Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Six months of apples

I ate 169 apples in the first half of 2014, according to the daily record that I began on New Years Day.

From my daily log of apple consumption. Hover over pie slices for details.
There were 29 varieties in that time, if you count "unknown" as only 1.

Most of these were store bought and many were modern breeds, but my top two apples were Empire and Macoun. No surprises there.

I varied this diet with keepers and not-so-keepers I'd saved from the fall.

There are of course no fresh local apples here in the first half of the year, though some varieties do well in storage and the industrial apples in supermarkets are quite sturdy.

Fresher apples from the harvest in New Zealand and Chile did not really arrive until June this year.

Here are notes on the 5 apples I ate most.

Empire, the last vinous apple standing
I invariable fall back on Empire (35 of them this year) in late spring and summer.

The flavors of these crisp and sturdy members of the McIntosh family are basic but include the vinous quality I often crave, and they are quite reliable.

Predictably I did not turn to these at all until Macoun (29) finished at the end of March. Even diminished by storage these are better than almost anything else you can buy in supermarkets in the winter.

I called regularly this year on Cripps Pink (20) (also known as Pink Lady), especially from April on. When these are good they are excellent. I ate my most recent one two days ago.

Lady Alice peaks in April
Lady Alice (20) tied Cripps. This excellent new variety is still ramping up production and this was Alice's best year yet for availability.

Alice benefits from months of storage and peaks in April.

Jazz (15): I am still eating these great apples, especially now that the fresh ones have arrived from New Zealand. Most recently yesterday.

Together these 5 varieties comprised 70% of the apples that I ate in the first half of the year. There were 19 days in which I ate no apples and 7 in which I had 2. I did not count apples I used in cooking.

There were some interesting lessons in my notes to the apples I'd stored since the fall.

I found "hints of Armignac" in an Arkansas Black on January 19 and Gold Rush just blew me away in April. A Jumami I had overlooked proved "pretty good" on April 30.

Reine de Reinette was in good shape on January 10, but most local varieties ran out of gas by the end of January.

As for the supermarket apples: I'm very grateful to have these choices in the off season, and celebrate old standbys like Granny Smith and wonderful newcomers like Opal and Lady Alice. Nonetheless there is nothing like local fruit.

Here at the start of July I am really missing that fresh tartness, that authenticity.

The harvest cannot come too soon for me.

Update: In response to a comment (on this Google+ share, no less) I provide the following timeline chart showing exactly when I ate what:

Each line corresponds to an apple variety (Empire etc.) and shows my cumulative consumption over the past 6 months.

This is not exactly what was asked for but it does tell the tale.

Further Update: An interactive version of this graph won't fit on this page so I've put it here.


  1. What a detailed record.

    I use to eat 15-17 apples a week. So, I guess I ate 400 apples from January to June. I ate Pacific Rose the most (about 80 %).
    Annually I eat 150-160 kg of apples. So, apples are my staple fruit.

    From June to November our apples in Indonesia are coming from New Zealand, and the rest from US.


    1. We almost never see Pacific Rose up here, though it now grows in the States.

      I'd probably eat a lot of it if I could, at least in the winter. I give it 2 stars.


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