Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pick an Apple

There are nearly 20 varieties of apples available throughout the United States and many more in local areas. Old Trunks is interested in the differences because recently, we walked down the apple isle at the store and picked two from each group to make applesauce.

Tom and I grew up with delicious apples. They are so pretty with their shiny red peels and their crown like bottom. This most widely recognized of all U.S. apple varieties originated in Iowa in the 1870s. This sweet, crispy, juicy apple varies in color from striped red to solid midnight red. It was also the apple in the Christmas sack.

But like a figure in a TV makeover show, it was an apple that its handlers could not leave alone. They altered its shape. They made it firmer and more juicy. They made it so it could be stored in hermetically sealed warehouses for 12 months. Along the way, they changed its color and hence its name -- to Red Delicious.
We like pie made from Granny Smith apples. I used to pie seven apples but with a peeler, the needed amount is five. It was a wonderful discovery for me. This Australian native was discovered in 1868 as a chance seedling by "Granny" Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales. One parent might have been a French Crab Apple. Grannys are known for their distinctive green flesh, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavor. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce. U.S. Grannys are harvested beginning in August, and are available year-round.
As I turned the crank on the apple peeler and tasted each variety as I moved along, I met a truly great apple for eating. The Braeburn is an apple originating in New Zealand in the early 1950s, as a chance seedling with Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith as possible parents. Now grown in the United States, Braeburn is a multipurpose apple good for all types of apple uses. Its color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. This crisp, juicy apple has a rich, spicy-sweet flavor. U.S. Braeburns are available beginning in October through July.
What is your favorite?

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