It's no secret we love fruit around here. In fact, I believe I have more recipes filed under fruits than chocolate - gasp.
Now that it's officially fall (in case you missed it, it happened last Tuesday at 5:18 EST) I feel I can turn my attention to apples. I've already highlighted many of my favorite apple recipes, but I thought for a change today, I'd share about some of the many varieties of apples that you will have the chance to enjoy this fall. These tips and facts are brought to you from a great book called, "How to Pick a Peach".
This apple is sweet and crisp - good for eating. This apple is a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet as created by the Japanese. Stock up on this apple because it stores well and while it does hold it shape when cooked, it makes a great applesauce. Introduced to the US: 1980s
This apple comes to us from New Zealand, and if you taste a hint of Golden Delicious in this apple, you're right! It's a cross between an apple I've never heard of (Cox's Orange Pippin) and Golden Delicious - one of the apples that dominated the US apple market for years. Why would you choose a Gala? Simple -- it's a great eating apple and wonderful for applesauce because it has a "hint of spice". Like the Fuji, it will hold it's shape while cooking, so don't expect a real mushy applesauce. Introduced to the US: 1965, became popular in the 1980s.
No one is really sure where this great apple came from... it's parents are unknown. But, we're thankful it emerged as this apple has quickly become one of the most popular fresh eating apples - "a spicy apple with a nice tart bite and a juicy, crisp texture." Introduced to the US: 1950s
This softer apple has parents that are fairly popular apples themselves -- the Golden Delicious and the Jonathan. Grown in New York, this apple is popular for cooking because it cooks to create a creamy texture. Introduced to the US: 1960s.
Named for the Empire State where this apple was first bred, and continues to produce over half of all these apples. The Empire apple is great for cooking, as it is a cross between the McIntosh and Red Delicious, although it does hold it's shape when cooked. Introduced to the US: 1960s.
This apple is a mutant!! No, really. A simple mutation in the base sequences of DNA of this apple changed the Red Delicious into a Cameo. The cameo is a good mutant because of it's sweet/tart flavor and crispness. Cameo takes longer to cook, but, as a trade off, it will store in your fridge for a while. Introduced to the US: 1987.
This is the "hot new apple" just beginning to appear in grocery stores. This apple came from my home state, and was developed in the lab... but this great apple is an orphan! Researchers and breeders are not sure who its parents are -- some who have been DNA tested are the Macoun and Honeygold, but they are innocent until proven guilty. Introduced to the US: 1991.
"How to Pick a Peach" also includes details about shopping for apples year round:
Buying and Storing Apples
Buying apples in the fall is great - they are fresh from the tree and haven't been in storage overwinter. When buying apples after the season, here's the ones to pick and ones to choose carefully:
Fuji (stores well into the summer months)
Braeburn (stores well into early summer)
Cameo (stores well into mid-summer)
Honeycrisp (stores well)
Use Caution when Picking:
Gala (does not store well)
Jonagold (buy before spring)
Empire (buy before spring)
Pink Lady (buy before spring)
To pick the perfect apple, choose those who have smooth skin and are heavy for their size. Store apples as close to 32 degrees as you can manage in a humid environment, such as an open plastic bag or a bag with holes. Apples like the moisture, but you don't want standing water in a bag. The crisper is a great place for apples.
For more fun apple information, check out the NY Apple Country website. They have great details (and images) for many apple varieties, as well as tips about how to pick them out and how to use them! Another fun apple site is All About Apples. Their list of apple varieties really shows you how diverse the apple has become. They have a great section that helps you locate a place to pick apples at a farm near you.
This post is linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday.
Apple photos courtesy of the New York Apple Association
(C) New York Apple Association
(C) New York Apple Association