night at the hospital and how scared I felt, I'm thankful for the staff who were kind, such as the nurse who gave us the sandwiches, and on a weirder note I'm thankful for that Red Delicious apple living up to its name and providing a nice, albeit brief, respite. It's safe to say I won't look at Red Delicious apples the same way again.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:34 PM on September 4, 2018 [14 favorites]


The only other apple that I'm not a fan of is the macintosh - but only because they bruise *so* easily

Take a big bag of bruised Macintoshes, core them and chop them roughly (don't peel them), and throw them in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring and whacking occasionally, until you have a uniform texture. This is the best applesauce you'll ever eat. (Serve piping hot with heavy cream and cinnamon, or on latkes.)
God I miss Macintoshes and Granny Smiths. The best this country can do is Fujis.
posted by huimangm at 11:05 PM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


40 years ago, my go-to was Cortland. Brilliant white flesh, dark red skin, the perfect combination of sweet and tart. It didn't brown quickly, so it was great for fruit salads.

But they've changed. Now they're a little more mealy, not quite as white, and just not as tasty. I don't know what happened.


Cortlands are this 45-year-old's favorite by a mile, so you can imagine how it's killing me to learn they were once even better. I don't think I got to try them much (if at all) back then; Mom and Grandma always favored Jonathans.
posted by non canadian guy at 11:36 PM on September 4, 2018


They started out as good apples. I still remember how much I enjoyed my first one, around 1970. Our ONLY other options for an "eating apple" at the time were a Macintosh or Spy. I think the problem was that by the late 80s, store shelf life got favored over all other concerns, so the skins got thicker and the texture got weird.

Some day, your favourite apple will suck too.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:22 AM on September 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


I used to eat a *lot* of apples when I was little, so many that my parents used to buy them by the crate from a local orchard. They had the four standard Australian varieties: red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith and jonathan
(I still don't understand why anyone buys jonathans, the softest, blandest apple possible). I loved the red delicious, probably because they hadn't been sitting in a refrigerated warehouse for 12 months.

Unfortunately most of this thread doesn't mean anything to me because almost none of the US varieties are grown here. But! The local market has started selling these strange purplish-black apples called Bravo, and they are so delicious they almost make up for it.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:28 AM on September 5, 2018


I don't know most of the apples mentioned here. On the other hand, I live in Elstar country. I don't even really like apples but I like Elstars. And guess what? Elstar season has just started! \o/
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:10 AM on September 5, 2018


Is a Honeycrisp apple, which I started eating a few minutes ago, the best apple to have while reading Metafilter?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:37 AM on September 5, 2018


Team Pink Lady 5eva. Even my three-year old knows what kind of apples to buy for mommy.

I didn't know this though:
Pink Ladies are also pretty good, although they're one of those weird trademarked names, so you're paying a premium because the growers have to pay a licensing fee to use the name (they can grow the variety without paying the fee, but must market it under a different name).

Now I'm gonna look for some offbrand Pink Ladies at the grocery store.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:39 AM on September 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


Calling Red Delicious a garbage apple tells me someone doesn't know much about apples. It's not the apple that is the problem, it's the mass production. Whatever apple you love so much? If it becomes one of the dominant favorites, it will also become a 'garbage apple'. Already happened to Gala, is happening to Fuji.

Red Delicious is actually an excellent apple fresh from the tree, and Golden Delicious is a *fabulous* apple straight from the tree. You just almost never get them that way, only after they've been gassed and stored and shipped. Take a look at the breeding of modern apples; you'll find one or the other of them in the parentage of all sorts of favorites mentioned in this thread: Fuji. Pink Lady. Honeycrisp. Opal. People breed from them because they are very good apples with all sorts of valuable qualities.
posted by tavella at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


Spartan's used to be my go-to, but they seem to have all but disappeared from grocery stores here in Alberta. I don't know why, given that we're right next to BC and that's where most of our apples come from at this time of year.

Here in Victoria, local and BC apples have been pretty expensive for the past few years. I think drought has been having an impact. The local orchards here have also experienced disease.
posted by JamesBay at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2018


It's not the apple that is the problem, it's the mass production. Whatever apple you love so much? If it becomes one of the dominant favorites, it will also become a 'garbage apple'. Already happened to Gala, is happening to Fuji.

This is exactly right. I remember first tasting a Gala, after growing up on Spartans and Macs. It was incredible. I finally understood why some people liked this damn fruit. For years we bought nothing but Galas. Now, if my store doesn't have Pink Lady, we'll buy Gala out of habit and end up throwing most of them away. They're mealy now! And tasteless!

Ugh. In a couple of years Pink Lady will be worthless and we'll move on to eating whatever hasn't been ruined yet. Maybe it'll be Heritage Red Delicious by then, and they'll be great for a little while.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:41 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I feel like a freak because I like lots of apples (except granny smith, which make my teeth hurt) and live in a place where we can pick from a ton of orchards and I actually like the flavor of the red delicious? What I don't like is the chewiness of the skin but once you're past that they're not bad. They are also satisfyingly knobby and fun to draw.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:52 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Tangential bit of fun - Janelle Shane, who maintains a blog about training an AI to come up with weird names for things, recently posted about AI-generated names for heirloom apples.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


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