Apples, I have decided to try to taste as many of the new varieties of apples as possible. When I was at Sprouts the other day I picked up a Koru and a Snapdragon. The Koru was delicious, very crisp, juicy and for me a perfect sweetness balance. Not as sweet as a Honeycrisp. Great apple flavor. And the crispness. Had the Snapdragon tonight, nice crispness but sweeter than a honeycrisp. Did not appeal to me at all. The sweetness overpowered the apple flavor. Tomorrow I will go see what Fresh Market has to offer that is new to me. Do you have an offering to share? Why did it appeal to you? How would you use it? That Koru, it would definitely improve a waldorf salad. I wonder how it would hold up to baking in a pie? Have to get more of that Koru.
Having worked quite a bit with orchards over the years as a hard cider maker, I find I really like some of the old heirloom apples. Winesaps, Pippins, and so many more. But after taking some hard cider production courses at Cornell Ag Center and getting to try a whole lot of new varieties being bred, I was kind of overwhelmed.
A friends orchard, which is around 70+ years old, and has hundreds of different apples, is a glorious thing to walk around for an afternoon. picking an apple from each tree, tasting one big bite, chewing and spitting, to see which was better. If you swallowed you wouldn’t have made it 1/4 of the way down the first row. I still remember two trees, one tasted like an apple/strawberry mix. the next was a Pineapple/citrus/apple flavor. The following year, the apples on those trees tasted completely different.
I like the Snapdragon, but don’t love it. I love the texture and juiciness of Honey Crisps, and the flavor is nice. Honey Crisps are best early in the season when their acidity is highest. In storage they gain sweetness, lose acidity, and become unbalanced and too sweet. I can’t remember if I have had the Koru. Some new varieties are terrible. Those grape flavored ones come to mind.
The apples that are grown closest to me are the Arkansas Blacks. THey make a great cider. But I find them to be on the dry side. At least to me. Is there other apples I should be on the lookout for?
Arkansas Blacks are a nice old cultivar from the mid 1800’s. I have a book here that covers heirloom apples and from the description they are very hard and crunchy when fresh, a bit tart, and that they drop in acidity during storage, and that they are a storage apple, one of the types of early apples that kept looking ans tasting good for many months when kept cool in a root cellar. Just like today, apples that are storage apples, tend to have less desirable flavors than apples that can’t be kept long without modern inert gas storage systems.
I will see if I can find a few of my books on pomology and post about heirloom cultivars.
There is also a lot of info online about this.
As for new types of apples, Cornell has a site describing them.
Other university agriculture centers should as well.
I’m always overwhelmed during apple season. There are so many varieties, many of which I’ve never heard of - let alone being able to remember from year to year.
I wish stores would add how the apples respond when cooked/baked, as I love apple pie, crisps, muffins, etc etc etc. Some apples turn to mush when cooked (great for sauce but not a pie), some stay very firm and are best mixed with others that soften a little …
Thanks for this info. THey do make it over here but mostly I have to go to NW Arkansas to get them. I have never used them as bakers or pie apples but I will now.
Several years ago, I bought 3 of every apple variety available at an heirloom orchard. Those I didn’t already know about, that is. One to eat raw, one as a baked apple, and one in a mini- pie. I often consult my notes.
That said, palates vary so much that info from your store would not be of much help. For example, SO many professional bakers recommend Golden Delicious, which to me are insipid. Macintosh or Macoun make an applesauce pie, but the flavor is splendid and if texture is important to you, mix either with Rome or Cortland.
Gastro Obscura posted a piece about new varieties recently. Snapdragon is coming on strong. The trend now is Honeycrisp hybrids to supply a demand for crisp and juicy. This seems to confirm my own opinion that regular Honeycrisps taste too perfumy. The bandwagon contains many similar ones. I tried Envy this week. It must have been named by the same huckster who foisted the Delicious apple upon us! Other apples needn’t be jealous of Envy.
Serious Eats also recommends golden deliscious (I usual respect their suggestions) but haven’t used them yet. What about them makes them insipid to you?
They lack any tartness and crunch. To me, they taste like an apple spritzed with cologne.
Decades ago in America, cooking shows recommended them because they hold their shape in baked gods, and are always available. This was at a time when the only alternatives in most supermarkets were Red Delicious and Macintosh. They were cold storage apples other than in Autumn. Nowadays we have more and better varieties, and fresh apples from the southern hemisphere.
I know that taste. I’ve had a couple pear varieties that have that cologne note when cooked. Not a fan. Thanks for the feedback.
New apple review, at least new for me. Snapdragon, I picked it up at Fresh Market, that and an Envy. Did’t get the Aurora or the Opal yet. Crisp but not as crisp as a Honeycrisp. A little sweeter than a Honeycrisp also. I think I am sensing a slight problem, sweetness is a factor. I do not like the super sweet corn that is all you can get these days. What happened to corn that tasted like corn instead of a sugar bowl. Not being a fan of sweet I guess I am the problem. For the rest of the Snapdragon I will spread a little TJ’s natural peanut butter on it and call it dessert after dinner tonight.
We pick a variety at a local orchard that is deliciously sweet/tart, crisp, and lovely to look at. I hope someone knows the name. We asked the proprietor’s mother this year who was operating the register, and she led us astray. It’s not a red hook. It might be a pink pearl, in which case their trees are mislabeled because their “pink pearl” tree has yellow skin apples on it. Smallish, sort of tall and thin, bright green skin and pink middle when ripe. Anyone name this beauty?
Pink Pearl can have yellow, green, yellow with pink/red skin, or pink/red skin. That totally looks like some Pink Pearl’s I’ve seen.
Surprise is the ancestor of all present day pink fleshed apples. It had pale green or very light yellow to almost beige/white skin, and a pink to an almost purple flesh.
I wouldn’t be too quick to condemn the humble GD! For me it’s just what I’m looking for in an early morning apple. It’s 08.00 as I type this at my desk, and I’m struggling a bit with a perfectly nice but overly punchy Cox’s Orange Pippin. A mild GD would be a better start to my day with maybe a nice tart Granny S. and some cheese at lunchtime.