Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apples of December (2010)

In December we live off the fat of October: winter apples snugly chilled in cellars or refrigerators and valued for their long shelf lives as much as their flavors.

This year the pickings have been unusually slim. I discovered--too late to stockpile any for this year--that Suncrisp is a magnificent apple for December, but have mostly been living on russets and Blushing Goldens from New England orchards, leavened with Mcintosh and Macoun from the supermarkets.

The quality of these vinous northeast favorites (the Macs and Macouns) has been uneven this year compared to previous winters. I assume that a weak harvest is bringing fruit that is less-well-stored into the marketplace. Still none of the industrial apples standardly for sale in stores have their enticing vinous flavors (save perhaps Empire, daughter of Mcintosh).

By the end of the month, the russets are still satisfyingly crisp and dense, and the Blushing Goldens have softened a little, but only to grown succulent and juicy. I also have a handful of Winter Bananas that are proving to be quite durable; look for my report on how they are holding up later this winter. (Update: Here.)

You may also be interested in this post about what apples to eat in December.

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