Apple Varieties I’ve Had This Year

We’re getting to the end of local apple season.  Most orchards still have some available, so stock up now to help get you through the winter.  If you find yourself inundated with apples, a pot of applesauce is a great way to use up many at one blow.  This year has been a good one for me in terms of scouting out varieties of apples.  It started out poorly–I didn’t get to the orchard in July or August and as a result missed both the Lodii (the best applesauce apple I’ve yet found) and Rambo (the second best; early apples tend to make great sauce).  I’ve made up for lost time, though, thanks to my new job as a demonstration chef that has allowed me to travel the Pennsylvania countryside.  I’m documenting the apples I’ve used this year to perhaps inspire you to get out to an orchard and try a variety you’ve never had before, and also to inspire me next year to try an even wider selection.

  • Lodii–Two grew on my Lodii tree.  I used them, but only for a tart; not for sauce. 
  • Macintosh–par for the course, widely available, but still a good apple
  • 20-ounce Pippin–large, green, somewhat tart though also soft in texture.  Not a good eating apple but great for cooking, especially pies
  • Cortland–very white flesh, somewhat soft in texture, but makes great pies.  matches well with Pippins
  • Northern Spy–I wish I’d gotten a bag of these, too; but the place where I got the cortland and Pippins only took cash and I had to choose two of the three to buy.  I sampled it but have noi recommendations on its use.  I list it mainly because it’s on my priority list for a larger quantity next year.
  • Red Delicious–among my least favorite apples.  Mushy and mediovcre, but it comes in my CSA box.  Honestly, I wish the farm had a wider variety of tough to find apples rather than locally grown versions of supermarket favorites like this one and
  • Golden Delicious–OK to eat but better for cooking with
  • Golden Supreme–Better for eatingthan golden delicious by far.  Similar in appearance, though the Supreme tends to have a bit of a pink blush to it when it gets fully ripe
  • Unknown–By far my favorite CSA apple was a pinkish apple.  The farmer doesn’t know its variety because the trees were labeled as Golden Supreme when he received them.  Crisp and sweet, I wish I knew what it was called.   
  • Stayman Winesap–purchased from a roadside stand featuring an honor box, this batch was a little bit wormy, but the variety is very tasty and cooks well.  If you do wind up with wormy apples, don’t discard the whole apples.  It’s easy to cut around the worms/ worm damage to use the portion of the apple that is unharmed.  Really, the presence of the worms indicated to me that these were likely the only apples (including organic) that I ate that weren’t dosed with large amounts of pesticide.  And, yes, organic produce is treated with pesticides, just not synthetically created chemicals.  Naturally ocurring doesn’t necessarily mean healthful, though–for instance, one of organic apples’ most common pesticides is copper sulfate, which is rather noxious and definitely poisonous (that’s why it kills insects).

The apple I seek and have sought for years is the Gravenstein, the juice of which is available from whole foods, though I’ve never found the apples themselves.  If you have apple tales of your own or know about where to get Gravenstein Apples, let me know!

8 Responses to “Apple Varieties I’ve Had This Year”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Jesse, I LOVE Honey Crisp apples. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this was the mystery apple you had. They’ve become the darling of the apple community (if there’s such a thing). They’re known for their crisp, juicy nature and have a touch of honey sweetness to them. They have a somewhat pink-ish color to them.

    Otherwise, it could have been a Pink Lady apple. Also very good, but not getting as much of the spotlight as the Honey Crisp.

    I’ve seen both at Whole Foods.

    Pink Lady

    Honey Crisp

  2. Jim Says:

    Favorites of mine that you didn’t mention are Spencer, Ida Red, Paula Red, Gala, and Macoun. If we get a chance this weekend, we’ll drop by the orchard and see if any that you haven’t tried are left and take them to Pittsburgh.

  3. Jim Says:

    By the way, as far as I know Lodi has only one i.

  4. Farmer Troy Says:

    Not all organic produce has pesticides on it . . . it depends on the farm.

    Personally, I don’t use any pesticides on my produce (including apples).

    The only thing I sprayed for this year was flea beetles on eggplant, and the spray was called “Garlic Barrier” made from garlic, and it was only sprayed on the leaf of the plant, before the fruits were formed, so it is not on the actual eggplant itself.

    Please don’t use a blanket statement that implies that all organic produce has pesticides on it, because it just isn’t the case.

    By the way, my best tasting apple this year was Golden Delicious, right off of the tree, it was wonderful!!!

  5. jwsharrard Says:

    Thanks for the correction, Troy–I’m always glad for help like that. I’ve never claimed to be an expert on agriculture (anyone who’s ever seen my garden will confirm that I’m not), so I go with the best information I have available based on what I’ve read and conversations with people who do grow. That having been said, ‘m always relying on agricultural experts like you to set me straight and update my info. If you have a chance, please let me know how you control your pests without spraying.

  6. Farmer Troy Says:

    Our philosophy is that the pests can share in the harvest . . . they usually only eat a small amount, and there’s plenty to go around. A lot of crops really don’t even have pest problems . . . except for the big pests like deer ;-)

  7. SamChevre Says:

    My favorite hard-to-find apple is the Shockey.

    Small, OK flavor but nothing special. But it has very thin skin that doesn’t toughen when cooked, and flesh that cooks perfectly tender-firm; it makes incomparably good pickled and spiced apples.

    Sometime when you feel like a road trip, go to Vintage Virginia Apples. (And come visit me while you’re in the area.)

  8. Sam Says:

    It is very good most years when you get it around harvest, but it doesn’t seem to store real well and is sometime mealy.

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