Every year my infatuation with the humble apple is renewed. In the United States we grow twenty-five-hundred varieties of apples, and seventy-five-hundred are grown worldwide. It’s no wonder that the apple is one of the most popularly consumed fruits. With a variety of textures, flavors, and uses unique to each breed there is an apple for everyone.
I spent a weekend at an orchard drinking my weight in cider. The air was crisp and filled with the aroma of hot doughnuts, cider, and apple trees. This particular orchard grows multiple varieties of apples and I there was no way I could choose just one.
In addition to my Crispins and Golden Delicious, (for my father), I came home with half a bushel of Stayman Winesaps which are fantastic! Stayman apples have a dusty red exterior with white spots. Their flesh is firm and crisp and their flavor is tart and aromatic. These apples are great for out-of-hand eating and can be used in baking and cooked applications as well.
When selecting apples it is best to select firm specimens with smooth tight skin. Minor bruises are acceptable if the apples are going to be turned into sauce or preserved. Apples can be held in climate-controlled cold storage for several months without a great loss in quality.
If you do intend to keep your apples for an extended period of time, wrap the apples individually in a bit of newspaper. This will keep the apples from causing each other to spoil. Apples release Ethylene gas which can cause the fruit around them to spoil. “One bad apple spoils the bunch.”
P.S. There was a severe lack of hand models at the orchard, excuse my unpolished fingers. Just look at that apple, that's a nice apple.
I've got big plans for these apples and I’ll have some recipes coming to you soon! Right now I'm just going to have another cup of cider.