Wednesday, October 1, 2008

McIntosh **

Perhaps the most famous, familiar, and popular of Northeastern apples. Available year-round, though quality varies. Also known as "Mac."

They even named a computer after it (misspelling the name).

McIntosh is generally medium-sized and nearly perfectly round, though some show a little ribbing. Its attractive crimson blush can be streaky and is accented with light spots that are larger than most.

The flesh is fine-grained, juicy, and white, sometimes with green highlights. It is reasonably crisp and firm though yielding.

McIntosh's superb flavor is tart balanced with sweet, with some acidity and a mix of berry and spice. There are hints of melon and zinc, and the skin is on the chewy side.

The net effect is greater than the sum of the parts of this description. Some describe the result as vinous (as in wine).

This is an immensely satisfying apple with a complex and appealing taste that lingers pleasingly. It is well worth seeking out in season and is often a good bet after the season is done.

Many sources agree the McIntosh was discovered by John McIntosh on his farm in Ontario in 1811. O, Canada!

The Mac is the sire of many other varieties, including Macoun, Spencer, Empire, Spartan, and Cortland.


  1. I tried my first McIntosh today. These were on sale at the grocery store. They were marked as coming from New York. The apple was very round and dark red. The flesh was firm to crisp and breaking with a nice amount of juice. The flesh was white and had a blanance of sweet and acid (mostly sweet). The flavor was berry like and vinous. A nice apple to enjoy on a snowy day in Wisconsin!

    1. Matt, these are such mainstays in the Northeast I am always surprised when someone says they've never had one before.

      McIntosh and its kin are fragile and by February can be less than perfectly crisp, so I am glad you got a good one on that score.

      Even a well-kept sample will have lost some flavor by now, so if you liked yours try one off the tree sometime!

  2. I have had a Macoun right off the tree in Wisconsin in the past and they have been great!

  3. Have you ever herd of an sunrise apple? It's a early season McIntosh variety. It's a cross between a McIntosh x Golden Delicious.


    1. Byron, I have heard of this one, but never had the pleasure.

      It does seem to me that the niche for early apples like this one is relatively uncluttered.

    2. We get them once and awhile. It is good. I hope you get to try it. Though I still think nothing beats a McIntosh. I still remember taking field trip down to the valley to go apple picking. Picked two burlap bags full of McIntosh. I had McIntosh for weeks and all I paid was $2.00 for the bus. Good times.

    3. Byron, what a great story. McIntosh will always be one of the classics for me.


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