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Old 02-12-2020, 07:35 PM
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In NYC? Color me surprised. Here in Dallas, we can reliably get the big four potato varieties - russet, gold, white and red. Usually in a small variety of sizes. We can also usually get heirloom purple potatoes and funky little bite-sized ones in variety bags.
Im talking about easily available potatoes in Whole Foods, grocery stores, and greengrocers. I suppose I could take the subway uptown and shop at the artisanal potato boutiques.

I can get fingerlings pretty much anywhere, also. And the Weekly local farmer greenmarket has at least one imaginative potatowoman who offers Kennebecs, Yellow Finns, Adirondack Reds, Kerrs Pinks, etc. If I skip a week, though, its back to Russet and Yukon Gold for me.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:06 PM
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My mom likes to tell the story about one of the first times I was given an apple...it was a Red Delicious. Apparently I would take a bite, chew thoroughly, then spit the pieces of skin out.

I love Honeycrisps, but I also enjoy Fuji and Gala apples. And I always look forward to the times when the head of my company's document control department comes back from her annual trip to the mountains with a sackful of apples fresh from the orchard to share...typically there are lots of Winesaps in there.
  #53  
Old 02-12-2020, 08:24 PM
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It has probably been said, but picking apples of any sort right from the tree is the best way to get great tasting apples. Really, any fruit is much better right off the tree or bush etc. However, I am fortunate to live in an area with great orchards that offer pick yr own all summer long.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:33 PM
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...
There were a few years where I felt like grocery store Honeycrisps weren't very good and didn't hold a candle to orchard-picked apples. More recently, I've gotten a few bags from stores that were absolutely solid. I don't know if my luck improved or frowing conditions improved or low quality producers have gotten removed from the system.
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It has probably been said, but picking apples of any sort right from the tree is the best way to get great tasting apples. Really, any fruit is much better right off the tree or bush etc. However, I am fortunate to live in an area with great orchards that offer pick yr own all summer long.
Yeah, no grocery store apple is going to beat an orchard-picked apple, unless the grocery store is buying local apples in season. Fresh ripe apples are just a lot better than stored, shipped apples.

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Belle de Boskoop, you guys. Belle. De. Boskoop....
I've tried. No one grows them near me.

Caville Blanc is an awesome cooking apple, though, if you want a nice firm white cooked slice of apple. It makes gorgeous and tasty tarts. Also very hard and rather tart.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:46 PM
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Caville Blanc is an awesome cooking apple, though, if you want a nice firm white cooked slice of apple. It makes gorgeous and tasty tarts. Also very hard and rather tart


I will make note of this; I much prefer a tart apple for baking. Granny Smiths and Jonathans go into my apple crisp and apple pie, but Cavilles sound even better..
  #56  
Old 02-12-2020, 09:41 PM
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Honeycrisp are meh, to me. At my local Kroger, they sell for $2.49/lbs. Whereas I can for only $1.99/lbs get Ambrosias, which to me are sweeter and have a better texture. I eat about ten or so a week.
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Last edited by Slow Moving Vehicle; 02-12-2020 at 09:41 PM.
  #57  
Old 02-13-2020, 01:11 AM
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The Honeycrisps at Jewel (unlabeled) are okay, at Mariano's (labeled Rainier) are sweeter.

But Cosmic Crisp!!!!!!! They appeared at Jewel for only one week and I only bought 7. I wish I'd bought two dozen. As crisp as Honeycrisp, but much sweeter! Absolutely delicious! They'd be my apple of choice for as long as they were in the store!
  #58  
Old 02-13-2020, 03:13 AM
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Pssst, that's a potato you're munching.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russet_apple

Nope! One of the orchards in Gays Mills used - still might - grow them.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:34 AM
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It has probably been said, but picking apples of any sort right from the tree is the best way to get great tasting apples. Really, any fruit is much better right off the tree or bush etc. However, I am fortunate to live in an area with great orchards that offer pick yr own all summer long.
For me, the best way to experience an apple is picking it from the tree while on horseback. Riding through an orchard you have every apple right at eye level.

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russet_apple

Nope! One of the orchards in Gays Mills used - still might - grow them.
Quote:
Russet apples are varieties and cultivars of apples that regularly exhibit russeting, partial or complete coverage with rough patches of greenish-brown to yellowish-brown colour. While russeting is generally an undesirable trait in modern cultivars, russet varieties are often seen as more traditional, and associated with aromatic flavours.
Wow. I never heard the term before. Russeting, along with bruising or splitting is a reason for apples to end up in the pick-out bin. At the local orchard we buy bushels of pick-outs for our horses.

I'm stopping this morning at the orchard for cider, and I'll drop the term "russeting".
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:55 AM
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They taste much better than many other types of apples. They are more expensive because people growing it have to pay a license to the creators of the strain.
Why would they have to do that? The patent expired almost ten years ago (at least in the US). Perhaps the name "Honeycrisp" is trademarked, though that wouldn't prevent anyone from growing and selling the apples under a different name. Around here the apples are marketed as "Honeycrunch", which I suppose could be someone's way of sidestepping the trademark issue.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:18 AM
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Honeycrisp are meh, to me. At my local Kroger, they sell for $2.49/lbs. Whereas I can for only $1.99/lbs get Ambrosias, which to me are sweeter and have a better texture. I eat about ten or so a week.
Atlanta? You do make a few trips to Ellijay every fall for apples, don't you? If not, you should. I live in S. GA, and make the annual apple pilgrimage there at least once a year.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:18 AM
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Why would they have to do that? The patent expired almost ten years ago (at least in the US). Perhaps the name "Honeycrisp" is trademarked, though that wouldn't prevent anyone from growing and selling the apples under a different name. Around here the apples are marketed as "Honeycrunch", which I suppose could be someone's way of sidestepping the trademark issue.
Doing a little research, it appears royalties are still payed but only in other countries and it is per tree not per fruit so that isn't the cause. This article goes into why they still cost more then other Apples. The short answer is: it's harder to grow then other apples.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:38 AM
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I'm stopping this morning at the orchard for cider, and I'll drop the term "russeting".
Well, that was fun! We chatted far too long about russeting and apple varieties. There are actually apple varieties bred to reduce/eliminate russeting, including a Golden Delicious variety they've had in the orchard for >40 years (the orchard is multi-generational).

When the Golden Delicious was first grown, russeting was the primary drawback to the variety.

I also learned that there is an apple variety currently only grown in Washington state and there are no plans to sell the tree anywhere outside of the state.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:51 AM
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...The short answer is: it's harder to grow then other apples.
Actually, the real answer is because the market will bear a higher price. A lot of customers are willing to pay a premium for Honeycrisp.

I think they aren't too hard to grow in Minnesota, where they were bred. They are grown in lots of places outside their ideal range because customers are willing to pay extra for them, so it's worth it for orchardists to deal with their quirks.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:04 AM
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Im talking about easily available potatoes in Whole Foods, grocery stores, and greengrocers.
So am I- most of what I mentioned is readily available at Kroger, and certainly at Whole Foods, HEB Central Market or Sprouts Farmers Market.

The local farmer's markets don't have many potatoes (or apples either), probably because they don't grow too well here. We do get some stellar tomatoes, peaches and strawberries when they're in season though, as they DO grow very well here.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:13 AM
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Honeycrisps are usually $3.50 a lb. Pink Ladies are $2 a lb. Another reason I get Pink Ladies.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:33 AM
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Around here, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisps and Braeburns are kind of treated interchangeably -- it's like the "fourth apple" next to Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smiths. Maybe half the time, we'll have a fourth AND a fifth apple option -- this differs seasonally, I think.

I've seen Pink Lady and Jazz apples around, but sporadically.
Not six hours after I posted this ... I went to our regular ol' down-the-street grocery store. Not even a Whole Foods or anyplace fancy like that.

And I see they now stock NINE kinds of apples The two Deliciouses, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, another one I forgot ... and now the Cosmic Crisps so many in this thread have been raving about Might not have nine varieties locally all year round ... but I will sample what's available.
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Old 02-13-2020, 01:45 PM
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Atlanta? You do make a few trips to Ellijay every fall for apples, don't you? If not, you should. I live in S. GA, and make the annual apple pilgrimage there at least once a year.
Oh, yes. Mercier Orchards near Blue Ridge has a fall varietal called "September Wonder". Last time we were up there in the fall, I came home with a ten-pound bag of those and another of Braeburns. I'm also partial to the Apple Barn's Arkansas Blacks.
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  #69  
Old 02-13-2020, 03:09 PM
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A couple of relatively recent arrivals around the DC area are the Envy and the Kiku. Very sweet, typically very crunchy.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:47 PM
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I used to eat Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies, but after a bit of experimentation I found that they were the primary culprit in making the inside of my upper teeth sensitive when being brushed, so much that I can't bear to eat any sweet apple at all. Which is just as well, because they tend to be more expensive when not on sale (though Honeycrisp often are on sale). I prefer Galas as my everyday apple, though I prefer other fruits when I can get them on sale.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:55 PM
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Atlanta? You do make a few trips to Ellijay every fall for apples, don't you? If not, you should. I live in S. GA, and make the annual apple pilgrimage there at least once a year.
Nonsense. It's an easier drive to Gay, where my cousins grow the sweetest apples around. Try to time your trip to coincide with the Cotton Pickin' Festival, and be sure to get some sweet onions while you're there.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:37 PM
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Honeycrisps are pretty good and I like the crispness, but I still prefer a Macoun or, lacking that, a Macintosh, even though Macs get mushy quickly. I guess I like apples that have a bit of tartness, which is why I always looked for the pre-ripened apples on the trees around here when I was a kid.

For baking, Northern Spies. They are very late apples, keep quite a while if they're refrigerated, and they are also used for cider. They do have a cider-y flavor to them. Again, has a tart element. They are difficult to find and, of the local orchards that grow them, are sold in limited quantities. They're not expensive; it's just that they are a very old variety and most people like newer varieties, so they are grown in fewer places.

I also like to mix in some Granny Smiths when baking.

I'll have to try some of the other varieties mentioned.

But someone mentioned peaches upthread and I like peaches a lot more than apples. So now the apples have been ruined for me. Give me the peaches.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:37 PM
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Nonsense. It's an easier drive to Gay, where my cousins grow the sweetest apples around. Try to time your trip to coincide with the Cotton Pickin' Festival, and be sure to get some sweet onions while you're there.
Aru? <<ears perk up>>

Where is Gay, and what's your cousins' orchard called? If it's not too far from Atlanta, I might check it out.

You can PM me, if you'd prefer not to identify them.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:48 PM
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Well, if you haven't had EverCrisp apples you haven't lived. Combo of HoneyCrisp and Fuji. Best of both.
  #75  
Old 02-15-2020, 11:36 PM
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Braeburns are my favorite as I've said, but does anyone else like ginger golds? They're tart though not as tart as a granny smith and excellent for baking. I think the best turnovers I've ever made were made with ones I'd picked at a farm nearby.
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Old 02-23-2020, 07:37 PM
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Bestest apple=Arkansas Black. Get them at the orchard. They are one of the very last to ripen, so look for them at the end of November. And apparently they only yield a marketable crop every other year. It is the crispest, crunchiest apple I've ever eaten.

Gravenstein right off the tree is almost perfect.

I gave up looking for crisp apples in the supermarket. Granny Smith are crisp, but almost tasteless except for sour. I really miss Pippins!

Honey Crisp is the first crisp supermarket apple I've found in years and years.


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Old 02-24-2020, 12:19 AM
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Braeburns are my favorite as I've said, but does anyone else like ginger golds? They're tart though not as tart as a granny smith and excellent for baking. I think the best turnovers I've ever made were made with ones I'd picked at a farm nearby.
I like them, but their season is short. I prefer a slightly tarter apple, but Ginger Golds have a nice rich flavor.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:34 AM
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I find it strange that the whole world seems to have run headlong after the notion that the best kind of apple is (what seems to me) a hard, crunchy, sour thing.

A good Cox/Pippin apple, stored in a cool, dark place for a month, is such a beautiful thing - crisp to bite, but not hard, juicy and with a softness inside that is not in any way dry or mealy; fully ripe with amazing aroma, sweetness and juiciness.

You can't get these in a supermarket though. All you can get in a supermarket is apples that lend themselves to supermarket handling and storage processes - harder apples.
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:15 AM
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I find it strange that the whole world seems to have run headlong after the notion that the best kind of apple is (what seems to me) a hard, crunchy, sour thing.

A good Cox/Pippin apple, stored in a cool, dark place for a month, is such a beautiful thing - crisp to bite, but not hard, juicy and with a softness inside that is not in any way dry or mealy; fully ripe with amazing aroma, sweetness and juiciness.
I'm pretty sure I've had a Cox variety since I picked up some Kentish apples one time when I was in London and they were indeed decently crisp and pleasantly-odiferous.

But in America I've found that apples tend to be more sweet, crisp, and juicy than that, to the point that I don't like it unless they are freshly-picked so they still have the aroma.

"Hard, crunchy, and sour" to me only describes Red Delicious, which doesn't strike me as something the world is enamored with so much as something the world puts up with because the industry finds them cheap and rugged.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:37 AM
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Actually, the real answer is because the market will bear a higher price. A lot of customers are willing to pay a premium for Honeycrisp.

I think they aren't too hard to grow in Minnesota, where they were bred. They are grown in lots of places outside their ideal range because customers are willing to pay extra for them, so it's worth it for orchardists to deal with their quirks.
I was literally summarizing an article that I linked to about why they cost more.
  #81  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:48 AM
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The sad, sad truth about supermarket apples is that you have NO clue as to their age.

The mass-marketed varieties are picked, sized, graded, and the ones with no defects AND STEMS INTACT are loaded into gigantic warehouses which are maintained at a constant temperature (35 degrees?) and in a nitrogen atmosphere. They keep damn near indefinitely.

THAT is why orchard-picked apples are the best.


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Old 02-24-2020, 02:03 PM
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Huh? You can guess an apple's age pretty well from looking at where it was grown, and knowing when apple season is (fall) and whether it's an early-season or a late-season apple. Not many apples are stored more than a year. Most are harvested late-Aug through October in the northern hemisphere and 6 months earlier/later in the southern hemisphere.

Unless there's a big sign saying "locally grown", I always look at the little tag to see if an apple was grown in the US or in NZ. (almost all of the apples in my market coming from those two countries.)
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Old 02-24-2020, 03:26 PM
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Huh? You can guess an apple's age pretty well from looking at where it was grown, and knowing when apple season is (fall) and whether it's an early-season or a late-season apple. Not many apples are stored more than a year. Most are harvested late-Aug through October in the northern hemisphere and 6 months earlier/later in the southern hemisphere.

Unless there's a big sign saying "locally grown", I always look at the little tag to see if an apple was grown in the US or in NZ. (almost all of the apples in my market coming from those two countries.)

Sorry to pop your bubble. Washington State has a gigantic apple industry, and there are enormous warehouses where apples are stored "CA," meaning controlled atmosphere. Replacing the air with nitrogen, and keeping the temp at 35 degrees (I think), the apples are stored damn near indefinitely. Red Delicious are available at a constant supply year-round almost everywhere. That is the reason why.

As an experiment, a lady I knew stuck some apples in the back of her fridge, and kept them for almost a year. When she finally ate them, they were almost as fresh-picked.

There are caveats: the apples can have no breaks in the skin, and no bruises. And the stems must be intact. The intact stem keeps the apple "sealed" so no bacteria can enter.

When you buy apples in the store, choose ONLY those with stems intact.


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