Monday, February 23, 2009

This is How I Like Them Apples

I'm reading Apple: A History of Canada's Perfect Fruit by Carol Martin. I'm still at the beginning, but it's a great story of the apple, wild and cultivated, including which varieties were native to Canada and how different varieties got here. So that naturally led to more googling, and I found the following (emphasis mine):

From Apple Journal regarding Red Delicious:
The most controversial and widely distributed American apple. Red Delicious stores and ships so well, while retaining its shiny deep-red good looks, that it is sold in every possible state of internal disintegration. Too often, store bought Reds are little more than cardboard flavored, mealy mush beneath their glamorous skin. Still, Americans continue to buy it more than all other varieties combined. It can be a pretty good apple under the right conditions. Look for locally grown apples in season, and don't insist on a uniformly dark red color, and the chances of getting a better apple will improve in your favor. Many growers are now growing strains that have been developed more for flavor than for looks. Don't defeat their efforts by rejecting apples that don't look as though they came from a plastic injection molding machine. Remember this simple rule- art is a matter of visual esthetics and food is a matter of taste- not the other way around.
The problem is now the consumers of Red Delicious (whoever they are) are used to seeing perfect-looking shiny fruit. Re-introducing a more Delicious, but less Red apple will likely be an uphill battle.

Apple Journal seems to be somewhere between a trade journal and a promotional site. At any rate, I couldn't agree more with the description above. I never buy Red Delicious, partly 'cause they're too sweet, but mostly 'cause there's no way to tell a good from a bad one. Too much googling and now I'm daydreaming about orchards full of heirloom strains like Snow and Court Pendu Plat.

Update: More on the "Keep Calm" poster soon!


WendyB said...

Oh yes, Red Delicious turn me off. I'm more of a Granny Smith person.

JuliaMazal said...

Me too. Except I've been off Granny's and onto Fujis and Royal Galas for a while. Though nothing beats a Spartan or a Russet right off the tree!