Introduced in 1991, this sweet, crisp apple has taken the fruit world by storm.
If you read these words in September, now is your chance to enjoy Honeycrisp at peak.
But, may I interest you in some other crisp, sweet apples? Variety is the spice of life.
Besides, how do you know you like Honeycrisp best if you never try anything else?
Honeycrisp is freshest in September and October. Though it is increasingly available in supermarkets off-season, storage leaches away many of this apple's appealing qualities. So, what do you eat while you wait for the next harvest?
Two early-season apples may please the Honeycrisp-deprived in August. Gingergold is a light, crisp apple that is sweet and juicy. She has modest tart accents as well, but Gingergold's flavors are so light that even tart-averse palates can enjoy this variety.
I commend another August apple to the adventurous Honeycrisp fan: sweet, crisp Mollie's Delicious.
Mollie's suggests an exceptionally good Red Delicious, with superior crisp texture and better flavors though still in the sweet-and-easy bandwidth. Try one and tell me what you think.
Why, once the Honeycrisp season begins, would you eat anything else? If you've read this far I hope you are at least curious about the many apple varieties.
Mutsu is another light, crisp, and sweet apple that, like a Honeycrisp, is huge and goes down easily. The flavors are a bit different than Honeycrisp's but are exceptionally light and delicate.
Honeycrisp lovers should also take advantage of the short season and sample Melrose and, if that pleases, its slightly more balanced sibling Melrouge. Holly is another sweet crisp variety worth trying.
At the end of the season, if a bit further off on the Honeycrisp spectrum, sturdy, crunchy Enterprise is sweet and easy, and keeps very well.
I also like to introduce my friends to the fine vinous qualities of traditional New England apples. McIntosh and Macoun may be too assetive for some, but have you tried Spartan or Empire?
Of the two, handsome Spartan is sweeter, and harder to find. Both are easy to take and have very pleasant flavors.
Once the harvest is over, there is a small cohort of apples available year-round in supermarkets. Most of these are selected for their sweetness, firm crunch, and durability in shipping and storage.
You probably have your own favorites, but two of these varieties are particularly light in the same way that Honeycrisp is: Fuji and Ambrosia.
You may also try any of the modern varieties with confidence that you will find good texture and plenty of sugar. I especially like the flavors of Piñata and Pacific Rose.
These varieties are not really like Honeycrisp, but I think you will agree they have at least a few of the qualities you appreciate.
The above comprise only sweet apples that have at least some of Honeycrisp's characteristics. Do not fear, therefore, to bite into any of them. Odds are you will like them to some degree, and maybe a great deal.
Finally, if the above has piqued your appetite for other varieties, consider some of the milder heirlooms, particularly if your love of Honeycrisp is based on aversion to apples that are too tart.
Opalescent and the wonderfully named Westfield Seek No Further are not really very much like Honeycrisp, by they are mild and sweet and delightful. Even dense Blue Pearmain, Thoreau's favorite apple, has easy, delicate flavors.
There are many other in that line, including Swaar, Washington Royal, and Rienette Simirenko, but alas you are not likely to find them. If you do, seize them with both hands.