Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Apples of August (2010)

So, August is just a prelude to September, when the real Apple action ramps up. Right?

Any week that offers a choice between between rich and mellow Williams' Pride, spicy Gravenstein, and Tydeman's Early Red (a wonderful old variety) is a great week for apples. I heartily recommend any of these.

That was just the second week in August, when I also found unusual Empress.

The first week of August saw the end of Vista Bella (still available, but past its prime). Also for sale: Early Mac, Jersey Mac, Paula Red, Lodi, Gingergold, and Williams Pride, all available throughout the entire month.

Early Mac is more a type than a variety, or I would review it. Jersey Mac is representative of the early McIntosh lookalikes. I don't much care for these; if you are missing McIntosh that badly you'd be better of with Paula Red.

What of the dire predictions last July of a super-early McIntosh season, beginning in mid August? I was out of town for part of the month, so it may have happened.

But the Mac I bought on the last day of August seemed to me to be not very ripe--which is right on schedule. That is, it's not unusual to find Macs for sale on August 31, but they are always premature and green, like my sample was.

One barometer of ripeness is the color of the pips: white is unripe. My McIntosh was in transition, eatable but not prime. This is pretty normal.

The August Lodi apples were better than the premature ones I found for sale in mid-July.

The Gravensteins, both the regular green and the sweeter red sport, were also for sale through the end of the month. These are outstanding apples that I hope will last a bit into September.

Also on the 31st I found Wealthy and Mollie's Delicious , reviews to come. Update: Wealthy was extraordinarily good.

That's eleven August apple varieties--no, I lie: thirteen including the Akanes I had in Seattle and counting both Gravenstein varieties. Not too shabby!

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