What's the story?
By Mark Mulcahy
Do you take Melissa's organic apples for granted? Many of us do. It would be easy to do, as they are so easy to eat, store and are probably the most perfect on-the-go fruit when you come to think of it. Also, it seems like they are always part of every produce department any time of year. Which leads us to September when Melissa’s organic apples are in season in the U.S. and one can truly appreciate them for the unique fruit they are. Apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. There are apples that have an aftertaste of pears, citrus, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, strawberries, grapes and even pineapple! That makes me want to go on an apple hunt for everyone one of these flavors.
But what do we really know about the apples we eat?
For example did you now that the Red delicious is still the #2 selling apple in the country with Gala being first, followed by Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Cripp's Pink/Pink Lady®, Braeburn, Jazz®. (Neither of those would be my first 2 choices but to each his or her own.) Or that Red Delicious was first called a Hawkeye (probably since they were developed in Iowa) before Stark Brothers Nurseries purchased the rights and gave them their now well-known name. Have you ever noticed they have five distinct points on the bottom of each apple? Turn one over and check it out.
What about some of our other favorites?
Did you know that Fuji apples and Red delicious are related? Yep, it's true! Fujis are a combination of two varieties: Red Delicious and Ralls Janet. Or that it is named after Mount Fuji (a mountain located southeast of Tokyo, Japan)?
Even though they seem as if they have been around forever, they have only been available in the United States since the 1980s. I remember when they arrived to quite a delightful stir!
Have you had an apple called a Cripps Pink and thought this sure tastes like a Pink Lady? Well it should, because it is. Pink Lady® is a trademark, the actual variety name is Cripps Pink. In order to preserve the premium appeal of Pink Lady®, about 65% of the production which does not meet the standards required for Pink Lady® is sold as Cripps Pink instead. The distinction is primarily made on color intensity and the sugar/acid balance for which it is known. And speaking of color it's our cool autumn nights that bring out that beautiful pink we all have come to love!
This was not first grown by a hobbit from Lord of the rings. It is, however, a green antique American apple that is making a successful comeback in America and has a very short season so get them while you can. This large, roundish apple has green skin and a russeted top and turns a greenish-yellow when fully ripe. It has white, aromatic flesh that is tender and juicy. While there are many varieties of Pippin, the two most widely recognized are Newtown Pippins and Cox Pippin. Do you like apple pie, fried apples, or baked apples? The Pippin variety is recognized for its excellent apple flavor and is considered to be one of the best dessert apples around!
Yes, there was a Granny Smith! Actually Mary Ann (Granny) Smith is credited with developing the Granny Smith from a chance seedling found in her orchard and helping bring them to market in Australia. Their tart flavor adds a nice complement to sweeter vegetables or sauces and they keep their white color after they have been cut, which makes them perfect in salads or coleslaw.
Why this apple isn't #1 I'll never know. Besides having a flavor that "utterly seduces your taste buds" it can also store three to four months in the refrigerator. I mean what's not to like? Perhaps Minnesotans are keeping them for themselves. After all, this favorite apple was developed at the University of Minnesota so you can understand their being a little possessive. The list goes on and on and these are just a few of over 100 varieties sold in retail stores throughout the season.
Now, aren't you a little curious to try some more Melissa's organic apple varieties this year? I sure am. I'll meet you by the apple bins. I’ll be the guy with several varieties in my basket.