The history of the apple and human enjoyment goes back thousands of years. Greek literary references mention them at about 800 B.C., while archaeological excavations have dated human related apple remains (um, cores?) back to 6000 B.C. No matter how you slice it, apples have been part of human culture long enough to describe some 17,000 (17,000!) varieties.
Thanks to the efforts of apple enthusiasts everywhere, many of North America’s earliest—or heirloom—apple varieties are still available to us today. And thanks to Bill, our Produce Manager, we’ve got a whole bunch of them here at Rising Tide Market!
While supermarket apples look great (uniformly round and shiny), they often lack in taste. And while heirloom apples sometimes look funky (lumpy, pear-shaped, freckled) they can taste absolutely FANSTASTIC, and boast a complexity flavors that will make you think of the historic apple in a whole new light.
Flavor for Days
Do an experiment. Plan an informal tasting of some of these treasured, old-fashioned apples and you’ll find yourself throwing around words usually reserved for wines: floral, honeyed, spicy, aromatic, tart, crisp, lively flavored…with a dry finish! It’s the differences among these apples that we should value, as it is their differences that make some great for cider, others for baking, others perfect for snacking all on their own. Bill can tell you which ones are best for each.
Here at Rising Tide, our heirloom apple varieties will change as they become available throughout the season so you’ll be able to try many different kinds.
Some of the HEIRLOOM APPLES in the store today:
Orleans Reinette: An 18th century French apple with great flavor
King David: Awesome crunch, a little chewy, with a refreshing tart/sweet balance
Cortland: Tart, white flesh and a solid “appley” flavor
Crab Apples: Tiny, sweet and tart with a great crunch
Granny Smith: Tangy-tart, and crunchy
McIntosh: Crimson red with bright white flesh, a pleasant sweetness, and a good crunch
Golden Delicious: Sweet and fragrant with a crisp flesh…a great all-around apple
(Note: we’ve also got heirloom pears, including the tiny, sweet and lovely Seckel pear and all-around crowd pleasers like the Bartlett.)
By the way, if this sort of thing interests you, there’s a great site called the Heirloom Orchardist (http://heirloomorchardist.typepad.com) that will educate you on everything you ever wanted to know about heirloom apples, including the history of each. Fascinating stuff.
And while everyone has their own favorite way to use apples, we’ve got a little something different for you here: a recipe for an Chunky Almond Fruit Spread, adapted from one by Jenny Sugar at POP Sugar Fitness. This simple-to-make snack is healthy, has just three ingredients, and is perfect for lunchboxes or anytime noshing.
Chunky Almond Fruit Spread
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 5 minutes
apple| 1 medium
raw almonds| 1/8 cup
orange juice| 1 Tbsp
- Remove the core from the apple, and cut into chunks.
- Place all ingredients in a high-power blender or food processor, and blend until smooth but slightly chunky — not too long or you’ll have applesauce.
- Enjoy on crackers, a rice cake or even another fruit. Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container.