06 December 2008
Apple of Your Eyes
Apples are my favorite food. Yes, they are most indeed natures perfect gift. Nothing satisfies my urge for something sweet, crunchy, and filling, like a ripe, juicy apple.
Most of us grew up eating one or two varieties like the Macintosh, Delicious, or the Granny Smith, but there were once over two thousand varieties of apples being grown in North America. Apple seeds were brought over from England by the pilgrims (the only apple that is indigenous to the Americas is the Crabapple), but because apples seeds possess unique genes, thousands of varieties thrived and the apple soon became an ubiquitous part of the American diet. Unfortunately, over the last century, the mass marketing of apples has resulted in growers limiting their varieties and breeding apples to have a longer shelf life and remain unblemished after having withstood long distances of shipping and packing.
Today however, we are starting to see a resurgence of these "antique" or heirloom varieties being sold at orchards and farmers markets. They may not look as shiny and symmetrical as the ones you find in the grocery store, but they are unbelievably delicious - each possessing their own unique flavors and textures.
Look for names like Kandil Sinap, Jonathan, Asmead's Kernal, Newtown Pippin, Smokehouse, Cox Orange Pippin, Golden Russet, York Imperial, and Maiden Blush. Most of these varieties are only available in the fall but the season can extend well into December and January depending on your climate.
These Honey Crisp are so crunchy and dense, they are like a portable meal.
This was the first time I ever tried Keepsake apples. They are both incredibly sweet and tart and taste like raspberries. They are my new favorites.